Justicia condemns OIPRD’s report for perpetuating racist policing

Photos by Fatin Chowdhury


Justicia for for Migrant Workers (J4MW), a migrant rights advocacy organization, strongly rejects the Office of the Independent Police Review Director’s (OIPRD) finding that there was no racial profiling in the coercive DNA sweep of 99 black and brown migrant men in Bayhem, Ontario in 2013. J4MW condemns the OIPRD’s perpetuation of racist policing of black and racialized communities.

The DNA sweep was part of an investigation into the sexual assault of a local woman that occurred on October 19th, 2013. Justicia for Migrant Workers denounces this heinous act of violence and supports the survivor of the attack.

In October and November 2013, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) conducted a DNA sweep where samples where taken from almost a 100 Afro-Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean men who did not all conform to the suspect description. The men ranged in ages 21 to 61, heights ranged from 5’0” to 6’5”, and body sizes ranged between 130 lbs to 310 lbs. Other identifying features (e.g. hairstyle) were also disregarded. After meeting with dozens of the migrant workers who expressed their outrage, J4MW filed the complaint with the OIPRD.

“We have wasted two years waiting for this disappointing report. We completely reject the findings of the OIPRD’s Systemic Review” says Claudia Espinoza, a member of J4MW. “The OPP and the employers created a space of fear and control over these Afro and Indo-Caribbean workers. Migrant workers are angered, and so are we. The review gives the police permission to continue to harass and racially profile racialized and migrant communities across Ontario.” continues Espinoza.

 Justice for Sheldon McKenzie! Ask Trudeau to stop sending migrant workers home in caskets.


Today’s edition of CBC’s Go Public exposes inconsistencies around the death of Sheldon McKenzie, a Jamaican migrant farm worker who died on September 17, 2015. McKenzie was a father of two and had worked as a farmworker in Leamington for 13 years under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP). On January 26, 2015, Mckenzie had been working in a greenhouse at the Leamington farm when he fell and subsequently ended up in a coma. He died later that year. Although his death was a workplace fatality, no coroner’s inquest into his death was held. His family and friends want answers and are demanding action.

To date there has never been a coroners inquest into the death of a migrant worker anywhere in Canada, despite the known hazardous and dangerous conditions of their work sectors.

Please join us in demanding Justice for Sheldon and for the countless other migrant workers who have been killed while working in Canada. Both the federal and provincial governments must shoulder responsibility for Sheldon’s death. Both levels of government must investigate all repatriations of migrant workers; including migrants repatriated for medical reasons.

Please take action by:

•Signing and sharing the Harvesting Freedom petition, which goes directly to PM Trudeau.

•E-mail, phone and tweet ESDC Minister Mary Ann Mihychuk
Telephone: 613-992-7148 (Ottawa)
Telephone: 204-984-6322 (Constituency office)
Twitter: @MPMihychuk
Demand that the voices of seasonal agricultural workers are included in the upcoming TFW review as well as the voices of injured and sick migrant workers no longer in the program.

• E-mail, phone and tweet Citizenship, Immigration and Refugees Minister John McCallum
E-mail: john.mccallum@parl.gc.ca
Phone: 613-996-3374 (Ottawa)
Phone: 905-479-8100 (Constituency office)

• E-mail, phone and tweet Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn at
Phone: 416-325-5200 (Queen’s Park)
Phone: 905-827-5141 (Constituency)
Twitter: @MPPkevinflynn
Demand an investigation into all medical repatriations  proactive inspections are undertaken (strengthen our province demand)
If you want to keep in contact with the campaign please contact us at harvestingfreedomcampaign@gmail.com



As French’s Ketchup prioritizes Canadian tomatoes, Justice For Migrant Workers wants to know: What about the hands that grow them?
April 2016


The recent announcement by French’s ketchup that it will use 100% Canadian tomatoes from Southwestern Ontario fails to make mention of the hardworking farmworkers who will grow them, and in which conditions. Thousands of migrant farmworkers from Latin America, the Caribbean, the Philippines and Thailand work in the greenhouses of Southwestern Ontario producing these locally-grown tomatoes without access to minimum wage, overtime pay and never earning the opportunity to become Permanent Residents of Canada, no matter how many years they work here.

Will French’s support J4MW’s recommendations for Kathleen Wynne and the Provincial Government’s Ministry of Labour to scrap all exemptions to the Employment Standards Act and guarantee minimum wage, overtime pay and other minimum protections to ALL workers? See our submissions to the Changing Workplaces Review of the Employment Standards Act.

Will French’s join us in asking the government of PM Justin Trudeau to grant migrant workers Permanent Residency in Canada so they can have access to fair working and living conditions? Sign the petition here to make sure migrant workers have access to Justice!


Injured migrant workers speak up and march on International Day for the Elimination of Racism

March 21, 2016


Injured (migrant) workers deliver complaint at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

Injured Workers Action for Justice (IWA4J), Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) and the Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario (IAVGO) organized a delegation on March 21st, the International Day for the Elimination of Racism, to launch a human rights complaint against the Workplace Safety Insurance Board.

The delegation started at 11am at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. A rally of injured Canadian and Migrant workers was held and the complaint was hand-delivered to the tribunal. See coverage in the Toronto Star here.

The complaint involves Robert Sulph a migrant farm worker who worked in Canada for 24 years. Sulph was seriously injured while working at a tobacco farm near Delhi, Ontario in 2013. Since returning home to Jamaica, his health condition has deteriorated as a result of WSIB policies that racially discriminate against migrant workers and their access to health care under WSIB.

Support Ned Peart (hearing postponed until the Fall 2016)!

March 2016

Ned Peart

This is Ned Peart. He was crushed to death by a tobacco kiln while working as a migrant farmworker in Ontario. His family together with Justicia for Migrant Workers have been fighting for over 10 years to change the laws so these kinds of accidents don’t happen again.

The hearing for his case was scheduled for March but was postponed until the Fall of 2016. We will need your support then and we will keep you updated! Help us pack the courtroom and also show our support to Mr. Peart’s family!


Migrant Workers Deserve To Be With Their Families Too!

February 12, 2016

Join Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) in visiting the office of Immigration Minister John McCallum to demand the right for migrant farmworkers to be with their families this Family Day. We will go to the Immigration Minister’s office this Friday to demand that migrant farm workers be able to receive Permanent Immigration status when they arrive to Canada. Help us ensure that not one more Family Day passes where migrant workers cannot be with their partners and kids.

We will be meeting at Minister McCallum’s constituency office (7750 Birchmount Road Unit 21-22, Markham, Ontario) at 10 am on February 12th, 2016.  Rides will be departing from 720 Spadina Ave in Toronto at 9 am. If you need a ride, or you can drive people, please RSVP to at harvestingfreedomcampaign@gmail.com

J4MW’s action at Minister McCallum’s office is part of the Harvesting Freedom Campaign, which marks 2016 as the 50th anniversary of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP). The campaign will include actions throughout the year to call for Permanent Residence status for migrant farm workers and will culminate in a historic Pilgrimage on to the nation’s capital in October.

Hope to see you on Friday,

The Harvesting Freedom Campaign by
Justicia For Migrant Workers



4th Anniversary of the Hamstead Tragedy –

February 6th, 2016



Migrant farmworkers asked Trudeau for Permanent Residency in Canada

January, 2016

‘Justice is 50 years overdue’, migrant farmworkers call for real change in 2016

WHAT: Media Briefing to launch historic ‘Harvesting Freedom’ caravan to Ottawa
WHEN: 10 am, Monday, January 25, 2016.
WHERE: Charles Lynch Room, Centre Block of Parliament, Ottawa
WHO: Justice for Migrant Workers (J4MW) is a grassroots advocacy group composed of migrant workers and allies, based in Toronto, Vancouver, and Mexico City

J4MW will held a press conference at 10 am in the Charles Lynch room in the Centre block of Parliament. Following the press conference, migrant workers visited the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to urge him to grant migrant farm workers Permanent Residence Status on Landing.