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Migrant workers speaking out about alleged abuse at NS farms

A woman from Saint Lucia who worked at a strawberry farm in Nova Scotia recently spoke out against alleged verbal and physical abuse while working there.
NOII art
Community members in the Minister of Immigration Sean Fraser’s riding share messages of solidarity with migrants, and in support of full and permanent immigration status for all migrants, during Antigonight 2022

Migrant farm workers are speaking out about unfair treatment at farms in Nova Scotia as rallies for migrant worker rights are happening country-wide today. 

In a news release from No One Is Illegal-Hfx (NOII), a grassroots movement for migrant worker rights, stories of workers from other countries facing abuse while working in this province were recounted.

Latoya Ben, a woman from Saint Lucia who worked at a strawberry farm in Nova Scotia, recently spoke to Saint Lucia media about alleged verbal and physical abuse while working there. 

“The treatment was very disrespectful and very bad. We were working on our knees 24-7. The owner of the farm kicked one of the Saint Lucian ladies and called us hungry dogs,” Ben told DBS Television on Sept. 13, 2022. 

Ben isn't the only worker alleging there was abusive behaviour at local farms in the province.
“They don’t treat us the same way as they would treat a Canadian,” said a Jamaican worker with over 10 years of experience working at apple farms in Nova Scotia.
“These guys are getting away with a lot of stuff, and no one is disciplining them,” he said in the news release.
Stacey Gomez manages the Migrant Workers Program for NOII in Halifax. She says these are not isolated incidents. 
“We regularly receive reports of abuse on farms across the province, and we support migrant workers to know what actions they can take and to take them,” said Gomez.
“We need urgent provincial and federal action to stop the abuse and unfair treatment faced by migrant workers in Nova Scotia and throughout Canada.”
Yesterday evening, on Sept. 17, NOII-Hfx unveiled an art installation while calling for total and permanent immigration status for all migrant workers. 
“Today, thousands of people are expected to rally throughout the country with this demand, in the lead up to Parliament’s return,” the organization stated in a news release. 
“Migrants and migrant-led organizations are calling for status for all migrants to ensure equal access to rights, benefits and essential services for migrants.”

Tyler Dunne

About the Author: Tyler Dunne

Tyler is originally from Newfoundland and Labrador but has lived all over the country. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors, including surfing, camping and paddle boarding, spending time with his partner and cat, and watching the NFL.
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