Erika and Jesus, two migrant agricultural workers from Mexico, were recently repatriated from a farm in Kelowna simply because they received a delivery of food and clothes.
Erika Zavala and Jesus Molina, both migrant farmworkers from Mexico, were recently fired from a B.C. farm simply because they received a delivery of cultural food and work clothes.
They are devastated after losing their income for the season. Erika and Jesus had been counting on working in Canada until October to support their children and elderly parents. The shutdown of the Mexican economy due to COVID-19 has severely reduced opportunities for jobs back home, and there is no government support. You can read more about their story in The Guardian.
We are enormously thankful to everyone who has donated so far in this GoFundMe fundraiser coordinated with our friends at RAMA Okanagan. It also means a lot to Erika and Jesus to know that so many people in Canada care about them. All funds raised go directly to Erika and Jesus.
Can you help us reach the final stretch of our fundraising goal?
If it’s within your means, we welcome donations here.
Erika Zavala, 32, a seasonal worker from Mexico, weeding rows of plants in the organic carrot farm where she works near Cawston, British Columbia. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
Migrant farm workers from BC and Ontario asserted their strength by sharing their struggles with an international audience. Today’s New York Times article by Dan Levin explains how Canada’s migrant farm worker scheme invites dangerous, unhealthy and exploitative conditions for migrant farm workers by its very design.
“This program is a form of apartheid,” said Chris Ramsaroop, an organizer with Justicia for Migrant Workers, a labor rights organization based in Ontario.
“Migrant workers are employed and live under a different set of legal rights than Canadians,” Mr. Ramsaroop added. “The very existence of temporary foreign worker programs enables the Canadian government to deny basic freedoms and protections as a result of their immigration status.”
This criticism by international media — which is underpinned by decades of research and advocacy — shows that justifications for Canada’s migrant farm worker program are wearing thin in the public eye.