Foreign workers program needs oversight

Monitor foreign workers program to prevent abuse of the system

As the end of the season approaches for the region’s agriculturalists, news arises of problems surrounding the area’s other transient farm labourers – foreign workers who are in the valley by way of an international agreement.

Even though this group shares common labour, their issues are completely different from those we have been hearing about amongst the Similkameen’s transient Canadian farm labour force.

There is a demand for the foreign labourers, as many farmers find that for the most part, foreign labourers are productive. And, because both parties are under contract, agriculturalists can count on this type of labour for the full growing season – they won’t find themselves short of labour because their workers suddenly decided to pull up stakes and leave town, as some  farmers have experienced with other forms of migratory labour.

In the case of the region’s Mexican workers, of which there are several hundred, it appears that these contract workers are for the most part at the mercy of their employers once they arrive here in B.C. Most of them do not speak English; they have no access to motorized transportation, and rely to a great degree on the ethical character of their employer to treat them according to their contractual obligations while they are here. If their situation is being abused in any way, they seem to have very limited means to get assistance. Fear of being cast as a troublemaker, or of losing their jobs is adding to the problem, as some abuses  apparently go unreported.

The benefits of the foreign agricultural workers program is mutual. If reports of certain abuses within the system are occurring, it is imperative that the parties who are administering the program do some investigating and take corrective measures if necessary. These workers are in a position that could be described as marginalized; we have a duty as a modern, world leading democracy to look out for their welfare while they are here.

There is also the prospect that failure to ensure that contractual obligations are being fulfilled could also be damaging to the nation’s reputation on an international scale.

 

Just Posted

Vehicle smashes sign and cars in Summerland school parking lot

Driver of a Ford Expedition lost control, crashing into two other vehicles

Dangerous driving in Keremeos and Vernon nets jail time

Gary Patrick Richard will serve 73 days in jail for dangerous driving and other offences

Top classic car show cruises back into Penticton

Peach City Beach Cruise runs June 21 to 23 in Penticton

Penticton pharmacy restricted from dispensing opioid treatment drugs

B.C. College of Pharmacists alleges Sunrise Pharmacy dispensed treatment drugs against rules

Historical Red Bridge celebrated in Canada Post heritage stamp series

Keremeos resident remembers bridge as spot to swim half a century ago

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

A Kelowna medical research company needs adults with autism spectrum disorder for a study

Three-hundred-fifty patients worldwide will participate in the study

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

RAMA and Migrants Rights Network supporters protest for enhanced labour rights amongst migrant workers

‘I benefit from people who come and do the work that we can’t find other Canadians to do’

Michael McDonald to play in the Okanagan

The five-time Grammy Award winner has sold out Mission Hill Family Estate Winery

Police probe report of shooting as Raptors rally continues

There were reports of a woman being injured at the event that celebrates the team’s NBA title win

North Okanagan adds wildfire protection

“The important message we would like to get out is that there are actions that people can take to make their homes less susceptible to the threat of wildfires”

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

Most Read