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Report/Press release

Happy New Year!!!

Date

2009-01-01

Authors

Agriculture Workers Alliance

Abstract

2008 was a challenging year and we saw our program advance in ways we never thought possible.

Series title

AWA E-News

Responsible institution

Agriculture Workers Alliance

Full text

The team from the Agriculture Workers Alliance would like to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

We hope that the New Year will bring victories and lots of success in your organizations and in your personal lives as well.

We thank you for your continuous support and patronage during the past year.

The Struggle Continues

2008 was a challenging year and we saw our program advance in ways we never thought possible.

First was the creation of the new Agriculture Workers Alliance. Agriculture workers across Canada for the first time were able to join a national association that they can call their own. In just a few months our centres across the country signed thousands of workers into the association.

Throughout the season we dealt with lots of challenges — not just with agriculture workers in the Seasonal Agriculture Workers Program, but also with agriculture workers in the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. Nevertheless, we by mid-November we were celebrating a huge victory against the Agriculture Employees Protection Act (AEPA). On November 17, the Ontario Appellant Court ruled in favour of the challenge brought forward by UFCW Canada, representing three former Rol-Land Farm employees. The court also ruled that the AEPA and the exclusion of agriculture workers from the Labour Relations Act is unconstitutional.

Unfortunately, our celebration was soon disrupted by news at the beginning of December that this same employer fired over 70 foreign workers of Jamaican and Mexican nationalities. Seven Mexican workers had the courage to come forward and denounce their mistreatment and to talk about their situation. Regrettably, Rol-Land Farms did not stop there and during the Christmas season fired another 50 Guatemalan workers, and yet 50 more towards the end of the year.

As we star a new year, it becomes evident that our struggle will continue. However, we look forward to 2009 with new optimism and with our heads held high as the day in which foreign and domestic agriculture workers would have new legislation to protect them and to organize and bargain collectively becomes a reality.

¡Sí se puede! (Yes we can!)

Links

Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers

Content types

Policy analysis and Documented cases of abuse

Target groups

Journalists and Public awareness

Geographical focuses

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

Languages

French, English, and Spanish