Migrant Farm Workers Ontario News


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Entering 57th year Seasonal worker program essential part of Canada’s ag industry

“It’s a very important program for us. It has enabled our industry to grow and if we did not have access to these workers who do great jobs and want to work here, we could not have large orchards in the apple industry.” So says Cathy McKay, chair of the Ontario Apple Growers and a grower with Nature’s Bounty Farm of Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)

Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association logo

News release – Growers welcome positive findings of Jamaican report into working conditions on Ontario fruit and vegetable farms

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) welcomes the completion of the Jamaican government’s fact-finding report into the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). The report found that a large proportion of Jamaican farm workers have a positive view of SAWP, and the vast majority of Ontario farm employers using the program are operating within its parameters.

Spacious quarters improve lives of temporary foreign workers

Heated floors. Airy living room with big-screen TV. Stainless steel kitchen. These are a few of the favourite things that Victor Lugo and Eduardo Bautista are enjoying in new living quarters. They are temporary foreign workers (TFWs), part of the two-year AgStream program, who took up residence the first week of January 2023 at Meyers Fruit Farms, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Health program expanding to serve hundreds of temporary foreign workers in Chatham-Kent

A program to provide primary health-care outreach to temporary foreign workers in Chatham-Kent will expand to serve hundreds of people thanks to some permanent funding. A primary health-care team with Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres currently provides onsite care to workers at two local farms and learned the interest was there to serve more agricultural operations with temporary foreign workers.

Migrant workers fair in Essex County a success

On Sunday, April 30, 2023, the Migrant Worker Community Program (MWCP) held its Health and Information Fair at the Roma Club in Leamington, Ontario. Each year, approximately 20,000 migrant workers come to live and work in Essex County. According to its organizers, the one-of-a-kind event was a perfect opportunity for migrant workers to mingle and familiarize themselves with the services available in Essex County and gain a greater understanding of the local organizations in the community.

Government programs bring migrant workers to Ontario fruit and vegetable farms

The arrival of freshly picked asparagus in Ontario grocery stores unofficially marks the start of local food season in this province. For about two months starting in early May, asparagus is cut, washed, sorted, graded, packed and shipped daily from Ontario farms - and helping to make all that happen are farm workers like Errol Williams from Jamaica.

male employee smiling for camera in apple orchard

Migrant farm workers arriving in Canada for new growing season

Late March and early April is the arrival every year for many of the international migrant farm workers who come to Ontario through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) so they can begin working on getting orchards and vineyards ready for another year of fruit production.

Bumper crop for apple growers in Norfolk

Norfolk County is overflowing with apples. Nearly two months into the harvest, farmers in one of Ontario’s top apple-growing regions say yields are up 15 to 18 per cent over last year. “We’ve had a really great crop this year,” said Casey Cleaver of Cleaver Orchards, who grows 45 apple varieties on 130 acres near Simcoe.

male migrant worker standing for camera in farm field

Family, friendship, and farms define life for Ontario’s migrant farm workers

Fall harvest season is in full swing on many of Ontario’s fruit and vegetable farms. For migrant farm workers who come to Canada every year as part of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), this means it’s almost time to go home and rejoin their families. t’s a highly anticipated time of year for workers who, while welcoming the opportunities that farm jobs in Canada offer

farm worker picking apples

Foreign agriculture workers key to Norfolk County orchard’s success

Courtney Davis picks apples in Canada, but he established his agricultural roots in Jamaica. His family has grown tomatoes, pumpkins, sweet peppers, yams and bananas on their land for generations, but farms in Jamaica are not as big as the one he works on in Norfolk County. Davis recently shared his experience as an international foreign agricultural worker during Farm and Food Care’s first in-person farm tour since the pandemic began.

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.