UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

September 02, 2005 12:01 ET

On the farm every day is a Labour Day:

The struggle continues for Canada's agricultural workers Attention: Agriculture Editor, City Editor, Food/Beverage Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 2, 2005) -

MICHAEL J. FRASER IS THE NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF UFCW CANADA -- THE UNION WHICH HAS LED THE CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY FOR CANADA'S AGRICULTURAL WORKERS:

" For Canada's agricultural workers Labour Day is not a holiday, but just another hard, gruelling and often hazardous day of work at straight time. While the rest of us commemorate the hard fought right to organize and bargain collectively, more than 125,000 Canadian farm workers toil like second class citizens because legislation in Ontario and Alberta continues to deny those workers the democratic right to join a union.

In 2001 the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a UFCW Canada charter challenge of Ontario law which prevents farm workers from joining a union as unconstitutional under the Charter of Rights of Freedom. Ontario ignored the spirit of the ruling, so later this September a new charter challenge filed by UFCW Canada will be heading back to the courts.

We expect the ruling will reaffirm the 2001 decision, and should force Ontario to stop stalling in extending to agricultural workers the same rights and protections that most of us take for granted. Alberta would ultimately have to follow.

On another court front, recently after years of legal pressure by UFCW Canada, Ontario committed to extend the protection of the provincial Health and Safety Act to also cover farm workers, starting in the spring of 2006. Shamefully, Alberta hasn't followed suit.

Democracy means equality, but justice and fairness for working men and women has always been a struggle. While we Canadians who are union members gather on Labour Day to acknowledge the achievements of the labour movement, we must also remember that for most of Canada's agricultural workers the struggle continues. "

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/For further information: The UFCW Canada 2004 National Report on the Status of Migrant Farm Workers in Canada is available in PDF format. Go to ufcw.ca/publications_main.cgi and you can find the report under the "Organizing Agricultural Workers Publications" menu, along with other articles about the challenges faced by agricultural workers in Canada./ IN: AGRICULTURE, FOOD, JUSTICE, LABOUR, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Michael J. Fraser, National Director, UFCW CANADA
    Primary Phone: 416-675-1104