Migrant farm workers rally against ‘exploitative’ treatment


Chris Ramsaroop

Scores of migrant farm workers from the Caribbean held a rally at Dundas Square in Toronto on Saturday to protest “exploitative treatment” by their employers.

Several injured workers at the rally spoke about how employers and businesses benefit from the labour of migrant workers while migrant injured workers are made “invisible and disposable”.

Workers also complained about how Workers’ Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits, funded by employers’ premiums, “work not for workers” but for employers. For example, they note that this year employers received over $1.5 billion to “rebate their premiums” while workers injured in Ontario continue to have their benefits cut.

Injured workers and their supporters are demanding:

– an end to the” harmful and racist practice” of the WSIB;

– proper healthcare and social support during recovery from injury;

-and permanent immigration status for all farm workers upon arrival in Canada

Last Saturday’s rally was one of a recent series organized by migrant farm workers to highlight the many forms of injustices they are facing.

Chris Ramsaroop, an organizer with Justicia for Migrant Workers, told The Caribbean Camera that current and former migrant workers “will continue to demand change.

“Being tied to your employer creates multiple barriers that deny farm workers from the Caribbean rights and entitlements that Canadian workers receive.

“The system discriminates against those who put food on our table.”

He said Justicia for Migrant Workers and the Injured Workers Action for Justice “will continue to put pressure on the WSIB, with a community delegation on Friday in honour of International Day for Persons with Disabilities.”