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About us    

 

The network of assistance to migrant agricultural workers in Quebec (RATTMAQ) was created on January 19, 2017 by the regroupment of six regions of Quebec and with more than a hundred volunteers who offer support services for workers in health and justice services. The support services were previously offered since 2008 by the "Somos Hermanos" project. The RATTMAQ has decided to set up a project to support migrant workers from the federal temporary foreign worker program, in the agricultural and food processing sectors, but not exclusively. Other target groups may also be targeted later.


Statistics Canada in 2016-2017 estimated for Quebec the number of workers in the food processing industry at 10 000 and the number of workers in the agricultural sector at 14 000.


Targeted problem:


First of all, in general, temporary migrant workers are increasing exponentially from year to year in Canada and Quebec in a multitude of work sectors.


The various government programs that govern this form of work generate major obstacles to exercising and respecting their rights, in particular:


• The work permit obtained by these workers binds them to a single employer;
• In some cases, these employers can repatriate to their country of origin without appeal procedures;
• Since 2012, with Bill 8, in Quebec, the right to collective bargaining has been taken away from workers on several farms, which has led to the closure of several services offered by unions.
• Finally, in many cases, workers have an obligation under their employment contract to reside with the employer.

 


If these workers are covered by Quebec labor laws and, theoretically, can benefit from the remedies found there, they are generally not informed of these rights and remedies, and ignore the language and services offered by our institutions. Also, the community organizations that could help them are almost non-existent and those that exist have very little means, are essentially based on volunteering and are unable to meet the demand. They do not even dare to advertise their services, being unable to meet the demand and meet the many needs for help and support. These workers are therefore very vulnerable to the abuse and poor working conditions of some unscrupulous employers.


For example, these workers often have their documents held by the employer including their passport, health insurance card, and sometimes correspondence. On the other hand, many employers avoid reporting accidents at work or occupational diseases so as not to see their premiums increase. In some cases of reported accidents, the Committee on Standards for Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) sends the decision in French and is kept by the employer. Poorly understood instructions are also a significant source of occupational diseases or accidents at work.


On the other hand, what these workers often want more than anything is to be recalled by the employer the following year.  Of course, the more docile they are, the more likely they are to be called back and to avoid being blacklisted, as happened in Mexico in 2012.


In addition, although employers are required to pay contributions to the CNESST, they refuse to declare work accidents or illnesses to avoid having their premiums increase.

 

 

 

 


Therefore, it would be a goal with the implementation of this project to offer information, education, training, referral and advocacy services to these migrant workers, thus offering them access to real justice and respect for their rights. Remember that these people pay the same taxes, levies and social contributions as all Canadians, but hardly benefit from social protection despite the contributions they pay. For example, the parental insurance plan or employment insurance.

Mission

The network of assistance to migrant agricultural workers in Quebec (RATTMAQ) aims to offer support services in matters of immigration, health, education or francization for migrant agricultural workers in the province from Quebec.

The network of assistance to migrant agricultural workers in Quebec (RATTMAQ) aims to defend and promote the interests of migrant agricultural workers in the province of Quebec.

The network of assistance to migrant agricultural workers in Quebec (RATTMAQ) also aims to make migrant agricultural workers aware of their rights, obligations and responsibilities.

The network of assistance to migrant agricultural workers in Quebec (RATTMAQ) aims to represent the economic, environmental, and social interests of agricultural migrant workers, in particular through interventions with various decision-making or advisory bodies, such as the Ministère du Travail du Québec, the Minister of Labor of Canada, the Commission des normes du travail, the commission on occupational health and safety, parliamentary committees of the National Assembly or the House of Commons, through media or again by direct political representations.

The network of assistance to migrant agricultural workers in Quebec (RATTMAQ) also includes an information (awareness) and public education component on the challenges of the agricultural sector in Quebec and these migrant agricultural workers. In order to create and support, among the local population and more broadly, a movement of sympathy, welcome and solidarity with regard to migrant agricultural workers.

The Network of assistance to migrant agricultural workers in Quebec (RATTMAQ) may receive donations, legacies and other similar contributions in money, securities or real estate, administer such donations, legacies and contributions; apply for grants in the programs of the governments of Canada and Quebec; organize fundraising campaigns in order to raise funds for charitable purposes.