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UFCW Canada and the AWA recently participated in an outreach program and Health Fair to improve and increase access to health care services for Asian temporary foreign agriculture workers in Ontario, as part of the Asian Migrant Farm Workers’ Health Promotion Project.
More than 80 Asian migrant agriculture workers attended the Health Fair, held at a Toronto-area community centre. The fair provided food, cultural performances, as well as health, wellness and workplace information from a variety of organizations, including the Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS), a non-profit, community-based agency which provides HIV/AIDS support and prevention service to the East and Southeast Asian communities in Ontario.
Workplace safety and labour rights were also on the agenda, as UFCW Canada national representative, Alex Banaag, together with AWA representative Peter Barillas presented an information seminar about UFCW Canada; the AWA worker support centres and the services offered; and a presentation on 2011 UFCW Canada Migrant Workers Scholarships program.
"The language barrier and a lack of basic orientation services are big obstacles for Asian temporary foreign workers," says Brother Banaag. "The government's Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program doesn't supply the workers any help with these problems, so events like the Health Fair are important in reaching out to workers whose rights, health and safety are ignored by employers and the government."