After reading your Dec. 8 news story “Mexican workers accuse Canadian farmers of mistreatment” and editorial “Do the right thing for seasonal workers,” I wanted to shine light on the fact that not all farmers can be put in the same category.
At Lament Farms on York Road, we have employed seasonal agricultural workers from Mexico since 2011.
When our workers arrive in March, I feel like company has just arrived from out of town and I need to make sure they are well-kept and taken care of.
Our facilities are inspected yearly by public health and our workers are housed in an air-conditioned, four-bedroom, two-storey house with laundry facilities in the basement.
This includes a working washer and dryer at no cost to the worker other than a programmed, preset cost of $2.39 per working day for utilities, if they work for more than four hours in that day.
Last year we renovated the kitchen and two bathrooms for them. They each have their own bedroom. We drive them every Thursday to the bank and to get groceries.
When they need a ride on a Sunday to go to the mall, they message me and I give them a ride.
When they need ointment for a cut, I run it over to them. When their fridge stops working, we fix it. When the toilet plugs up, we fix it.
I’ll surprise them with a pizza or cooked chicken, just so they don’t have to cook after a long, hot July day.
I also feel like it’s a landlord/tenant situation in some ways but without the rent money. They show up every day and get the job done. Would Canadian workers do that if housing were included?
My point is that we treat our workers with respect and hope in return that they will do the same.
Not every one is a hard worker. Some try to get the group to slow down a bit.
Bottom line is that we need these workers and they need us too.
Most Canadians won’t work in the farm fields and because of that we need to house these workers and make sure their needs are taken care of for eight months.
If a worker isn’t happy at a farm he doesn’t have to return to the same farm and vice versa.
If we add a new worker to the group and he’s not keeping up with the other workers, then it’s not fair to the others when they’re making the same wage.
Some farmers may not be a mother hen to their workers but I think that most are good apples.