Migrant workers rallying for their rights
Ajamu Nangway, a PhD student in adult education at the University of Toronto, handed out pamphlets along Queen Street to raise awareness about issues migrant workers face each summer when they come to work in Canada.
While many residents spent their Labour Day weekend enjoying the last bit of summer, migrant works marched down Queen Street on Sunday for better wages and rights.
About 100 farm workers and supporters took part in the caravan, says Chris Ramsaroop, organizer of Justicia for Migrant Workers.
It was one of three stops which included St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.
The organization promotes the rights of farm workers in the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SWAP) and the Low Skilled Workers Program.
There are many migrant workers here in NOTL which are a part of SWAP, says Ramsaroop.
It is a program which responds to the labour shortage in the Canadian agricultural industry.
Migrant workers come from places such as Jamaica, Mexico or the Carribean and they can work from four to eight months in Canada, says Ramsaroop.
The organizer says the rallies are an attempt to education people about the lack of rights, the possibility of deportation if workers speak out and fees workers have to pay to recruiters just to work in Canada.
He says both the SWAP and the LSWP face the same issues.
Ramsaroop says people on the street became receptive to what the rally was about and were willing to listen when they gave away pears, peaches and vegetables which the migrant workers help to grow and harvest.
"It's helping to break the invisibility of migrant workers."