Last year, thousands of migrant farmworkers from around the world came to British Columbia to work on farms. However, they are facing challenges when it comes to their rights and fair treatment. A proposed class-action lawsuit has been filed by these workers, claiming that they have had their Charter rights violated.
Unlike Canadian workers, migrant farmworkers have a portion of their pay deducted to cover employment insurance premiums. However, when their contracts are over and they are no longer working, they are unable to claim that money. This has led to a call for justice, as these workers believe they are owed hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
The proposed lawsuit argues that the programs that brought more than 70,000 workers to Canada on temporary visas in 2021 infringe on their Charter rights. These programs force the workers to work for a single employer and contribute to government benefits that they cannot access.
Lawyers representing the workers are seeking up to $500 million in damages for the tens of thousands of migrant workers who have come to Canada in the last 15 years. They are also advocating for policy changes, such as ending “closed” work permits, to improve the current system and protect the rights of these workers.
While the lawsuit has not yet been certified, advocates and observers view it as a significant legal challenge to address the discrimination faced by foreign workers. It is hoped that this legal action will lead to much-needed changes and improvements for migrant farmworkers in British Columbia.
(Note: This article has been modified and rewritten for the OKDAILY website, targeting a younger audience in the Okanagan and Similkameen area of British Columbia, Canada. Text unrelated to the topic has been removed, and the writing tone has been adjusted accordingly.)