Mexico City, Mexico – November 17, 2023 – UFCW Canada recently joined the Mexican Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) at a press conference in Mexico City jointly calling for improvements to the Canada-Mexico Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP).
Together, both groups are calling on the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to allow for workers and their unions to participate and have an input in annual Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program meetings.
“For far too long the voice of workers have been left out of the evaluation meetings that occur yearly in Mexico and Canada,” says UFCW Canada’s Pablo Godoy. “The voice of workers has to be at the core of any decisions that have to be made when we evaluate these programs. It’s about time we give a voice and space to workers that often tell us about their working and living conditions and how they aren’t able to voice their thoughts and opinions when it comes to labour rights and human rights.”
Currently, only representatives of the two countries’ respective governments and industry, including recruiters are invited to participate in the meetings. Many argue that the lack of having workers’ voices heard during these proceedings leaves loopholes in the program that leave it open to abuse, exploitation, and institutionalized trafficking.
For more than three decades, UFCW has led the fight for migrant workers’ rights in Canada. In collaboration with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada operates a national, on-the-ground network of Worker Support Centres with staff and volunteers helping thousands of migrant workers navigate and enforce their limited rights and entitlements, as well as providing health and safety and “know your rights” training. To learn more about this important work, click here.