Working at Their Own Cost
More than 25,000 migrant farm workers arrive in Ontario each year to harvest the crops and help our farmers deliver the produce to our dinner table. The journey of a migrant worker from their home country to Canada is uncertain. The majority of them come to Canada heavily in debt, having to borrow money to pay unscrupulous recruiters in addition to travel and program expenses.
It is not uncommon for a worker to have paid an average of $2,000 in recruiting fees in addition to other expenses before arrival. (Information from the Who, Where and How Much report.)
By the time workers receive their first paycheck, deductions for rent, transportation and other discretionary expenses by the employer significantly reduce their earnings and ability to pay back loans.
Even if workers receive the promised minimum wage, many are cheated with the number of hours they have completed or the weight of the produce they have picked. Some of these workers have to operate dangerous equipment or use chemicals without proper safety training or gear. Many suffer workplace injuries and are swiftly sent home without proper treatment or compensation. Those who do stay are forced to continue working or face reduced shifts and wages.
Please click here and watch this short video with more information about some of the exploitive conditions endured by migrant workers. While the video is from 2011 and refers to the elections we had the same year, the issues discussed are still prominent and should be highlighted during the upcoming federal election this October.