A substantial amount of discussion has evolved around the migration of Mexican and international workers for seasonal work in Canada’s fruit and vegetable industry. They are people who believe the contribution of migrant’s workers is endless in that Canadians do not seek this type of work anymore. They are those who view migration in primarily negative term. For example, migrants, devalue the community and disrupt other businesses. The pessimistic followers believe that immigrants contribute to the economy, however, not enough to consider them a good force within Canada. The assignment involves an in-depth look at the micro, mezzo, and macro perspective in regards to temporary migration work. In the video titled El Contrato, by Min Sook Lee, the issues, included social values and attitudes, the economy, laws and legislations and the political systems. The written analysis will look at services, advocacy and moral supports for migrant’s workers. This a group work assignment.
The Micro Issues deal with individuals, small groups and families. The micro issues with regards to El Contrato considers many local factors within the community. Martinez Teodoro (glasses guy) All of the Mexican workers have to leave home for eight months, leaving whole families, wives, children, relatives, and friends. The workers are traumatized because they are away from home without the closeness and interaction of their families. El Contrato, main character or victim is Teodoro Martinez. Teodoro could benefit greatly from a counselor or a psychotherapist for emotional issues. A definitive evidence of a micro related problem.
The other matter regarding the Mexican workers in Canada, is the insecurity by the Canadians white majority citizens, as stated by Teodoro. It seems there is a feeling of negativity towards them, a sense of miss conduct. He gets a sense as they were thinking, they’re stealing their jobs and the way they look at them in a strange way. I believe a micro solution would be to have the town organize a celebration party once every two months for getting together as a whole to all members of the community.
Another issue of concern is the long hours and days spent at the camp. Migrant workers work seven days per week, along with 10 hour days. The flat rate of pay is seven dollars and 25 cents an hour. Moreover, the treatment of workers raises the issue of aggression and disgust for the community by migrant workers. It is necessary for the operators to increase the wage of the workers to minimum wage in Canada. To continue, the workers should have one day of rest with an option of double time paid on that day of rest. I believe the Mexican counsel should negotiate a better contract with owners in the community.
Another important issue is the fact that growers provide insufficient and atrocious accommodations for the Mexican workers. Teodoro lives on one floor off with another nine men whose at the same time, work with him in the same greenhouse. It is unethical to provide housing for such amount of people to live like that, like sardines. The local government would need to reinvent the local housing rules with regards to living space. For example, tenants living in my city of Mississauga have been evicted for falsifying the amount of people renting a house or apartment.
Another issue is racism by some of the growers. An owner stated she understands the value of the Mexicans,” she doesn’t care about what they do outside, more important is the productivity of the work, and she thinks people will get used to it too. Labour movement should intervene here in collaboration with the authorities to see the racism issues here. And insist and be hard on those who impose this acts of racism. The other worker who played a significant part in the documentary is Marcos Gasca Navarro. Navarro suffered a left eye injury; he was almost blind because he wasn’t taken to a hospital right away. If he had proper care, he would have saved his eye, but since Navarro wasn’t insured. He lost 80 % of his sight in that eye. If a worker gets sick most of the time, the boss of the greenhouse will send the worker back to Mexico, which demonstrates the lack of care towards an employee and prejudice against the sick. There should be an immediate kit for severe eye injuries and of course supervisors should have taken care of that and call the ambulance.
There is also violence to the employees coming from the supervisors; supervisor’s states that before going back to Mexico they will perish (hand sign for murder). Demonstrating racism they have within them. Issues such as previous mentioned should be taken to the Council to communicate to the police. Another issue is the insecurity that the Mexican worker has when they go out in the streets, there had been stories about how out of nowhere Mexican workers would be violently pushed out of their bikes or when they’re at a bar, or simply by just being walking on the side of the road. Workers should get the help from the local police to address these issues regarding the violent behavior of some people; Mexican workers are helpless in that regard, and they are alone against a whole town. Migrant workers have a very basic necessity to have the essentials workspace and utensils, and chairs. The Mexican Counsel should make arrangements with the owners of the farms to acquire the necessary equipment for the workers, and appliances for the kitchen.
Issues on a mezzo level, involve, institutions, churches, workplaces, schools, and agencies. Mezzo issues entwine with micro and macro issue. The mezzo issue involves he workers coming to Ontario Issues on a mezzo level, involve institutions, churches, workplaces, schools, and agencies. Mezzo issues entwine with the micro and macro point. The mezzo issue relates to the workers coming to Ontario for jobs because of no opportunities within their country. The problem is poor working conditions. It is an embarrassment for province and country on a mezzo and macro level. The principal mezzo issue is not receiving all the benefits atoned a Canadian employee. However, they get taxes taken out of their wages for that reason. Also, they don’t receive the healthcare like us either yet they still pay taxes.
To continue the work is hazardous, they don’t receive the proper healthcare; resulting in severe health problems. The manager has control over their pay and can get them deported back to their country. The problem is that managers don’t treat these employees fairly so if they don’t like one employee they can do with them what they will. The community that these Mexican employees live in doesn’t necessarily like the fact that they are there taking jobs. As a result, they are looked at as “other” and aren’t treated with respect. For example, on the weekends when the Mexican workers do their grocery shopping, the community doesn’t even like to step into the store because they don’t like the fact that the Mexican workers are consuming things in their community. Intervention Strategies. The agency that allows the Mexicans to have a work visa here should have a social worker present when they are at meetings discussing the working conditions of the greenhouses. Only because the ones in charge of this program don’t seem to understand fully or even care about the conditions more than the money.
The community should incorporate celebrations like “Cinco de Mayo” to be more welcoming to the newcomers and eliminate the “us and them” separation. There should be a town talk in which the mayor of that city can address the new arrivals. The organization that brings the workers here should at least bring the families here at least once a year to relieve some stress off the workers. The mezzo solutions involve proper healthcare at the provincial level, government spending on educating the community about the importance of migrant workers, and reduction of taxes paid to the government at the provincial level. On the provincial level, migrant workers should not be taxed.
Canada is a country of immigrants that has required the importance of skilled and unskilled workers to contribute to economic growth. The most discussed immigrants were the Irish, who migrated to North America in the early to mid-nineteenth century. (Toner. Leitch 2008) Irish immigrants worked in lumber camps, farms, and domestic labour. At the beginning of the 20th century, Canada and America witnessed the immigration of Italians doing same menial jobs. We have entered the 21st century, and the important topic about people migrating for work is the Mexican and Caribbean farm labors. The documentary titled El Contrato, states that Mexican migration to Southern Ontario farm belt evolved in the mid-1960s. (El Contrato) Every year between 5000 and 6000 workers converge on the town, to help harvest the tomatoes and vegetables in the greenhouse capital of Canada. The macro issues involve sexual harassment, rape, the safety of the community, the economic factors in respect to the cost and live hood of the community. Other items include the cost transfer and training people in occupational skills from one region to another and Canada moral qualities as a nation.
Most of us have traveled abroad being given the best reception by foreign countries due to the world community understanding that Canada is one of the best countries in regards to human rights. My understanding of the previous statement is the high regards and social cohesion and national identity in being a Canadian. What is a Canadian? In my eyes, a Canadian is man or woman of many colors, religion, and ethnicity. Canada is a multicultural world where the treatment of citizens is essential. Therefore, the treatment of Mexican people is the national disgrace and a world shame. The Leamington, community places the Federal government in a precarious position. Many people who advocate for equality in Canada-they compare, this crisis to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. We have issues faced by federal government. Legitimate concerns for citizens of the community and temporary migrants.
Sexual harassment and rape are not a primary concern of documentary. Research points to evidence that Jamaican migrants have been charged and accused of rape. In the video El Contrato, female citizens complained to a mayor of being groped and the cat called by Mexicans. (El Contrato). The solution on a macro level involves, persecution and in-depth investigation and research of this problem. For example, if the problem is rampant amongst Jamaicans and Mexicans, the solution is looking to other countries for the temporary work contract. Furthermore, the prime minister needs to promote our first Macro policy which is multiculturalism. The government should consider helping workers who show they want to stay in Canada to become citizens. This country built on the blood sweat and tears of migrant work. It is necessary for Canada on Macro level to look at the system implemented in America.
El Contrato the video stated that Mexican paid taxes, but reaped no reward. In Canada, workers who have no benefits, they can claim disability benefits and have their jobs protected. Moreover, injured workers without sufficient benefits, they are protected by WSIB. The labourers pay employment insurance, so they should be entitled to coverage and WSIB. Migrant labour is a vital part of the Canadian economy. The growth of temporary labourers linked to Conservative government preference for preferred immigrants in respect to citizenship. The world is more high tech and the wealthy take advantage of men and women who harvest our foods. The solution is for the federal government to provide more citizenships to the labourer.
The next issue is social agenda. The video showed the workers having no social outlets. They communicated with each other. The government needs to invest on the federal scale the education of citizens and migrant the workers the need for a program. Moreover, at a national level, the government should encourage greenhouse companies to establish grow-ops in Mexico and other regions of migration. Canada deserves a better name as a broker of migrant workers in the Macro level. Too many issues are settled and ignored at the micro level. The federal government should act as the broker and punish the owners of grow ops who abuse rights of the labourer.
Another issue addressed is living conditions. Regulations state, employers, must provide workers with free housing. It is the best interest of the government to find any grow op who does not provide the necessity to living. The video contained issues of dozens of men sharing the same living quarters. The conditions reported were subpar and individual feared to report. The other subpar issue is dangerous conditions of the workers. The documentary showed men losing eyes and death. Migrant workers lack training, on chemicals, the operation of machines. These issues connect to poor education and health issues. Migrant workers get pressured into leaving the country when injured. Surprisingly, the Mexican government supports the owners of farms. It appears that Canada and Mexico have a hidden agenda to produce cheap labour.
In conclusion, Canada is portrayed as the good guy. In reality, we lag behind America in rights for migrant workers. Canada needs to spend money in foreign countries to promote the English language. We need to connect seasonal and agricultural growth to our other policies of equality.
MACRO LEVEL PRESENTING ISSUE – Sexual harassment, rape, the safety of community, the economic factors in respect to the cost and live hood of community. Other issues include the cost transfer and training people in occupational skills from one region to another and Canada ethical qualities as a nation. Canada as a nation.
- Poor understanding of issues by government agencies
- Poor social attitudes by town towards immigrant workers
- Little or no option as country of origin continues to get worse hence limiting the choices available to immigrant workers
- Governmental agencies would rather the immigrant workers remains workers with no prospect of being received as resident or citizen.
- Workers pay taxes and dues without obtaining any benefits in return
- No support from farms union for foreign workers. Union declared illegal and no adequate redress for employees abused
MACRO INTERVENTIONS –
- Supreme Court of Canada. Human Resources skills development page,
- Canadian Immigration and Citizenship.
- (Canada Labour Code 2015)
- (Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program)
- (Federal Employment Insurance)
- (Canada Assistant Plan)
- (Employment and Social Development Canada)