Take Immediate Action to Stop the Forced Isolation of Foreign Farm Workers

In early July, Erika Zavala and Jesus Molina, two Mexican temporary foreign workers were fired by Bylands Nurseries in West Kelowna and repatriated three days later. They were fired because they violated their employer's policy not to leave the farm site or have visitors even though they were not in their 2 weeks of quarantine. They were visited by two members of RAMA who brought them clothing and culturally-appropriate food while following all recommended physical distancing guidelines as outlined by the province of BC.

Bylands Farms is not the only employer of SAWP workers that is restricting the ability of migrant workers to have visitors and access communities to purchase essential items or access essential services. Some of the largest employers of SAWP workers in the Okanagan (such as Coral Beach Farms and Jealous Fruits) have stated publicly that they will be restricting their foreign workers' access to local communities.

Workers from Coral Beach and Jealous Fruits have been in contact with RAMA members and other community advocates expressing that they feel they are being illegally held on the farm without any access to local communities. "We feel like prisoners", one worker told RAMA, "Canadians are allowed to go buy groceries at the store, go to church, go to the park -- why aren't we?"

The forced isolation of temporary foreign farmworkers after their quarantine period by employers such as Bylands, Jealous Fruits, and Coral Beach must be stopped immediately. These racist and discriminatory actions violate the human rights of these essential workers and is detrimental to their health and wellbeing as well as that of the local communities as they erect barriers for workers to report symptoms directly to health care personnel and access supports from local communities.

Call to Action: Call or email Bylands, Coral Beach, and Jealous Fruits.[1]


1. For information on contact information for these employers and government officials and tips on what to say, visit the RAMA website here.

(July 28, 2020)

This article was published in

Number 54 - August 13, 2020

Article Link:
Take Immediate Action to Stop the Forced Isolation of Foreign Farm Workers - Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture


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