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Invisible in the Fields: BC's Migrant Farm Workers

Abbottsford migrant workers

With its high concentration of the kind of farming that requires hands-on care -- fruit and fresh veggies instead of fields of grain -- British Columbia agriculture relies on temporary workers. Many are migrant guest workers coming from poorer countries to do the hardest jobs on B.C. farms. Similar seasonal workers in the United States tell tales of near slavery. Are workers here getting the same dirty deal?

Supported by a reader-funded Tyee Fellowship, reporter Justin Langille went out in the fields this past summer to find out. In this series, names and some details are altered to ensure anonymity. With files from Cindy Hugo.

In This Series


Migrant worker phoning home

Invisible in the Fields

Who are BC's guest growers, and what do they need to succeed? First in a Tyee reader-funded series.

By Justin Langille, 9 Feb 2012


Seasonal workers playing soccer

When the Prize Is a Chance to Toil on BC's Farms

The waiting list to work in the fields and hothouses of this province is long. Second in a reader-funded series.

By Justin Langille, 10 Feb 2012



Guest Workers Weigh Risks When Unions Approach

BC farmers fending off organizers have two cards to play: decent conditions, and the power to blacklist workers.

By Justin Langille, 15 Feb 2012


Migrant farm workers, leg shot

Creating Centres for Migrants' Universes

Away from fields, the UFCW finds other ways to connect with temporary farm workers. Its support offices buzz.

By Justin Langille, 16 Feb 2012


Abbottsford migrant workers

To Help Migrants, There's Work to Be Done

We asked BC's temp farm workers what they'd improve. Their answers may surprise. Last in a reader-funded series.

By Justin Langille, 17 Feb 2012

Real Cities Give Their People Places to Pee

Public washrooms should be plentiful and accessible, says one scholar. And cities that do flush, flourish.

By Christopher Cheung