Monthly Archives: June 2010

Migrant agricultural workers protest at Canada’s embassy in Mexico

Workers call for stop to exploitation of migrant workers on Canadian farms under federal government’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program

TORONTO–(Marketwire – June 15, 2010)

Under the flags of the Agriculture Workers Alliance, more than 300 Mexican migrant farm workers descended on the Canadian embassy in Mexico City on June 15, to denounce their working and living conditions as migrant agriculture workers in Canada under the federal government’s Seasonal Agriculture Workers Program (SAWP).

The protest parade started at the Tamayo Museum, marched down Reforma Avenue and arrived at the front steps of the Canadian embassy, where the workers demanded a complete reform of SAWP which currently leaves workers vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and unsafe living and working conditions. The peaceful protest brought together both current and veteran members of SAWP fields who sang on the steps of the embassy together – “No more fear, no more discrimination, equality and justice for migrant workers.”

“In Canada the government doesn’t listen. Neither does the consulate. They pretend the problems with SAWP don’t exist,” said a worker at the Mexico City protest. “But the abuse is real and we know it”.

Under SAWP, migrant agriculture workers are typically paid minimum wage and are often subject to working and housing conditions that Canadian residents would find intolerable. SAWP workers have historically been hesitant to report dangerous working conditions or hostile employers for fear of being sent home or blacklisted from returning the next season.

“Canada says SAWP is a ‘model’ program but the model is broken,” says Andrea Galvez, co-ordinator of the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) in Quebec, who joined the workers in Mexico City for the protest. “These workers have come from all over Mexico today to tell the real story about SAWP and the changes needed to make it a fair system for everyone.”

While protest songs and traditional music filled the air, the protesters distributed pamphlets describing those changes: the right to have a voice in negotiating their working and living conditions; stepped up enforcement of health and safety regulations; respecting all the human and labour rights that every worker in Canada is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including the right to unionize.

Every year more than 15,000 Mexican workers come to Canada under SAWP. For three decades UFCW Canada has led the campaign for justice for migrant and domestic agriculture workers in Canada. In partnership with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada operates ten AWA worker support centres across Canada.

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Forte demande de la main-d’œuvre étrangère

Forte demande de la main-d’œuvre étrangère « rss feed on migrants

Téléjournal – Forte demande de la main-d’œuvre étrangère

Le programme de migration de main d’oeuvre aide 1 000 travailleurs migrants au mois de juin

Le programme de l’OIM de migration de main-d’œuvre temporaire du Guatemala vers le Canada permet d’aider un millier de migrants à se rendre au Canada ce mois-ci.

Chaque jour du mois de juin, quelque 45 migrants de main-d’œuvre guatémaltèques quittent Guatemala City en route vers le Canada, où ils débuteront leur mission temporaire allant de quatre à huit mois, dans 144 entreprises canadiennes.

OIM – Notes pour la presse – Le programme de migration de main d’oeuvre aide 1 000 travailleurs migrants au mois de juin

What Do We Owe Our Guest Workers?

Debate rises over how to lower abuse, and whether to make staying easier.

By Tom Sandborn, Today,

The latest batch of more than 175,000 foreign temporary workers in Canada can expect to hear that message. It’s the deal. We get workers we need to make our economy function better. They get pay and a limited taste of life in a nation regularly voted one of the world’s best places to live.

Lately though, disagreement is growing over whether or not this social contract is fair or in need of reform.

The Harper government appears to consider it a problem that too many guest workers wish to stay. Government proposals have been floated that would make it tougher for those who enter Canada on temporary work permits to apply for permanent landed immigrant status.

But a recently released research paper by the Montreal-based Institute for Research on Public Policy focuses instead on evidence that temporary guest workers are too easily abused while in Canada.

The Tyee – What Do We Owe Our Guest Workers?