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Justicia for Migrant Workers


Farm worker advocacy groups demand worker representations during negotiations.

Series Pamagat

Justice For Migrant Workers

Buong Teksto

(Toronto) On the eve of bilateral discussions between Canada and Mexico scheduled for Montreal commencing on Tuesday November 30, 2004, Justice for Migrant Workers (J4MW), a Toronto-based seasonal agricultural workers advocacy group is currently demanding better working and living conditions for migrant farm workers in Canada.

Tens of thousands of migrant farm workers work from eight weeks to eight months a year under indenture-like conditions in the Canadian agricultural industry. Over the past several years, workers have complained about their working and living conditions. Some of these conditions include the following:

*Health and Safety legislative protection: Thousands of farm workers are not covered by health and safety legislation. This means that workers do not receive adequate health and safety training, they do not know what pesticides or dangerous chemicals that they work with. In 2002 Jamaican farm worker Ned Livingstone Peart died while working in the tobacco fields near Brantford, Ontario. There still has not been a coroners investigation into his death.

*Job discrimination: Workers have told representatives of J4MW that they receive less pay than Canadian workers working side by side with them in the fields of southern Ontario.

*Right to Employment Insurance: In 2001 it was estimated that migrant farm workers put into the EI fund over $11 million a year yet they are denied to apply for returns from this program. The federal government must create a regime whereby migrant farm workers can claim employment insurance.

*Right to regularization: Workers must have the right to apply for
citizenship in Canada. Since 1966 workers have been simply seen as a
labour force that is brought and then returned after their contract is
over. Many workers want the right to apply for Canadian citizenship. The government must listen to their needs and implement a process whereby workers can apply for Status in Canada.

*The Right to be treated with respect and dignity: Workers consider
themselves to be an invisible workforce that have little clout when
dealing with either employers or governmental officials. It is essential
that migrant farm workers are covered by legislative protection that
guarantees minimum labour standards. This must includes full coverage
under Ontario's Employment Standards Act, Fair and decent housing, the right to form unions and the right to social and economic mobility in

*Right to Appeal: Workers have complained that they work in virtual
bondage. Several workers have documented cases where their colleagues have faced reprisal for standing up to demand better work and living conditions. Reprisals take the form of premature repatriations where workers are sent home usually at their own expense. An appeal process must be implemented to guarantee that migrant farm workers have the right to a fair and impartial process where they can tell their side of their story.

Justice for Migrant Workers (J4MW) is demanding that workers and worker representative organizations be included during upcoming negotiations in order to develop contracts that serve in the best interest of workers. At the moment, workers have no say, nor any representation in contract discussions that directly impact their well being.

"How dare government officials negotiate without taking in the best
interests of workers", states Tanya Ferguson, a member of the J4MW
collective. Furthermore, "is absurd that workers do not have
representation in these talks considering the importance of migrant labour there in the Canadian agricultural industry," adds Ferguson.

For more Information, please contact: info@justicia4migrantworkers.org


Pang-ekonomiyang sektor

Agriculture and horticulture workers

Mga Uri ng Nilalaman

Policy analysis

Target na mga grupo

Mambabatas and Pampublikong Kamalayan

Regulasyon lugar

Karapatang magpalit ng employer, Karapatan na pumili ng kanilang lugar ng paninirahan, Kanan upang ayusin ang, Labour Standards, Kalusugan at Kaligtasan, Pagsasama-sama ng mga programa para sa mga bagong dating, Kalusugan at Serbisyong Panlipunan, Access sa permanenteng katayuan, Libreng pag-post ng Trabaho Mga Serbisyo, Family reunification, Legal Aid, EI, Kabutihan, Remittances at co-unlad ng mga programa, Paglalakbay sa ibang bansa at bumalik sa bahay, Pangangalap ahensya at mga pamumuhunan, Pabahay pamantayan, Mekanismo para sa pagsasauli ng nagugol ng migration, Fair trial bago deportasyon, Regularization pamamaraan katayuan, Pagpapasiya ng disenteng suweldo at shortages ng paggawa, Pamantayan para sa pagpili ng mga manggagawa (im) migrante, Karapatan sa pagkakapantay-pantay (kasarian), Karapatan sa pagkakapantay-pantay (bayang pinanggalingan), Karapatan sa pagkakapantay-pantay (panlipunang katayuan), Karapatan sa kalayaan, Karapatan sa karangalan, and Karapatan sa pagiging pribado

Geographical kaugnayan

Ontario, México, and Quebec