Growing up in the presence of migrant workers has truly opened my eyes to how important they are to Canada’s agricultural industry.
My dad and uncle, who operate and manage the family farming business together, have been employing migrant workers for as long as I can remember. Together, they bring up 20 guys annually, and some of them have been coming for many years. We have one Mexican worker, Salamone, who has been coming to our farm from April until October for 26 years. He has seen my sister and I grow up, has watched the business expand and grow over the years, and honestly, he is like family to us.
I was recently emailed a series of videos, filmed by the Canadian Horticultural Council, that emphasize how important migrant and international workers are to the Canadian economy. There are four videos, each roughly one-minute long, and I highly recommend checking them out:
These videos are a fantastic example of how vital migrant workers are to Canadian farmers and producers. The videos dispell ignorance and myths about offshore labour on Canadian farms, and emphasize the appreciation our farmers have for these people. Many farmers perceive their workers to be a part of their family, and the workers, vice versa.
If you reside in or close to a rural area, and you see migrant workers doing their grocery shopping on a Thursday or Friday night in town, offer them a smile or a wave to show your appreciation for them.
Better yet, tell them.
These people are some of the kindest, most genuine, warmest folks you will likely ever encounter in your life, and they willingly and enthusiastically do the work everyone else refuses to do. They are hard-working, happy, wonderful people, and it’s about time they received some recognition.
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