There are about 6,000 seasonal workers from Guatemala in Canada, most in the province of Quebec.

There are about 6,000 seasonal workers from Guatemala in Canada, most in the province of Quebec.
Photo Credit: Jason Kryk/Canadian Press

Foreign workers “disappear” from Canadian farms

“Doing a runner’

Canadian farms hire almost 40,000 foreign workers every year to help with planting and harvesting of crops.

These farm labourers are allowed in to Canada under a special programme called the “temporary foreign worker  (TFW) programme”. and the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP). Workers have no access to permanent residency or citizenship.

However there are restrictions in most cases. The “TFW’s” can work for four years, but then must return to their country. Then they must wait another four years before they can apply to return to work in Canada.

However, the jobs do represent an important source of income for the workers, with most of their earnings sent back to the country of origin to support families.

Every year however, a few decide to “go underground” in order to remain illegally and continue to find work.

This year in Quebec, the number of Guatemalan foreign workers going “off-grid” has been unusually high, with about 100 disappearing. There ar about 4,000 Guatemalan “TFW’s”  in Quebec each year and about 6,OOO across Canada

Two workers this year took off from the farming operation where they worked, leaving a note saying only not to worry about them and not to look for them.

Canadian farming operations say the four year limit hurts them as they have to keep retraining new workers all the time.

It is hard to track the workers once they disappear, but it’s  possible they find low-paid “under the table” work at hotels, restaurants, and manufacturing.

A House of Commons committee submitted a report recommending changes to the TFW programme, including abolishing the four year limit. It is unknown what action the current federal Liberal governemtn will take in regard to the report.

Additional information-sources

Categories: Economy
Tags: , , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

For reasons beyond our control, and for an undetermined period of time, our comment section is now closed. However, our social networks remain open to your contributions.