Seasonal migrant workers are the backbone of the agricultural fruit and vegetable industry in Canada and in Niagara in particular. These workers come to Canada each season under the Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP). The SAWP is operated by the federal Ministry of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in Partnership with the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and the governments of the country of origin of the workers. The majority of the seasonal migrant workers who come to Niagara every year originate from Mexico and Jamaica.
According to the United Fruit and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), which has acted as an advocate and voice for the agricultural workers in Canada for the last two decades, these workers continue to face challenges, obstacles and rights violations which have not been addressed through contract negotiations under the SAWP.
Community Legal Services of Niagara South, in partnership with members of the NMWIG, intends to address these challenges, obstacles and rights violations. The network has already met several times at CLSNS and will be taking a two prong approach: improving accessibility to services taking into consideration obstacles faced by workers such as long work days, working weekends, limited free time, lack of transportation, language barriers and resistance of employers, and pursuing legal challenges aimed at insuring that these workers are treated equally under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- Economic sectors
Agriculture and horticulture workers and General farm workers
- Target groups
- Geographical focuses
English and Spanish