2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers program, a guest worker program that has brought thousands of Caribbean and Mexican migrant farm workers to toil in fields across Canada and put food on our table.
Migrant workers under this program are tied to their employer, have no access to residency status and must return home after their contract.
Over the past fifty years countless workers have described the conditions under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers program as inhumane and unjust. From being sent home for standing up for their rights at work to being denied equal access to our healthcare system, migrant workers face differential treatment than residents of Canada.
Being tied to an employer creates vulnerable working and living conditions that further imperil migrant farm workers to dangerous and precarious conditions. Whether it’s workplace deaths such as Ned Livingston Peart, a Jamaican migrant worker killed in a workplace accident to the forced DNA sweep of 100 Caribbean migrant workers near London, Ontario migrant workers are subjected to differential treatment that must end.
This year, migrant workers and allies are organizing to demand that the Canadian government provide residency status for all migrant workers. We the undersigned echo and endorse this demand.
Status for all migrant workers.