On December 24, 2009 four migrant workers were killed and another critically injured when the scaffold they were working on collapsed and sent them plunging 13 stories to the base of a Toronto apartment building. In the wake of the investigation of the Christmas Eve tragedy — and in large part because of pressure from UFCW Canada, labour allies and community groups — more than 60 charges in total were filed under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act against various construction and repair companies.
In 2010, UFCW Canada, our community partners and allies continued to fight for dignity and respect for the over 250,000 migrant workers that enter Canada annually. For instance, in British Columbia, migrant farm workers at Abbotsford’sSidhu and Sons Nursery (and see) became members of UFCW Canada Local 1518 and successfully negotiated a first collective bargaining agreement with their employer. What makes this victory so important is that, for the first time in Canadian labour legal history, migrant workers were organized as a separate bargaining unit from domestic workers. Similar successes occurred in Quebec as well.
UFCW Canada recently joined over 1,500 activists from around the world in Quito, Ecuador, to participate in the 4th World Social Forum on Migration (WSFM). The WSFM – which took place despite an attempted coup against the government of Rafael Correa – is an extension of the long running World Social Forum and is dedicated to advocating for migrant worker rights.
UFCW Canada and the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) are spearheading a new campaign to denounce the systematic abuse and violation of the rights of Guatemalan farm workers who come to Canada through the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP).