Farmworkers: Check your wages for updates!

Did you know that wages for migrant farmworkers were updated recently? Keep reading to make sure you’re being paid correctly!

How to find your rights on wages

As a migrant farmworker, you have certain rights according to your contract – including wages. Do you know where to look in your contract for information about your wages?

If you’re a seasonal farmworker (8 months contract or less), look at page 4 of your contract under “PAYMENT OF WAGES“. What does it say?

[If you don’t have a copy of your contract with you, tap this link for an online version.]

It says that your boss must pay you weekly wages at a rate that is equal to or above the following rates, whichever rate is highest:

  • The provincial wage for farmworkers according to where you work;
  • The prevailing (or median) wage rate for the type of work you do in the area where you’re employed, as decided by Employment and Social Development Canada (the government department that administers the seasonal farmwork program); OR
  • The wages that your boss is paying other seasonal workers who are doing the same type of work you do.

Often the second option (prevailing or median wage) is the highest, and this rate is updated every year so be sure to check back each season. The most recent update was November 29, 2023. Are you being paid properly? Keep reading to find out!

How to find your wage rate

First, look at your work permit under “ADDITIONAL INFORMATION” and find where it says “OCCUPATION/PROFESSION“. What does it say?

Next, tap this link: jobbank.gc.ca/trend-analysis/search-wages

You should see this:

In the white box, type the occupation that’s listed on your work permit. Press the blue “Search” button.

Then, scroll down to where it says “Hourly wages by community/area“. You will see 3 columns: Low ($/hour), Median ($/hour), and High ($/hour).

Finally, find the region where you’re employed and look under the Median ($/hour) column in the middle. Whatever rate is stated there is your rate of pay according to your contract.

How to report contract violations

Is your boss not paying you correctly? Not sure if your wages are right?

You’re not alone! Message Kit on WhatsApp at 905-324-2840 for support.

Fund Migrant Worker Wage Theft Fightback

Every year, migrant farm and fishery workers face a grave injustice – tens of thousands of dollars in wages stolen by bad bosses. Trapped in a system of indentureship where speaking up means risking homelessness, poverty, deportation, and a ban from returning, workers rarely fight back. When they do – they are often denied their rights because they don’t have “evidence”.

Our Solution: Worker Rights Hand Book

We’re launching a Worker Rights Handbook and Video Series for migrants to know their rights, and gather evidence of exploitation.

Where your contribution will go

  • Legal Consultation: Ensuring workers have the best legal support when they speak up.
  • Video Development: Creating informative and empowering content,
  • Handbook Design: A comprehensive way to learn rights and track hours and wages.
  • Translation: Making our handbook available in many languages.
  • Distribution: Directly to migrants workers in farms and fish plants in rural communities across Canada.

Every dollar matters

  • $20,000: We will create and distribute the handbook with videos in English and Spanish to over 4,000 workers.
  • $40,000: We will add Thai, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Indigenous languages, and create additional videos.
  • $60,000: We will turn the handbook into an app that workers can use to gather evidence, learn their rights and connect with others.

To contribute

  • Via credit card: On this page
  • Interac: info@migrantworkersalliance.org
  • Cheque: Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, 720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 223, Toronto, ON M5S 2T9

Treat Farmworkers Fair: TAKE ACTION

[Tap here to sign the petition]

The Minister of Labour in Jamaica, Pearnel Charles Jr., recently promised to open the overseas farmwork program to people with disabilities and create an even larger pool of workers to abuse and exploit. Does that sound fair to you?

Keep reading for 2 simple actions you can take!

1.Watch this video to learn 3 reasons why this promise is not the progressive measure the Ministry claims it to be:

2. Sign the petition below to send a message to Minister Charles – tell him to treat farmworkers fair! We want an end to the unfair practice of blacklisting, which bans farmworkers who get injured or speak up about our rights as humans and workers. Scroll down to sign or tap here to read the full petition.

Because migrants are denied permanent status in Canada, seasonal migrant farmworkers are forced to depend on our bosses to get requested back to the country each year. We are threatened with being banned (blacklisted) from the farmwork program if we speak up about abuse and unsafe conditions.

This unfair practice of blacklisting will end – but only if we take action together today!

We are uniting as migrant farmworkers to call on the Minister of Labour Pearnel Charles Jr. to:

  • Meet with Migrant Workers Alliance for Change farmworker members and listen to workers’ concerns;
  • End the discriminatory practice of blacklisting, as directed by migrant farmworkers;
  • Create an ombuds office at the Ministry of Labour to support farmworkers who have not been requested back by their employer, and to facilitate placement on another farm;
  • Call on the Canadian government to grant permanent resident status to all migrants on arrival, including seasonal farmworkers.

Your personal information will be kept private and confidential, we will never share your name or contact information and will only use it to keep you updated.

Fill out the Government Survey for Migrant Workers and Speak Up for Your Rights!

The federal government is asking Temporary Foreign Workers to share their opinions. This is a great opportunity to speak up for your rights. 

Why should you do the survey?

  • It’s anonymous! 
  • You can tell the government what you really think.
  • It will only take you 10 minutes. 

But remember:

  • It’s not enough to just share your ideas.
  • Join with other migrant workers like you by calling or sending us a WhatsApp message to learn what else you can do. 

How do I complete the survey?

  • We have put all the sections from the survey here below, so you can read them and get inspired. 
  • The sections in the survey are bolded, and our suggested answers are highlighted in yellow 
  • You can read all the questions below and then click the link to start the survey

Click this link to start: Government Survey for Migrant Workers and Speak Up for Your Rights!

  • You can use the answers below to be inspired or you can copy and paste in the Federal government survey.

Section 1

Questions 1 to 5

These first five questions are personal questions such as: Have you ever been a temporary foreign worker in Canada? The year you worked in Canada, the type of job you did, and where you worked (province and city). 

Section 2 

Question 6 

Asks you if you are in a union. 

Section 3

Questions 7 to 24

In this section you will find questions about your experiences in Canada, such as infomation about your rights as a migrant worker you know, where did you find said information. Were you able to exercise your rights, living and working conditions, send a report to ESDC, open work permit for vulnerable workers. 

Remember to think of your worst experience in Canada when answering these questions. When you find a box use that opportunity to say why you want permanent resident status because it protects you from exploitation. Give examples of where you were mistreated. 

Section 4 

Questions 25 to 35

This section asks demographic information such as level of education, country of origin, language you speak, gender. Please respond acordingly. 

Section 5 

Question 36 to 39

This part is about your interest in coming back to Canada, and if you would apply for Permanent Residency. 

Use this section to reiterate why you want permanent residency for all and why you cannot apply, because there are no access to PR for some groups of migrant workers such as Farmworkers. 

Section 6 

Send the survey – This is where you will find the Submit button for the survey. 

Let’s unite together and make sure Canada does the right thing and grants Permanent Status For All – including people without papers and those who arrive in the future. Sign the petition

➡️ StatusForAll.ca

Do you want to stay informed about upcoming changes, events, and actions send us a WhatsApp message now and save our number in your phone contacts (This is a private and confidential list, and will not risk your job or status in any way): 

Farmworkers (ENG): 905-324-2840

Trabajadores Agrícolas: 647-807-4722

Care workers: 647-782-6633

Fishery workers (English and Spanish): 506-251-7467

Celebrate grape and wine season by thanking a migrant vineyard worker!

Before a bottle of wine reaches you at the store or a glass of wine is set on your table at a restaurant, the grapes are grown, harvested, and processed by migrant vineyards workers from Mexico, Vietnam, and Caribbean countries.

We are separated from our families for over half a year and miss out on family birthdays, graduations, and funerals. It’s heartbreaking to be away for so long and the days can seem never ending. Your support during the season encourages us to keep pushing through. We want to hear from you!

Get the Facts: Family Open Work Permits for Farmworkers

You deserve to be together with your family – all migrants do! Sadly, the Canadian government keeps us separated by denying us permanent resident status. One way the government promises to unite migrant families is through measures like open work permits for family members.

What is the Family Open Work Permit?

For years, migrant workers like you have been speaking up and taking action together about family unity. In 2022 the Canadian government was pressured to allow more spouses and adult children dependents of some migrant workers to get open work permits in the country. (Read the government announcement here.)

This expanded government measure has 3 phases:

  1. Phase 1 started January 30, 2023 which is for family members of workers in the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program. Farm workers are excluded.
  2. Phase 2 will expand to family members of workers from the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, after consultations with bosses. This phase will still exclude farm workers.
  3. Phase 3 is consultations with bosses in the agricultural industry to see if including family members of farm workers will benefit them and their business. It is not guaranteed that farm workers will be included after the consultations.

You can see how farm workers are shut out at every phase, this isn’t fair! That’s why we’re uniting together to take action and win change to the unfair system. Join us: Send a WhatsApp message to 905-324-2840 for more information about how you can make a change with us.


Who can apply?

  • Family members of workers in high-wage streams of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program

Not sure if your job qualifies as high-wage? You must be earning what’s called the “median hourly wage” or higher, which depends on what province in Canada you work.

Current wages for farmworkers in Canada are as low as $13/hour and we deserve so much more! That’s why we’re also fighting for higher wages, so our families will have more opportunities.

Do you agree that your family deserves more? Send a WhatsApp message to us at 905-324-2840 to learn how you can join our fight to win a better life!


Who cannot apply?

  • Farm workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program and the Agricultural Stream (Ag-Stream) of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program
  • Fishery workers who are not in the high-wage stream
  • Any migrant worker in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program who is paid low wages
  • Migrants with Open Work Permits for Vulnerable Workers who are paid low wages
  • Migrants with work permits who are also refugee claimants or H&C applicants
  • Migrants without papers/immigration status

To read the full requirements, tap this link: migrantworkersalliance.org/familyworkpermit

So many people are shut out of this measure, it’s not fair.

That’s why migrant workers are uniting together to take action and win change, including permanent resident status for all, so that we can all be together with our families!

Migrant Welcome UN Slavery Rapporteur Call for Permanent Resident Status for All

Media Contact: Syed Hussan, 416-453-3632, hussan@migrantworkersalliance.org 

Migrant Welcome UN Slavery Rapporteur Call for Permanent Resident Status for All

Toronto, September 6, 2023 – The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC) welcomes the statement in Ottawa from United Nations Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery Professor Tomoya Obokata today in which he called for “paths to longterm or permanent residency be open to all migrant workers”. 

The UN Rapporteur was in Canada on a country mission where he met with migrants including 40 members of (MWAC), Indigenous people, people with disability and incarcerated people, persons of African descent and other groups facing exploitation. In his End of Mission press conference today, Professor Obokata said that  was “disturbed” that “certain categories of migrant workers are made vulnerable to contemporary forms of slavery in Canada by the policies that regulate their immigration status, employment, and housing in Canada, and he is particularly concerned that this workforce is disproportionately racialized, attesting to deep-rooted racism and xenophobia entrenched in Canada’s immigration system”. 

He also reiterated that “Newcomers who enter Canada outside of TFWP experience similar precarity. International students who work in excess of the permitted 20 hours per week, asylum-seekers awaiting their work permits, undocumented migrant workers, and those that have lost status are vulnerable to many of the same abusive practices, as they may not report abuses for fear of deportation. Employers who are aware of their status may exploit them under threat of denouncing them to immigration authorities.”

The UN Rapporteur also echoed a call for regularization of all undocumented people, a call that was also made in June 2023 by the UN Rapporteur on Migration.

“The United Nations Rapporteur has yet again stated what we all know, and migrants have been saying for decades – a two-tier system of immigration where over 1.2 million new temporary permits are being issued each year breeds exploitation, exclusion and violence. All migrants, including undocumented people, migrant students, workers and refugees, must have permanent resident status to protect themselves and ensure a fair society,” said Syed Hussan, executive director, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

Prime Minister Trudeau promised regularization of undocumented people and permanent resident status for migrant students, workers and families in a mandate letter commitment in December 2021, 20 months later, migrants continue to suffer. 

Background:

Migrant Workers Alliance for Change

Migrant Workers Alliance for Change is a migrant-led, membership based organization of farmworkers, fishery workers, careworkers, undocumented people and current and former international students uniting for immigration and labour justice. 

www.MigrantWorkersAlliance.org 

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

Migrant farmworkers: You have a voice, let’s get loud for status for all!

Take action using this form and let Prime Minister Justin Trudeau know that the world is watching! Let’s unite together and make sure Canada does the right thing and grants permanent status for all – including people without papers and those who arrive in the future.

Your message will only be sent once you hit the red “ADD YOUR NAME” button at the end.


Note: Your name and contact information will be kept confidential. This form is created by Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, a migrant-led worker rights organization whose leaders and members are migrant farmworkers, care workers, international student workers, and undocumented workers. Learn more about us by tapping the link here: migrantworkersalliance.org