UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

August 21, 2007 17:17 ET

Mexico meets with Canadian union during Calderon visit

President of UFCW Canada union meets with senior Mexican official during Calderon visit to Canada to discuss migrant worker challenges

Attention: Agriculture Editor, City Editor, Food/Beverage Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OTTAWA--(Marketwire - Aug. 21, 2007) -

The National President of the Canadian union that represents Mexican migrant workers at a Manitoba farm, and has union applications pending on behalf of Mexican migrant workers at three other farms in Quebec, has met with a senior official of Mexican President Felipe Calderon's government to discuss the challenges facing Mexican migrant workers in Canada.

Wayne Hanley, the National President of UFCW Canada met on Monday in Ottawa with Carlos Rico, Under-Secretary for North America, from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Rico was in Canada with President Calderon for the North American Leaders Summit in Montebello, Quebec where talk of expanding the Mexican migrant labour force in Canada was on the Canada-Mexico agenda.

According to Hanley, "our meeting with Under-Secretary Rico was positive and we look forward to continuing to work together with Mexican government representatives toward the common goals and interests of addressing the issues and challenges facing Mexican migrant workers in Canada."

Every year nearly 10,000 workers from Mexico are brought to Canada under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP). They typically are paid minimum wage and some of the workers are subject to working and housing conditions that Canadians would find intolerable. The workers, who are contracted exclusively to a single farm location for the season, are admitted under temporary work permits that require them to return to Mexico at the end of their employment contracts.

Workers have historically been hesitant to report dangerous working conditions or hostile employers for fear of being sent home or blacklisted from returning the next season.

Over the last decade UFCW Canada has led the campaign for improved working conditions and rights for migrant agricultural workers who come to Canada each year.

In February 2007 Hanley and members of his staff shared concerns and issues with the Mexican Congress Commission on Population, Borders and Migration.

In June 2007 five Federal Deputies from Mexico visited Canada to conduct their own investigation of the challenges facing their Mexican citizens while working in Canada, as well as to visit some of the eight Migrant Agricultural Workers Support Centres UFCW Canada operates across Canada, providing thousands of Mexican workers legal, translation and counseling services including advocacy for safer working conditions and workplace rights.

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Media contact:

Michael Forman
UFCW Canada National Office
416-579-8330
mforman@ufcw.ca

/For further information: www.ufcw.ca/ IN: AGRICULTURE, FOOD, JUSTICE, LABOUR, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Michael Forman, Media Relations, UFCW CANADA
    Primary Phone: 416-675-1104 ext. 249
    Secondary Phone: 416-579-8330