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Checks on farm workers 'racial profiling'

Date

2009-05-01

Authors

Tom Godfrey

Abstract

Mexican and Guatemalan farmhands are "racially profiled" and forced to undergo swine flu checks before being allowed to board flights to Canada to work, a Toronto support group says.

Newspaper title

Toronto Sun

Full text

Mexican and Guatemalan farmhands are "racially profiled" and forced to undergo swine flu checks before being allowed to board flights to Canada to work, a Toronto support group says.

Canadians and others flying from Mexico should be forced to undergo two medical checks by two doctors -- the same as the farmhands -- before being allowed to board flights, according to Justice for Migrant Workers.

The Guatemalans are affected because they leave for Canada from Mexico, said Chris Ramsaroop, a spokesman for the group.

"These workers undergo racial profiling because they're coming here to work," he said yesterday. "They are being targeted and it is unfair."

'RIDICULOUS'

The Mexican government is in charge of screening the workers before they get here, said Alykhan Velshi, a spokesman for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

"This is an initiative of the Mexican government," he said. "The checks are being done by Mexican doctors in Mexican government buildings."

The racial profiling allegations are "a ridiculous accusation," Velshi said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of migrant workers from across Canada will gather at 11 a.m. tomorrow at 25 Cecil St. to celebrate May Day, an international day of workers' struggle.

"These vulnerable workers are subjected to some of the worst kinds of rights abuses," said Wayne Hanley, of the United Food and Commercial Workers. "They are denied access to health services while being forced to work in dangerous or hazardous conditions."

Last year, more than 20,000 Mexicans came to Canada as temporary foreign workers.

Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers

Content types

Documented cases of abuse

Target groups

Public awareness

Geographical focuses

Canada, Ontario, Alberta, México, Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Other provinces, Federal, Nova Scotia, and National relevance

Languages

French, English, and Spanish