Injured farm workers call for an end to ‘deeming’

Migrant farm workers

Injured migrant farm workers from the Caribbean and Mexico are calling on the Workplace & Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) to end the practice of “deeming.”

In a letter delivered to the Board last Friday, the workers, formerly employed through Canada’s temporary foreign workers program, noted that “deeming allows the WSIB to cut the benefits of injured workers by pretending (or “deeming”) that they are working and making money in a suitable job in Ontario.”

The workers stated that “this is not the case.”

They pointed out that “because migrant injured workers are racialized and do not have permanent legal status in Canada, we are made more vulnerable to this racist and discriminatory practice.

“Often, we are left without benefits and unable to find work in our respective home countries.”

The workers pointed out that “the WSIB provides us with one solution: get an Ontario job.

“However, due to restrictive immigration laws by Canada, we cannot even enter into the country.

“The only way we can enter Canada is by being able to get a work visa which we can no longer get due to our injuries. How can we even do an Ontario job, if the Canadian government won’t even let us in?”

Copies of the letter to the WSIB were sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford