Working in solidarity to respect and protect migrant workers
Forward, Together for Migrant Workers
By Lana Payne Campaign
Today is a day of action for Status for All and migrant rights supporters and organizers are rallying in Toronto, Montréal and St. Catharines.
During the summer season, fields and farms across Canada hire the labour of migrant workers coming from a number of different countries for seasonal work. While the government regulates some of the conditions migrant workers face, there remain significant gaps that expose migrant workers to challenging, unsafe, and sometimes deadly working conditions.
During the pandemic, migrant workers faced increased risk as travel, congregate living, and poor living and working conditions meant an exposed risk of transmission to COVID-19 for migrant workers. CBC’s the Fifth Estate exposed the increased risk to transmission faced by migrant workers in the documentary Bitter Harvest.
The federal government has recently moved forward with a regularizing blitz for people with permanent residency. The Migrant Rights Network is inviting the public to act on this historic opportunity to improve the lives of 1.7 million people without equal rights.
We cannot aim to raise the floor for all workers so long as there are groups of workers, such as migrant workers, who face difficult and exploitative conditions when they work in the farms that provide the foods we eat.
As a union, we must work in solidarity with migrant workers and organizations to raise awareness within our membership and the public to the working conditions migrant workers face in our communities. We must also support local unions who are interested in developing solidarity work for migrant workers, especially in areas where farms and fields are prevalent and migrant workers are especially present on a seasonal basis.
We must also call upon governments at all levels to respect and protect the lives of migrant workers and support the call for status for all.