From inadequate entry to bathrooms to cramped dwelling circumstances, a brand new report that features testimonies from migrant farm staff in Canada paints a bleak image of their housing circumstances.
“We live in circumstances of modern-day slavery,” mentioned one migrant employee, in one of many nameless testimonies included within the report launched by the Migrant Rights Community on Thursday.
“We’ve got no indoor rest room. We’ve got to make use of a transportable rest room exterior or pee in a bottle. No web or tv. No dryer or washer…. It feels worse than if we have been in jail.”
The report, based mostly on suggestions from 453 staff and particular to 330 of them, was assembled in response to the federal authorities’s proposed.
The federal government started consultations final 12 months with stakeholders to determine the bar for employer-provided lodging for the Non permanent Overseas Employee Program.
Along with the testimonies, the report contains surveys and pictures, calls for for change for staff, and requires “dignified” housing for all. It did not identify both the businesses that employed the employees or the place within the nation they have been situated.
The impetus for the report stems from issues over the remedy of short-term international staff in the course of the pandemic. 1000’s of them contracted COVID-19 in 2020, with the Windsor-Essex County Well being Unit repeatedly pointing to congregate dwelling as a giant consider its unfold.
Cramped circumstances, no restricted privateness
One testimony within the report describes as much as 60 individuals sharing one dwelling area, with a rest room and kitchen.
Nevertheless, the report says, about 44 per cent of the time, 5 to 10 individuals shared one home.
Photographs within the report present bunk beds separated by curtains, soiled kitchens and bathrooms. One picture exhibits a ceiling that is falling aside. The report doesn’t determine the place these images have been taken, and CBC has not independently verified the photographs.
Lack of privateness is among the issues highlighted within the report.
“We’re very shut collectively, and the bunk beds are in a poor state and we will not relaxation properly,” one migrant employee described in one other nameless testimony.
The identical employee described not with the ability to go away the farm freely or to have guests, with some wishing their households may be a part of them as properly. Some staff come to Canada for eight months a 12 months, whereas others would possibly keep for 2 or extra years at a time, in line with the report.
Wanting ‘respect and dignity’
The report additionally says almost half of all respondents pointed to area as a key precedence. Many would really like area to have time alone, more room to retailer their private belongings and separate change rooms.
One other testimony famous, “We’re not asking for luxuries in the home, however merely a good area the place we are able to have an eight-month work stick with respect and dignity.”
A 3rd of the respondents referred to as for higher high quality of life, calling for clear ingesting water, air con and scorching water for showers.
“We should not be crammed in tight areas and pressure to work in harmful circumstances, and to be victimized for standing up for our rights,” one employee mentioned in an nameless testimony.
“We as farm staff ought to really feel residence whereas we’re right here and never like we’re in jail.”
The report additionally cited issues round employer management of staff, mentioning surveillance and management over their motion.
Along with the Migrant Rights Community calling for nationwide requirements for dignified housing, it continues to name for full and everlasting immigration standing for all migrant staff.
CBC has reached out to the federal authorities for remark, however has not but heard again.