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Report/Press release

Agriculture Workers Alliance Bits and Bites! 2(20)

Date

2009

Authors

Agriculture Workers Alliance

Abstract

- Major AWA / UFCW Canada victory in British Columbia

- AWA/UFCW Canada at Community Rally in support of Justice for Live-in Caregivers and Temporary Foreign Workers!

- “Salt of the Earth” exhibition arrives at the AWA Simcoe Centre

Series title

AWA E-News

Responsible institution

Agriculture Workers Alliance

Full text

Major AWA / UFCW Canada victory in British Columbia

On June 29, 2009, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board (BCLRB) dismissed a bizarre argument put forward by a group of agriculture industry employers. The B.C. Agriculture Council, the Western Agriculture Labour Initiative, and Greenway Farms cited an obscure clause in the British North American Act, 1867 to call into question the constitutionality of union certification applications for two B.C. farms.

In his decision, BCLRB Vice-Chair Ken Saunders stated:

Allowing SAWP [Seasonal Agriculture Workers Program] workers the same access to the [Labour] Code as is presently enjoyed by domestic farm workers is consistent with Canada’s commitment that SAWP workers would receive ‘equal treatment’ to domestic farm workers while in Canada, and would not impair any area of federal legislative competence.

With this decision, AWA members and farm workers in general who come to Canada under the SAWP will fall under provincial jurisdiction, which will allow them to exercise their right to become part of a union and to bargain a collective agreement.

AWA/UFCW Canada at Community Rally in support of Justice for Live-in Caregivers and Temporary Foreign Workers!

Caregivers, farm workers and other Temporary Foreign Workers were joined by community allies and trade unionists at a community rally in Toronto’s East End calling for fundamental changes to the federal Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) and the Temporary Foreign Worker Programs (TFWP).

In addition to providing financial support for the event, UFCW Canada were out in numbers to join the gathering, which included music, dance, and theatrical performances, a variety of delicious foods, and speak-outs by migrant workers themselves.

Rally participants called for the following changes to Canada’s immigration and temporary foreign workers system:

A RIGHT TO LANDING STATUS be granted upon arrival for live-in caregivers and other temporary foreign workers (TFWs); they must not be tied to one employer, be required to live in their employer’s home, or be subjected to further medical examinations;
A RIGHT TO EQUAL ACCESS for all social programs, including Employment
Insurance, health care, settlement services, social services and workers compensation;
A RIGHT TO A FAIR APPEAL PROCESS for live-in caregivers and other TFWs
prior to a pre-removal order, and a stop to deportations until this process is in place;
A RIGHT TO FULL PROTECTION UNDER THE PROVINCIAL EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS ACT AND REGULATIONS currently enjoyed by Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents, including NO FEES for any work placement.
“Events like this rally create bonds of solidarity between groups who fight for justice and dignity for migrant workers,” said Naveen Mehta, UFCW Canada Director of Human Rights, Equity and Diversity. “It is imperative that we support these grassroots initiatives so we can be united in our efforts to make every job in Canada a good job and every worker in Canada equal, regardless of immigration status.”

A farm worker calls for changes to the TFWs program

“Salt of the Earth” exhibition arrives at the AWA Simcoe Centre

On Friday July 17, 2009, renowned Canadian artists Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge will open their recently completed farm workers series “Salt of the Earth” exhibit at the AWA Simcoe centre.

“Salt of the Earth” is a series of pictures illustrating the difficult conditions migrant workers from Mexico and the Caribbean are often subjected to as they arrive in the thousands each year to work on Canadian farms.

Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge live and work in Toronto. For more than thirty years they have collaborated with trade unions and community organizations to create their photographic mises en scène. Their work has been shown in union halls, art galleries and museums both in Canada and abroad.

The exhibition will open at 6:00 p.m. at 44 Peel Street, Simcoe, Ontario. For detailed directions, visit our website at:
http://awa-ata.ca/en/get-in-touch-join-awa/wp-contentuploadsmapsmap_insert1html/

Links

Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers and Occupations in services - Domestic work

Content types

Policy analysis

Target groups

Policymakers and Public awareness

Regulation domains

Right to change employer, Right to choose place of residence, Right to unionize, Labour standards, Health and safety at work, Health care & social services, Access to permanent status, Employment insurance, Social security, Impartial hearing before deportation, and Determination fair wages and labour shortage

Geographical focuses

Ontario and British Columbia

Languages

French, English, and Spanish