VANCOUVER, Jan. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - The Supreme Court of British Columbia has denied a petition by Mexico to quash documentary evidence and testimony that corroborates that the Mexican government blacklisted Mexican migrant workers from returning to Canada because they were suspected of being union sympathizers. The evidence had been presented in 2012, to the BC Labour Relations Board (BCLRB) by UFCW Canada (the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada union) Local 1518.
The BCLRB hearings were stopped in March 2013, awaiting the hearing of Mexico's petition. The petition argued that because Mexico has sovereign immunity, the BCLRB should not have been allowed to receive and consider testimony from former consular officials, along with leaked consular documents and other Mexico files and documentary evidence that overwhelmingly pointed to blacklisting activity.
By striking down the petition, the case and all the evidence now return to the BCLRB.
"Mexico may be immune from sanctions, but the BC Supreme Court decision makes it clear that Mexico can't use sovereign immunity to hide the facts from the labour board," says Ivan Limpright, President of UFCW Canada Local 1518. "The evidence presented to the labour board pointed to blacklisting and collusion between Mexico and the farm where our members work. We are encouraged that the ruling brings the workers closer to justice by opening the way for the labour board to judge what really happened."
Mexico has 30 days to decide whether to appeal today's decision to a higher court, "but the legal stalling by Mexico and the employers will not change the evidence," says Paul Meinema, the National President of UFCW Canada. "The workers know the truth and so does Mexico. Stop the blacklisting and let the labour board finish its business and deliver its decision."
For more background and court documents see www.ufcw.ca/blacklist.
UFCW Canada is the country's leading private-sector union, with more than 250,000 members from coast to coast. In association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada operates AWA agriculture worker support centres across Canada, including AWA centres in Abbottsford, Surrey and Kelowna, BC.
SOURCE: UFCW Canada - National Office
For further information:
Andy Neufeld, Director of Communications
UFCW Canada Local 1518
Stan Raper, National Co-ordinator
Agriculture Workers Alliance