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Grape King Ben Froese: ‘It’s workers who make this possible’

Ben Froese, a third generation farmer, is the Grape Grower of Ontario’s sixth Grape King. At just 39 years of age, he is operating two farms under the name Willow Lake Ventures, one of which was his father’s, and the other in St. Davids, which he purchased when he decided he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.

female farm worker smiles in greenhouse

Canadian farm jobs can pave the way for permanent residency for migrant workers

When Russian troops moved into the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, Nataliia Buina and her family began looking for a safe country they could move to. They settled on Canada, applying for study permits for Buina’s husband and their two children. Buina herself was accepted into the agricultural stream of the federal Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program and in August 2017, began working at Truly Green Farms in Chatham.

migrant worker holding greenhouse tomatoes

Working in Canada a long-term commitment for many migrant farm workers

When you ask Ontario fruit and vegetable farmers about the international workers they employ, they often mention that many of those workers have been coming to work here for years, even decades. It’s that opportunity to work in Canada, through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) and the agriculture stream of the federal Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program...

Migrant worker standing in a greenhouse

Industry campaign highlights migrant workers’ stories

Each year, over 40,000 migrant workers come to Canada legally to work on farms. Now, a new initiative that’s putting the workers front and centre is shining a spotlight on their stories. More than a Migrant Worker is a website and media campaign supported by the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association in partnership with several commodity groups.

winning soccer team celebrates with trophy

Greenhouse Cup Soccer Tournament

What a weekend it was for greenhouse workers in the Leamington area. The inaugural Greenhouse Cup Tournament put on by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) with support from the Migrant Worker Community Program proved to be an awesome event full of friendly competition and appreciation. The soccer tournament presented a great opportunity to bring […]

A better life is why we come to Canada, say migrant farm workers

There are thousands of migrant workers working on Canadian fruit and vegetable farms. They come from many different countries and some stay only for the season before going home for the winter, whereas others stay year-round. Regardless of their circumstances, though, there’s one thing they all have in common: their motivation for working in Canada is to build a better life for themselves and for their families back home.

male migrant worker standing in orchard, smiling at camera

Program ensures migrant farm workers have same rights, privileges as Canadian workers

It was 2008, the first time Myron Martin came to Canada to work on a Niagara Region tender fruit farm. He’d done some farming in Jamaica, so joining the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) made sense for him – and he’s been returning to the same farm every year since then.

Migrant worker in an orchard picking apples

More opportunities for their families bring migrant farm workers to Canada

The drive to build a better future for his family has been bringing migrant worker Raymond O’Connor to Canada every year for almost a decade. Because of his job on an apple orchard in Norfolk County, the Jamaican construction worker has been able to send his kids to school, build a home for his family, and pay for medical care.

Masked man standing in front of a poster board

Pandemic highlighted the importance of Niagara’s migrant farm workers

When the world shut down in March 2020, Canada quickly realized it couldn’t shut travel down completely. Only days after the borders were closed, the government reversed course for one group of people: migrant farm workers. Despite fears over a new and unknown virus, the labour those workers provided was too important.

Migrant worker in a vegetable greenhouse

Canada is welcoming and offers opportunities for a better life, say migrant workers

Since 2015, Fernando Nieto Rodrigues has been leaving his wife and three children in Mexico every year to work on Canadian fruit and vegetable farms. For the past four years, he’s been at a vegetable greenhouse near Windsor, and although he misses his family, he’s proud that he’s able to provide them with a better life.

Migrant worker standing in a greenhouse

Migrant worker programs a win-win for workers and farmers

Jorge Mario Lopez is like most fathers. He is focused on his family and committed to doing all that he can to provide for his wife, two daughters and three sons. The Guatemalan is also one of more than 40,000 migrant workers who come to Canada legally every year to work on farms.

Female migrant worker Felena Pereira crouches in apple orchard

Women in agriculture face challenges that are both universal and unfamiliar to the rest of us

Migrant workers are extremely important to Canada’s food security and economy. In the September 2021 issue of Chatelaine, meet Felena Pereira, a migrant farm worker from Simcoe, Ontario. Felena has been coming to Schuyler Farms for the past eight years and is now on her way to becoming a Canadian citizen.