Canada hires thousands of migrant farm workers. Why?

September 3, 2020

By Tri-Cities News |

COVID-19 laid bare cracks in the country’s food system. Cracks that run deeper than disrupted supply chains and empty shelves. Cracks that tie together sky-high farm debt, land speculation, and Canada’s reliance on migrant agricultural workers.

To Anelyse Weiler, crops rotting in the fields and alleged violations of migrant workers’ rights are just two sides of the same coin.

That relationship is essential to modern food production in Canada, explained the professor of sociology at the University of Victoria, and one that puts farmers and their foreign employees in difficult positions — but for different reasons.

“The food system has positioned producers, including farmers and farm workers, in a pinch point,” said Weiler.

“It’s one of the expected outcomes of a globalized, capitalist food system. That’s one of the directions that we could predict from the system that we’ve adopted to feed ourselves, and it’s one that we take for granted.”

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