Female migrant farm workers from Latin America and the Caribbean in Canada

FOCAL Policy Brief:

Vulnerabilities of female migrant farm workers from Latin America and the Caribbean in CanadaFRSP

April 2011
Evelyn Encalada Grez

Abstract

Canada’s agricultural sector has relied on temporary foreign workers from Latin America and the Caribbean for more than 40 years. Since 1999, their numbers have tripled. Most  temporary workers on farms are men, but the number of women is on the rise. Both depend on these work opportunities for the livelihoods of their families, yet women rely more heavily than men on this source of income since most are single mothers who have limited access to the labour market in sending countries because of persisting  gender inequalities. In Canada, they endure precarious working and living conditions on the farms and face gender-specific challenges. This policy brief documents this new trend in temporary migration and highlights the vulnerabilities of female workers employed in Canada’s agricultural industry. The analysis is informed by various research projects, observation work and interviews with female migrant farm workers conducted in rural Canada and in sending countries over the past 10 years.

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