GUELPH, ON--(Marketwired - September 19, 2016) -
Who: Justicia for Migrant Workers' Harvesting Freedom campaign
What: Action at the Guelph Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in solidarity with injured migrant workers
Where: WSIB, 100 Stone Road W, Guelph ON
When: September 19, 2016 at 8 am
Justicia for Migrant Workers Harvesting Freedom campaign arrives in Guelph today as part of a month long caravan to Ottawa to demand permanent residency status for migrant workers. This morning, the caravan is stopping at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to demand justice for migrant workers who get injured on the job.
"Farming is dangerous and the agricultural industry and WSIB are quick to dispose of migrant workers who get injured at work. Workers are soon sent back to their home country and are largely forgotten, denied compensation and unable to access health care for their workplace injuries," says Chris Ramsaroop, an organizer with the Harvesting Freedom campaign.
When a migrant worker gets injured at work, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is mandated to ensure they receive both necessary health care as well as wage loss compensation. However, the WSIB does not sufficiently help migrant workers to access health care in the home countries and unfairly limits their wage loss compensation. The result is that many injured migrant workers are disposed of to a life of poverty and ill health because of their work in Ontario.
"It's an inhumane and unjust way for the WSIB to treat people who get injured putting food on our tables. They have to change," continues Ramsaroop.
Migrant workers are employed in Canada under several federal migration programs, including the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP). The SAWP is a 50 year old Federal program that brings migrant workers from the Caribbean and Mexico to Canada to work for up to eight months a year.
Migrant workers are tied to one employer, must return home once their contract ends, and can be sent home after a workplace injury, even if medical care is still needed. The Canadian Medical Association Journal recently reported that, between 2001 and 2011, nearly 800 migrant workers were repatriated for injuries and illness sustained while in Ontario.
As part of the Harvesting Freedom campaign, migrant workers and their allies are traveling to Ottawa calling for permanent immigration status for migrant farm workers. For Guelph, the caravan is supporting the call for the WSIB to provide fair compensation and health care to migrant workers who get injured on the job.
Justice for Migrant Workers
Harvesting Freedom Campaign 2016
50 years of farmworker resistance