I stumbled across an article recently from The Toronto Star that struck a nerve.
I encourage you to take a look at the article, and further to hear me out.
I’m not going to give a complete summation of the articles’ context, but, in short, it discusses yet another instance of foreign temporary workers being mistreated. This time, on a blueberry farm in British Columbia.
As important as it is for situations like these to be addressed, because education in this circumstance is crucial, a few questions come to mind for me personally in regards to this article. Why is a situation in B.C. being reported on in a Toronto-based newspaper? Where was the necessary communication between the workers, their managers, the farmer, and the farm owner(s)?
And, the ultimate question: why is it that the only time temporary foreign farm workers appear in the media, it’s unfortunate news?
I’ve said it before and I will continue to say that situations like these are NOT the norm. I truly cannot stress that enough.
What is unfortunate about articles like these is that they perpetuate ignorance amongst those who read it. People who are unfamiliar with the agricultural industry will read this and assume that this case of mistreatment is what is occurring on any farm with foreign temporary workers, and how very wrong this assumption is.
I question why positive news about foreign workers can’t ever be reported. Yes, as humans, we tend to be more inclined to read negative news than positive, but if this situation can be made public, why can’t more common stories about positive experiences amongst migrant workers be shared?
What happened to the workers on the farm mentioned in the article is unquestionably unacceptable. But, it isn’t common. And I ask you to keep that in mind.