Amplify Migrant Farmworker Voices in New Heat Stress Regulations

Under pressure from migrants, the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development has proposed changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to add heat stress requirements.

These heat stress requirements are an important step forward but have two major gaps: there are no avenues for migrants to make complaints safely when employer don’t follow the requirements; and they don’t apply to migrant farmworker housing. In addition, a number of the requirements are vague and subjective and too many are not mandatory.

Even then, we can be certain that big business lobby groups will oppose even these requirements, unwilling to make any changes to protect the lives and health of working class migrant farmworkers.

This is why we at the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC) are speaking up, and we need you to join us!

67 migrant agricultural worker leaders in MWAC jointly identified demands on behalf of 1,454 migrant farmworker members in Ontario.

We are calling on organizations across Ontario to write letters in support of these migrant demands using the template above!

Migrant demands include:

  • Proactive enforcement, migrant worker specific anti-reprisal mechanisms and protections
  • Migrant farm worker housing included in heat stress regulations
  • Mandatory 10 minute paid break in a cool shaded area, every 2 hours during heat and humidity warnings added to regulations
  • Mandated access to hazard pay during heat and humidity warnings
  • and more…

Migrant farmworkers want better protections, not only from heat-related illness, but also from reprisals that come from speaking up for labour and human rights. These reprisals include eviction from employer-provided housing, job termination, deportation, and being banned from working in Canada in the future. Without permanent status, migrant workers are denied the power to protect ourselves from employer retaliation and abuse. Denial of permanent resident status also means exclusions from basic services like healthcare