Migrant workers say they're Canada's "modern-day slaves"
Tens of thousands of migrant farm workers toil in fields across Canada without the possibility of applying for permanent residency, health care coverage or basic labour rights
The Harvesting Freedom Caravan arrived outside the Ontario Food Terminal on the Queensway Sunday morning, September 25, to mark the 50th year of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program – and to call for permanent immigration status and better working conditions for temporary foreign agricultural workers. The caravan had headed out from Leamington September 4 on three-week trip to Ottawa to demand support for workers. Demonstrators carried large signs in the shapes of vegetables. On the yellow bell pepper were the words “You’re eating injustice.”
Tens of thousands of migrant farm workers from the Caribbean, Mexico, Guatemala, The Philippines and Thailand toil in fields across Canada without the possibility of applying for permanent residency, health care or basic labour rights. In Ontario, for example, there is no minimum wage for farm workers. Many are tied into contracts with single employers and can be sent home without cause. NOW spoke with two former migrant farm workers at the rally.