UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

May 28, 2009 14:31 ET

Reign of immigration raids in Southern Ontario continues

Nine female migrant workers arrested in Leamington

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ON--(Marketwire - May 28, 2009) -

In the early morning of Wednesday, May 27, Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) agents raided Lakeside Greenhouse in Leamington, Ontario and arrested nine female migrant workers. One of the women arrested and detained is pregnant.

The arrested workers, who are all from Mexico, are being held at the county jail in Windsor, Ontario. A number of the women arrested have pending asylum claims as refugees and fear for their safety if deported. To date only one of the nine detainees has been released.

This latest raid comes on the heels of a series of U.S. - style raids first conducted by the CBSA in early April at various Ontario communities including Leamington. In those April raids, over one hundred workers were detained, and many were deported to their home countries.

"These unprecedented raids are shaking Leamington to its core. This is a community with a large and vibrant population of migrant workers," says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley.

"Rather than criminalizing our society's most vulnerable workers, the resources used to carry out these raids should be re-directed to support desperately needed enforcement of decent working conditions and accommodation for migrant workers. These raids only further stigmatize workers, making them even more vulnerable to unscrupulous employers and labour recruiters."

UFCW Canada and the Agriculture Workers Alliance have joined forces with local legal clinics and community groups to provide support and advocacy for the arrested workers, and other migrant workers in the Leamington community.

"These actions are destroying the lives of these already marginalized workers. As community and labour groups, we are demanding an immediate moratorium on raids. We have to stop punishing workers for doing nothing more than earning a livelihood," stated Chris Ramsaroop from Justicia for Migrant Workers.

As Canada's largest private-sector union, UFCW Canada has been advocating for the rights of migrant workers across Canada for almost two decades. In association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) (www.awa-ata.ca), UFCW Canada also operates nine agriculture worker support centres across Canada, including one in Leamington, Ontario. These centres have provided assistance to tens of thousands of workers since the first centre opened its doors in 2002.

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Media Liaison:
Sima Sahar Zerehi, UFCW Canada, National Representative
416.893.4053
sima.zerehi@ufcw.ca
/For further information: www.ufcw.ca
www.awa-ata

/ IN: ECONOMY, JUSTICE, LABOUR, SOCIAL, TRADE

Contact Information

  • Sima Sahar Zerehi, National Representative, UFCW Canada
    Primary Phone: 416-675-1125 ext. 266
    Secondary Phone: 416-893-4053
    E-mail: sima.zerehi@ufcw.ca