The farmworker migrant crisis in Canada cannot be ignored this Labour Day. While we pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of all workers, it’s important we also campaign for the rights of those in need of better working conditions.
Since the pandemic has begun, advocacy group Justice for Migrant Workers, has shed light on migrant workers across the country having faced many types of mistreatment. This includes being fed insufficient meals while in quarantine and staying in cramped bunk beds separated by pieces of cardboard. By sleeping too closely together to physically distance, the spread of COVID-19 has become rampant within this environment.
In Ontario alone, more than 1,300 migrant farmworkers have caught the virus over the summer, and three people have died during outbreaks. On top of this, their temporary status in Canada ties workers to their employers through specific visas. This means workers are often exploited by their supervisors to work long hours and can’t speak up because of fearing deportation or discipline through threatening to withhold pay.
Justice for Migrant Workers has started a petition to call for all levels of government to take immediate action to secure the rights of migrant farm workers in Canada. The team at ByBlacks stands in solidarity with Canadian migrant farmworkers; their contributions to society are so often overlooked. We honour the resilience of all migrant farmworkers and the work that they do.
The link to the petition can be found at https://harvestingfreedom.org/