31 July 2014, Colin Perkel, Global News
TORONTO – Allowing Canadian farmers to choose whether they want men or women from Mexico to work for them as seasonal agricultural workers amounts to gender discrimination, a prominent union is arguing.
In a complaint this week, the United Food and Commercial Workers union is calling on the Ontario Human Rights Commission to investigate the situation.
According to the union, women comprise on average less than four per cent of the thousands of migrant agriculture workers who come to Canada each year under the seasonal agricultural workers program.
A similar complaint was made in Quebec earlier this month, and another one will be filed in British Columbia in a few weeks, said union spokesman Stan Raper.
The union wants the rights bodies to review the program’s recruitment and selection process, which allows employers to request workers based on gender.
Named in the Ontario complaint are all farm owners who recruit Mexican farm workers under the seasonal program.