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Food workers’ union calls for urgent reforms to TFWP as part of 2022 Migrant Agricultural Workers Re

DEREK JOHNSTONE,

UFCW Canada

LEAMINGTON: Canada’s food workers’ union published its annual Status of Migrant Agricultural Workers Report, at the UFCW Canada Agricultural Worker Support Centre, in Leamington, Ontario, on Sunday, June 26th.

Leamington is the epicentre of factory greenhouse farming in Canada, which is a multi-billion-dollar business using tens of thousands of migrants from the Global South every year.

The special COVID-19 report highlights the increasing vulnerability, experienced by migrant workers, in the wake of a deadly pandemic which has already claimed the lives of nine workers. The report makes twenty recommendations which must be implemented as part of a desperately needed overhaul of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP), to more adequately address the well-evidenced vulnerability migrant workers experience.

“Much of the food we enjoy in Canada is the product of migrant labour. Yet, migrant workers continue to be mistreated by some irresponsible employers and a system desperately lacking the necessary reforms to effectively tackle the abuse, migrants in Canada have long endured,” said UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema. “The time is now for the federal government to work with UFCW to find solutions, and to reduce vulnerability and migrant exploitation,” added Mr. Meinema. This he said, referring to the growing number of calls the union is receiving from migrants who end up being victims of human trafficking.

Migrant workers joined UFCW activists for the report launch, as did Mexican Congressman and Federal Deputy for Migration Alejandro Robles, who made the trip from Mexico to be part of the announcement and solidarity event, hosted at the Leamington support centre.

For more than three decades, UFCW Canada has led the fight for migrant workers’ rights. To learn more about this advocacy and the reforms which are urgently needed, see UFCW Canada’s report: The Status of Migrant Farm Workers in Canada, 2022, go online to:

https://ufcw.ca/templates/ufcwcanada/images/Agriculture_Workers/2022/Migrant-Workers-Report-2022-V6-EN.pdf to download.

The UFCW Canada is the country’s leading private sector union, representing more than 250,000 union members, across Canada, working in food retail and processing, transportation, health care, logistics, warehousing, agriculture, hospitality, manufacturing, and the security and professional sectors. UFCW is the country’s most innovative organization dedicated to building fairness in workplaces and communities. UFCW Canada members are your neighbours, who work at your local grocery stores, hotels, car rental agencies, nursing homes, restaurants, food processing plants, and thousands of other locations across the country.

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