Developing Alternative Labour Organizing, Hiring and Recruitment Models to End Labour Exploitation of Temporary Migrant Farm Workers in British Columbia
The Canadian agricultural industry stands out as an emblematic case among high income countries that have long relied on immigrant and migrant labour from poorer, non-white countries to meet its labour needs. State-sponsored programs such as the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and the Low Skilled Pilot Project (LSPP) have facilitated the legal entry of migrant labour from countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Caribbean countries, among others. However, the temporary and restricted nature of guest worker contracts have commonly resulted in wide-scale employment violations and entrenched forms of labour exploitation such as substandard working and living conditions, unsafe working conditions, low wages, and no right to social entitlements and benefits. International labour recruiters and sending countries embassies cannot guarantee labour rights protection, fair wages, employment standards, and prevention/protection from illegal recruitment fees. Through a comparative cross-country study between the U.S and Canada, this research seeks to explore transnational labour organizing models for migrant farm workers and outline an alternative not-for-profit hiring hall model to replace existing models that tend to encourage the systemic violation of farmworkers rights. This project once completed will provide a practical model for discussion and input for public policy design among policy makers, labour union representatives, community agencies, researchers, industry and migrant workers advocacy groups.