Oaxaca’s government and UFCW Canada sign agreement to protect Mexican migrant workers in Canada


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Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico - January 16, 2012 — Migrant workers from the Mexican state of Oaxaca traveling to Canada will receive better protection this 2012 season after the signing of an agreement between the Instituto Oaxaqueno de Atencion a Migrantes (IOAM) and UFCW Canada.

On January 16,  Wayne Hanley, National President of UFCW Canada, and Rufino Dominguez, Director of the IOAM signed a co-operation agreement to protect and assist Oaxacan migrants working temporarily in Canada. The agreement addresses issues of human rights, labor rights and social security, proposing a framework for transnational cooperation.

“Mexican migrant workers make an enormous contribution to the Canadian society and economy,” says National President Hanley. “This must be acknowledged and we look forward to working with Mexican institutions to improve the living and working conditions of Mexican migrant workers in Canada."

UFCW Canada and the IOAM will collaborate to increase the level of protection of Oaxacan migrants before, during and after their stay in Canada. From now on, Oaxacan workers will be assisted in Canada through the network of 10 agriculture worker support centers operated by UFCW Canada in association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA).

The centres offer Spanish-speaking staff who deal with legal support services and training in human rights, labor rights, housing and health and safety problems. Services also include a toll-free telephone assistance number from anywhere in Canada and Mexico, both for workers and their families.

Meanwhile, the IOAM will benefit from workshops offered by UFCW Canada to insure workers receive proper information about their rights. The plan of action will therefore focus not only on legal assistance, but also on prevention, information, and training of migrant workers. The program will also will help the migrant workers access Canadian legal benefits to which they are entitled.

The IOAM consolidates its commitment to the people of Oaxaca, actively developing policies to protect its citizens abroad. Other actors who have joined this international cooperation strategy with UFCW Canada include the governments of Michoacan, Tlaxcala and Distrito Federal, as well as two of the biggest agricultural workers labour federations. In this spirit of cooperation, the federal temporary worker programs will continue to be an important link for labour between Mexico and Canada, and these cooperation partnerships will strengthen the programs by involving all the strategic partners to ensure the workers' experience is fair, safe and productive.