The Migrant Worker Subcommittee, initially struck in 2014, is a subcommittee of the NFU’s International Program Committee (IPC). This subcommittee seeks to extend and deepen the NFU’s understanding of migrant farm worker issues by providing information to members, offering recommendations to the NFU National Board, and providing a forum for members to share resources and learn together.
The NFU has committed to solidarity with agricultural workers, whether Canadian residents or migrant workers. Through La Via Campesina, the global movement that brings together organizations representing small- and medium-scale farmers, peasants, agricultural workers, rural women and Indigenous communities, the NFU works to support the struggles of migrant farm workers both in Canada and around the world, recognizing that many of these workers are farmers who have been forced off the land in their home countries as a result of global free trade agreements.
Within Canada, the NFU has urged the federal and provincial governments to uphold the rights and improve the conditions of migrant farm workers. In 2016 the NFU endorsed the Mobility, Voice and Equality for Migrant Workers (MoVE) Campaign organized by the Coalition for Migrant Workers Rights – Canada. The NFU joined in the call for regulatory changes so that migrant workers can more easily move between jobs and be offered permanent residency. For more about the campaign visit the Migrant Rights website.
The Migrant Worker Subcommittee also sponsored a screening of the film Migrant Dreams at the 2016 NFU Convention to raise awareness of the isolation, discrimination and vulnerability many low-wage migrant workers face under Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
In 2017 a member of the Migrant Worker Subcommittee participated in La Via Campesina’s fifth Encounter on the topic of migration and rural workers. Delegates from around the world convened in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to share information on the status of migrants and the impact of migration in each region.
Several members of the Migrant Worker Subcommittee were interviewed by the Toronto Star in 2017 as part of the paper’s series on temporary farm workers. Members also participated in the federal government’s consultation process on the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program Primary Agriculture Review held in the fall of 2017 and early 2018.
If you are interested in joining the Migrant Worker Subcommittee or have ideas of how we could support migrant farm workers in our communities, please contact the NFU’s IPC Coordinator, Carla Fehr.