- Date and time
2021.12.14, 8:14 PM
The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) is currently under review, this program decides the conditions under which thousands of foreign agricultural workers will work and live in our country.
The team of Conseil Migrant and the signers of this petition want to ensure that the foreign agricultural workers who come to Canada to work are treated with respect and dignity and that the program is amended to achieve this.
While the SAWP has been meeting the needs of the agricultural industry for decades, it has placed workers in a perpetual state of disadvantage, vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed how essential these individuals are to Canada’s food system, but also to what extent they struggle to assert their rights in the workplace.
To change this, we are seeking the incorporation of the following aspects to the program:
- All information related to the program (brochures, websites, forms, and other information of interest to workers) must be available across platforms and via mobile phone in particular (few workers may access a computer in Canada) in Spanish, and with plain-language explanations for those who have only a basic educational level;
- The respect of the fundamental freedom to resign from unsafe work/to freely change employers must be ensured through the replacement of employers-tied work permits by open ones for all upon arrival - not only for workers willing and able to convince a federal agent that are in a situation or at risk of abuse by the employer;
- The contractual private health insurance coverage, currently mandatory for all SAWP workers, must include an additional 4 months in the country of origin upon return;
- An additional employment and life insurance policy must be made mandatory to also cover, in case of early repatriation, work accident, illness or death occurred in Canada or during the transit from and to their place of residence, legal fees and long term comprehensive health care and replacement salary, or life insurance benefits for dependants, repatriation of the corpse, and funerary costs;
- The contractual requirements for agricultural worker healthy housing, healthy nourishment, and prompt access to medical care must be determined in accordance with the standards established for Canadian citizens who work in the forestry, mining, and oil industries;
- Assistance filling forms, Health information, work safety information and legal aid programs for agricultural workers funded by the federal government and provided by non-profit grassroots organizations of proven experience and without links to employers;
- Emergency work permit renewal and unemployment benefits in Canada must be provided to the foreign temporary workers working on farms, greenhouses, factories, etc. that are impacted by acts of God or climatological events such as tornadoes, atmospheric rivers, heat weaves, etc.;
- Immediate access to permanent legal status must be granted to all migrant workers admitted in Canada, in order for them to maintain the capacity to freely return to work and integrate in Canada even if they have to leave the country temporarily, as well as for them to have the capacity to seek and obtain justice and reparation in Canada in case of a right violation.
We want the the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Labor, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada and the Minister of Health (MOH) to engage with the team of Conseil Migrant and co-signers to responsively and humanely engage in a review of the aforementioned program, to ensure that Canadian values and labour rights are applied to the women and men that we bring to sow, cultivate and harvest our food in our land
Your support will be instrumental to promote the rights of foreign seasonal workers.
- Coordinated by
- Endorsed by
- File Attachments
human rights migrants Agricultural workers
- Economic sectors
Agriculture and horticulture workers and Harvesting labourers
- Content types
Numbers of migrant workers
- Target groups
Policymakers, Journalists, and Researchers
- Geographical focuses
Canada, Ontario, Alberta, México, Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Other provinces, Federal, Nova Scotia, Regional relevance, and National relevance
French, English, and Spanish