Immigration

Temporary Workers In Canada And Covid19

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Temporary Workers In Canada And Covid19

There are lots of realities that have been made visible during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the reality of Latino workers that have lived for decades is no exception.

As the world calls for social distancing and quarantine, Central American, Mexican and Caribbean day laborers continue to work under precarious conditions in the fields of southern Canada.

Contraction of COVID-19 on Canadian Farms By Latino Temporary Workers

The lack of masks, protection, decent working conditions, and social distancing measures in the work areas are just some of the conditions that have exposed hundreds of temporary immigrants to the deadly COVID-19 virus and which inevitably has taken the lives of at least three workers.

The workers, who have denounced on several occasions the labor disadvantages they have with respect to North American residents, are being accompanied in their fight by the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC) organization.

The MWAC organization during this time has called for protests for the rights of immigrant day laborers, demanding permanent residence for them and also fair working conditions.

For the first time ever, temporary workers are given coverage on the front page of the Canadian media. After decades of silence, the story of these Latin American temporary workers in rural areas is on the front page of the local and international media, giving them the opportunity to tell their story and be heard.

Juan Luis Mendoza is a day laborer of Mexican origin who has been working temporarily in the fields of Canada for more than 2 decades, states that his work as well as those who exercise it lacks status, and regrets that it was COVID-19 the reason why they are now seen.

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However, it takes advantage of the space granted to denounce that immigrant day laborers live within injustice, work more than 12 hours a day, cannot report abuses by their employers, and receive a salary below the Canadian minimum wage.

Like Mendoza, the Mexican Blanca Islas PĂ©rez works in the fields of Canada and tells how her experience was after breaking her foot in an accident in her workplace and being denied transportation to the hospital, and ending up in a psychiatric center where she later tried to commit suicide after several days of despair.

Islas also comments that before she decided to work in the fields in southern Canada, her husband also worked as a day laborer on a farm in that country and that he himself commits suicide after having denounced the conditions in which he worked.

Permanent residence for Latino workers in Canada
Islas and Mendoza declare that -despite the shortcomings- they adore this land where they have seen what they sow with their hands flourish.

Latino temporary workers want to be able to apply for permanent residence in order to change their status, to demand the abrupt stop of abuse, lack of working conditions, injustice, and decent housing.

To do this, they ask for awareness on the part of government bodies and a change in the laws with which they are only seen as illegal laborers and migrants, and not as people worthy of rights.

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