UFCW Canada denounces gender-based discrimination against migrant women under Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program

Canada's leading union for migrant farm workers files complaint with Ontario Human Rights Commission

TORONTO, July 29, 2014 /CNW/ - Canada's leading union for migrant farm workers is asking the Ontario Human Rights Commission to open an inquiry into gender-based discrimination practiced by Canadian agribusinesses that employ migrant farm workers under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP).

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada) has filed a complaint with the Commission on behalf of Mexican migrant women, asking the Commission to review the recruitment and selection process of the SAWP. Under the current process, SAWP employers are able to discriminate against migrant women by requesting workers based on their gender.

On average, women comprise less than four percent of the thousands of migrant agriculture workers who come to Canada and participate in the SAWP each year. The Mexican government has contributed to this trend by publicly declaring that, under the current Memorandum of Understanding between Mexico and Canada, SAWP employers have every right to discriminate against migrant agriculture workers based on their gender.

However, the practice of gender-based discrimination in hiring migrant farm workers violates Mexican and Canadian legislation, as well as international treaties on discrimination and equal access to employment. As a result, UFCW Canada is asking the Ontario Human Rights Commission to investigate the SAWP's discriminatory recruitment and selection process.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada) is the country's leading union, representing more than 250,000 workers from coast to coast. For more than a decade, UFCW Canada has been engaged in a continuous struggle to secure the rights of migrant and domestic agriculture workers labouring in Canada. Together with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada operates ten farm worker support centres across the country.

SOURCE United Food and Commercial Workers Canada

For further information: UFCW Canada, Stan Raper, 416-523-0937, stan.raper@ufcw.ca, www.ufcw.ca; UFCW Mexico, Andrea Galvez, 011 52 1 55 31 26 24 21, andrea.galvez@ufcw.mx, www.ufcw.mx