canadian migrant farmers treated well post pandemic
Canada – Migrant farm workers in Canada have an integral role to play in their economy and this has been felt more than ever before in the pandemic itself. Most of those come from Niagara and work on farms.
Director of the Migrant Farm Workers Project, helps provide food, health care and clothing to the workers who come to Niagara. It is such programmes that have helped get the basic necessities to these precious human resource in the time of need.
The pandemic has seen their need and brought them out of the shadows. Their inoculation and safety looked important because, its due to them that vegetable farming could become a possibility.
The farmers programmes of such kinds in Canada ensure that migrant farmers get the right kind of medical facilities, when needed. A partnership with Quest Community Health Centre sees health care workers provide care to workers, both on-farm and at clinics in local churches.
More than 50,000 farm workers travel to Canada annually to work, either through the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) or the Temporary Agricultural Workers Program (TAWP). Use of migrant labourers has long helped to reduce the costs of agricultural production here in Canada. But it comes at a very high cost to the migrant labourers and their families.
While they enter legally, their rights have always been minimal. And though the workers who come to Canada under SAWP pay into employment insurance, they have no legal right to the benefits should they be injured, become ill or lose their jobs for one reason or another. EI premiums are automatically deducted from their pay — a whopping $21 million that is paid by the worker and the employer annually — without right to the benefit. The lack of rules to protect these workers means that most are careful not to complain, even in the face of very dangerous situations. Complaints or reports of unfair practices or dangerous work are one quick way to lose your job — and that means a quick return flight home — and likely being blacklisted for future jobs.