Profiles

Profiles

Meet the faces behind the Ontario produce on your plate! Each year thousands of migrant farm workers make their way to Ontario to work on fruit and vegetable farms around the province. While for many of them this experience is relatively new, some workers have been returning to Ontario farms for over 20 years! From trumpet players to carpenters, they all have a unique story to share. Click the profiles below to learn more about the women and men who play such an important role on our farms.

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male migrant worker holds phone while smiling for camera

Jorge Mario, Temporary Foreign Worker from Guatemala

I came here for the first time in 2012. I had heard a lot about this program. I met a friend and we talked about the program. He told me that he wasn’t going to travel anymore and if I wanted the opportunity, he would give it to me. He brought me to the office and there, I had to talk about why I wanted to travel.

male migrant worker stands in front of tractor

Alexander, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico

I’ve been coming to Canada for six seasons. I decided to come here because it is an extra option for work.  In our country there is a lot of unemployment and salaries are bad.  Over there, there is not enough money to get a house and to pay for your children’s education.  To have a better life, more than anything, that is why I come here.

Migrant worker standing in a greenhouse

Julio, Temporary Foreign Worker from Guatemala

My name is Julio Polanco.  I am from Guatemala. I came in December 2015 to this greenhouse called Nature Fresh through a foundation in my community.  In Guatemala, there is very little work, it is very scarce and sometimes when there is work it is poorly paid.  In Guatemala I have done a lot of different jobs, from a car battery workshop to a pig farm

female migrant worker holing "More than a Migrant Worker" T-shirt

María Gonzales, Temporary Foreign Worker from Mexico

My name is María Gonzales and I’ve been coming to Canada from Mexico since 2001. I always had the idea in Mexico to come and look for new opportunities and when I heard about the program, I became really excited to come and try it. It was very difficult at first because 20 years ago, this program wasn’t intended for women – only men.

male migrant worker poses for camera while standing in farm field

Salvadore, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico

My name is Salvadore and I’ve been coming to Canada for 20 years. I like the work. I like Canada too. Growing watermelon is hard work. Today, we’re hoeing the fields for the weeds. I think we’ll start picking melons in about three days. When I’m finished working here for the year, I go home to Mexico and my family – my brothers and everyone are there.

male migrant worker smiles for camera in farm field

Eduardo (Pina), Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico

I live close to Toluca, about 45 minutes from Mexico City. My family started to grow and I needed more help and more support for them. That’s why I came here – it provides a little more money for everything and everyone is happier now. It is hard to leave my four children to come here but I like it here. We make good food. I really like making a nice field of vegetables.

male migrant worker smiling for the camera while holding carrots

Baldeo, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Trinidad and Tobago

My name is Baldeo and I’ve been coming to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago for 21 years. I’ve been on this vegetable farm for about 12 years. I arrive the first week of April and leave the first week of December. I have done all types of agricultural work back home and I wanted the opportunity to travel and a way of upgrading myself.

male migrant worker smiling for camera while holding apples

George, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica

I’m George and I’ve been coming from Jamaica for 22 years. I’ve always been working on this same farm. Here, I drive the trucks, prune trees and pick apples. Back home, I grow vegetables like cabbage and tomatoes and raise some goats. We still have that small farm. My wife Olga runs it when I’m here.

male migrant worker smiles for the camera while holding potato plants

Jaime, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico

I come from Chiapas, Mexico. It’s near the Guatemalan border. I’ve been coming to this same farm in Ontario for seven years through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker program. I was having problems finding a job and wasn’t making much money at home so my wife and I talked about me coming here. We have three daughters. Our twins are 22 and our youngest is 10.

male migrant worker kneels in watermelon field, while smiling for camera

Alberto, Seasonal Agriculture Worker from Mexico

I come from Mexico – about two hours from Mexico City - and have been working in Canada for 24 years. I’ve been on this watermelon farm for 20 years. I help with the irrigation. Before harvest, we check the watermelons, check to see that they’re ripe and not hollow inside. I like the work here.  I come here for the money, for my family. It’s good.

Migrant farm worker in front of a tractor

Carlos, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico

For 20 years, I’ve been coming to this squash and watermelon farm from Veracruz, Mexico. Working here means more comforts for my family. It helps with school for my children and food and our house and everything like that. In Mexico, there is not much work. We have a small farm in Mexico that I work on with my father and brother.

male migrant worker crouches in field of crops, while smiling for camera

Antonio (Tony), Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico

I’ve been coming to Canada for 34 years as a Seasonal Agricultural Worker – 30 years on this farm. We grow potatoes, broccoli, cilantro, onions and other things. I like everything. It’s all good. I come here to raise money to support my family. It’s difficult to find jobs in Mexico. I have five children. […]