An Agency of the United Nations Has Ruled a Ban on Farm Unions Violates the Human Rights of Ontario’s 100,000 Migrant and Domestic Farm Workers
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND–(Marketwire – Nov. 18, 2010) – The UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) has ruled that Canada and Ontario, through Ontario’s ban on farm unions, violate the human rights of the more than 100,000 migrant and domestic agriculture workers in that province. It follows a complaint filed in March 2009 by UFCW Canada — the country’s largest private-sector union and a leading advocate for farm workers’ rights for over two decades. The ILO is the United Nations agency responsible for formulating international labour standards including basic labour rights.
“The ILO has sent a clear message to the Canadian and Ontario governments that Ontario must end its blatant abuse of the rights of the workers who grow and harvest our food,” says Wayne Hanley, the national president of UFCW Canada. “These are farm workers, not farm animals, and people have human rights including the right to collective bargaining.”
The ILO ruling was handed down in Geneva (www.ufcw.ca/ilo). It found that Ontario’s Agricultural Employees Act, 2002 (AEPA) which denies all Ontario agriculture workers the right to join a union and engage in collective bargaining is a violation of human rights under two United Nation’s conventions: Convention No. 87 – Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, and Convention No. 98 – Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining.