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.
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
they will be restricting their foreign workers' access to local
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
Call to Action: Call or email Bylands, Coral
Beach, and Jealous Fruits.
information on contact information for these employers and government
officials and tips on what to say, visit the RAMA website here.
This article was published in
Number 54 - August 13, 2020
Take Immediate Action to Stop the Forced Isolation of Foreign Farm Workers - Radical Action with
Migrants in Agriculture