Seasonal farm workers conditions worrisome in Quebec

With increasing number of migrants coming to Quebec to work at farms, this is increasingly becoming an issue of serious concern for the migrants.

Quebec has around 7,000 migrant farm workers hailing from West Indies, Mexico and Guatemala.

Poor work conditions in Quebec threaten migrants—As per the information revealed by Quebec commission for workplace health and safety, migrant farm workers in this Canadian province are exposed to pesticides and heat.

In addition, such workers have to work under strenuous and monotonous conditions, information further adds.

All seasonal farm workers in Quebec must be provided all rights and obligations enjoyed by Quebec workers and the aim of a video recently released by the commission in Spanish language is to provide this information to all seasonal farm workers in Quebec.

Spanish working in Quebec farms complain of bad work conditions—Spanish migrant workers complain of unfair work conditions in Quebec farms. A migrant from Guatemala, Noe Ricardo Arteaga Santos, complained of getting fired from Quebec’s St. Etienne des Gres for Savoura in 2008.

Despite of lodging a complaint with Quebec government, Santos was deported along with a co-worker.

His only fault was that he protested for not getting overtime dues. And when a co-worker working without protective gear became ill while spraying pesticides in the farm, the workers protested against the work conditions. Rather than getting any justice, the striking workers were deported to Guatemala.

Savoura, the company employing such workers, however, denies all such allegations. General Director and president of Savoura, Maria Gosselin says all such complaints are baseless adding that the company abides by all rules and regulations.

Workers must stand up for their rights, asserts Immigrant Workers Center’s Amy Darwish. Sam Bick, also from the same center, says the story of Santos predicts the predicament of a large number of immigrant farm workers in Quebec.

In the recent times, number of Spanish migrants working as temporary farm workers in Quebec farms has gone up significantly.

As per the figures, the year 2010 registered an increase of eight times than the year 1995 in the number of Spanish workers being hired by Quebec farms.