Mexico City – November 13, 2013 – UFCW Canada recently joined Mexican officials from the federal, state and municipal level, as well as human rights institutions, academics and civil society organizations for the National Forum on Migration, Health and Human Rights organized by the Mexican Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and the National Institute for Public Health (INSP). The forum focused on the development of public policy to provide equitable access to health care for all migrants. In his presentation, Raul Plasencia Villanueva, President of the CNDH, insisted on the absolute necessity to promote immediate, integral and coordinated action to protect migrant workers' fundamental rights.
The forum brought together speakers and participants from diverse backgrounds to engage in workshops and seminars on vulnerability, health risks to migrant workers, gender, sexuality, and migration. UFCW Canada participated in a “Migration, Work and Health” workshop, with a presentation on the obstacles hampering guaranteed access to public health services for Mexican seasonal agricultural workers in Canada. The discussion raised some pointed questions about official migrant worker programs and their shortfall in providing community access for migrant workers to mental and physical health services.
For a number of years UFCW Canada has worked with the CNDH to raise awareness about the shortcomings of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) agreement between Mexico and Canada. UFCW Canada is the Canada's leading and most progressive private-sector union, with more than 250,000 members working primarily in the food production and food retail sectors. UFCW Canada, in association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), operates ten agriculture worker support centers across the country.