Citizenship and Precarious Labour in Canadian Agriculture

November 18, 2015
1.44 MB36 pages

Based on interviews with 200 farmworkers, as well as representatives from industry, advocates and civil servants, this study finds that most BC farm workers are subject to hazardous conditions like unsafe transportation, substandard living conditions, long work hours and dangerous equipment. Employment standards for the agricultural sector are only loosely enforced.

Recommendations include:

  • Granting immigrant status to farmworkers on arrival; these workers would then have a path to citizenship after three years if they choose to apply.
  • Establishing an employment compliance team, whose mandate would include random spot-checks at worksites to enforce employment standards. Priorities would include safe transportation and housing.
  • Reforming MSP so that agricultural workers receive health coverage immediately upon arrival in Canada—this is already done in Ontario.
  • Registering migrant employers and recruiters, so that they can be held accountable if they violate workers’ rights, as has been done in Manitoba.