(December 16, 2022) The National Farmers Union (NFU) stands in solidarity with migrants living, working, and studying in Canada on this International Migrants Day. Over the past year, the NFU has reiterated and supported migrant agricultural workers’ demands for open work permits, permanent and full immigration status upon arrival, and for equitable, safe, dignified and just working conditions. We will continue our advocacy until the labour and human rights of these essential workers, whose skills are so necessary to the maintenance of our food system, are fully respected.
There may be half a million undocumented people in Canada. Undocumented workers employed on farms across Canada, like other temporary and seasonal migrant workers, do not have the same labour rights as resident Canadian workers. They are particularly at risk of exploitation and often fearful of reporting the abuses they experience. Many do not seek medical and other basic services to avoid being flagged by immigration authorities.
At the November 2022 National Convention of the NFU, members unanimously passed a resolution moved by resident Canadian farm workers to support migrant-led movements’ campaign for full and permanent immigration status for all migrants, including undocumented people.
The momentum of this campaign is building! In response to years of migrant organizing, Prime Minister Trudeau instructed the Minister of Immigration to explore ways of regularizing status for undocumented workers and other migrants in his mandate letter.
We know that migrant agricultural workers play a key role in our food systems, and we believe that they need better working conditions and the opportunity to become full and permanent residents in our communities. The details of the government’s regularization program are currently being debated in a cabinet sub-committee and will soon be sent to the whole of cabinet. Now is the time to push for equality for all migrants, including undocumented farmworkers.
On this International Migrants Day, the NFU is calling on our members and allies to speak up and make sure that no one is left behind by demanding that the Canadian government respect the human rights of migrant farmworkers, regardless of their legal status, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. Please send a message to the Federal Cabinet members letting them know that you believe in equality, rights, dignity, and justice for all. Click here to send your letter now.