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June 18th, 2020

New Democrats call for immediate action to protect migrant workers

VANCOUVER – Following the tragic deaths of two migrant workers and a scathing report released by the Migrant Workers Alliance, New Democrats are calling on the government to immediately take concrete steps to make sure that workers who come to Canada to support and work on Canadians farms are protected.

"Migrant workers are essential to Canadian agriculture and grow the food that supports Canadians and the world," said NDP Critic for Agriculture and Agri-Food Alistair MacGregor.

“We have had serious concerns about the conditions migrant workers are facing on Canadian farms but this report has confirmed how bad things truly are,” said NDP Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Jenny Kwan. “We have been outspoken about inadequate housing but now we have undeniable evidence of many other issues. This report reveals wage theft, a lack of health care information, inadequate food, and workers experiencing intimidation, surveillance, racism, and threats from their employer. This is happening right here in Canada – it’s exploitation and it has to stop. I call on the government to act on the recommendations in the report.”

Earlier this week, the Migrant Workers Alliance published a report about the living conditions and experiences of migrant workers in Canada, compiled from phone calls with migrant workers between March 15 and May 15, 2020. The report is alarming and provides a snapshot of the suffering endured by migrant workers living and working on Canadian farms under the current realities of COVID-19.

"The government must take this troubling report seriously. People who have come here to work and support our agri-food sector have been exposed to appalling conditions. Some are getting sick and dying," said MacGregor. "These living conditions are unacceptable. The government must take steps to ensure workers are treated with dignity, respect, and to ensure their health and safety.”