Two decades ago, there were no temporary farm labourers working in British Columbia. Now, more than 10,000 come to the province annually, making up a majority of the workforce on the province’s fruit farms, who say their entire business model would collapse without their labour.
Despite farmers’ dependence on temporary foreign workers, consular officials, advocates and workers themselves say they are too often mistreated by their employers — who almost always double as workers’ landlords.
Many labourers and outreach workers describe cases of employers physically or verbally abusing their employees and housing conditions that are often well below the standard set by senior governments.
If British Columbians are relying on migrant labourers to feed us, what can we do to improve the conditions of their labour? This series seeks answers.
In This Series
BC’s farms rely on migrant labour. But workers and advocates say their working conditions are often unsafe, even abusive.
Inadequate oversight and ALR rules blamed for widespread inadequate housing.
Non-profits have stepped up to provide the supports and connection for workers isolated far from home.
More worker power and better oversight needed to protect the people BC depends on to grow its food.