Transcript: Ep 4 - Migrant Labour | Feb 09, 2021

(music plays)

Against a black screen, a caption reads "TVO Original."

A Female Narrator says FOR DECADES,
CANADA HAS DEPENDED ON
MIGRANT WORKERS
TO HARVEST ITS CROPS,
STEPPING INTO JOBS NO LONGER
DESIRED BY CANADIANS.
ALTHOUGH CRITICISMS
OF MIGRANT LABOUR PROGRAMS
HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE PAST,
THE COVID-19 CRISIS
AND THE DEATHS OF GUEST WORKERS
HAS FOCUSED ATTENTION
ON SYSTEMIC PROBLEMS.

Pictures of people protesting appear.

She continues WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE
TO PROTECT
THE WELL-BEING
OF MIGRANT WORKERS,
AND IS THERE POLITICAL WILL
TO FINALLY DO SOMETHING
ABOUT IT?
OUR EXPERIMENT
PLAYS POLITICAL CUPID
BY TAKING
TWO OPPOSING POLITICIANS
OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE...

A man in his late forties with a blue polo-shirt says SOMETHING'S
GOT TO CHANGE
TO MAKE LIVES BETTER
FOR THESE MIGRANT WORKERS.

The Narrator says AND FORCES THEM TO LISTEN
TO ONE ANOTHER.

A middle-aged man driving a car says THE REALITY IS THAT CANADIANS
DON'T WANT TO DO THE WORK.

The Narrator says WE'RE SENDING THEM ON A SERIES
OF PLATONIC DATES
TO SOLVE THE THORNIEST ISSUES
FACING CANADIANS.

A woman in her early thirties says THERE ARE WORKERS THAT STILL
DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH FOOD.

The Narrator says WHO WILL SEDUCE THE OTHER
WITH LOGIC
OR PASSION,
AND WHAT SURPRISES
ARE IN STORE?

(theme music plays(
An animated agenda appears. A red circle and a line highlight different appointments. A notification on a cell phone reads "Coffee date at 15:30." A red circle marks a spot on a map.

The Narrator says THIS IS
POLITICAL BLIND DATE.

A caption reads "The players. Taras Natyshak. Job: NDP MPP. Location: Essex, Ontario. Age: 42. Taras believes that Canada's migrant labour programs should give workers a clear path to citizenship and the right to unionize."

Taras has short blond hair and is clean-shaven. He wears a blue polar-shirt and blue jeans.

The caption changes to "Dave Epp. Job: Conservative MP. Location: Chatham Kent Leamington, Ontario. Age: 58. Dave believes that the agricultural industry should take the lead in finding solutions for problems associated with migrant worker programs."

Dave is clean-shaven with graying hair. He wears a patterned blue polo-shirt.

Dave says I'M DAVE EPP, AND I'M
THE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT,
I HAVE THE HONOUR
AND THE PRIVILEGE OF SERVING
CHATHAM-KENT-LEAMINGTON,
JUST NORTH OF THE 42ND PARALLEL.
I WAS BORN IN LEAMINGTON,
AND I GREW UP INTO
A FAMILY FARM SETTING.
SO, I NOW LIVE,
TOGETHER WITH MY WIFE,
AS A THIRD GENERATION
ON OUR HOME FARM.
AND SO, MY ROLE MODELS
GROWING UP AS A YOUNGSTER
WERE OBVIOUSLY MY FATHER
AND MY MOTHER.
THEY BOTH WORKED IN
THE FAMILY OPERATION.
WITH MY SIBLINGS,
AS YOUNG CHILDREN
WE WOULD PLAY,
BUT BEFORE WE'D PLAY
WE HAD TO PICK THE NUMBER
OF BUSHELS OF TOMATOES
EQUAL TO OUR AGE,
AND THEN WE COULD GO PLAY
FOR THE REST OF THE DAY.

Pictures of Dave's family and childhood years appear.

The caption changes to "Dave earned a degree in Biblical and Theological Studies at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg."

He continues SO, I CAME BACK HOME
AND DECIDED TO FARM.
WHAT MY PARENTS INSTILLED IN US
IS A WORK ETHIC, BUT ALSO
A SENSE OF GIVING BACK,
A SENSE OF SERVICE.

The caption changes to "Dave has represented the local agricultural community in several organizations."

He continues MY ADULT CAREER, I'VE ALSO HAD
THE OPPORTUNITY TO REPRESENT
MY PEERS IN AGRICULTURE.
I'VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY
TO SERVE IN
SOME PROVINCIAL ORGANIZATIONS.
AND I'VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY
TO SERVE MY MUNICIPALITY
AND THE PROVINCE.

The caption changes to "Dave was elected as an MP in 2019."

He continues AS AGRICULTURE HAS CHANGED,
AS SMALLER FAMILY FARMS
HAVE GROWN,
THESE GUEST WORKERS
HAVE REPLACED
THE UNPAID FAMILY LABOUR.
THE PANDEMIC HAS EXPOSED
THE WEAKNESSES IN THAT SYSTEM
HERE LOCALLY, JUST AS
THE PANDEMIC HAS EXPOSED CRACKS
IN OTHER SETTINGS
WHERE CONGREGATE LIVING
TAKES PLACE.
SO, WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT
HOW WE CAN SAFELY CONTINUE
TO PRODUCE
AN ESSENTIAL INDUSTRY
WITH GUEST WORKERS.

Taras says MY NAME IS TARAS NATYSHAK.
I AM THE MEMBER OF PROVINCIAL
PARLIAMENT FOR ESSEX.
I WAS BORN IN WINDSOR, ONTARIO.
MY MOM AND DAD,
BOTH BLUE-COLLAR WORKERS
AND ALSO,
ARDENT LABOUR RIGHTS ACTIVISTS.
IT WASN'T, UH, FOREIGN TO ME
TO BE IN THE MIDDLE OF,
YOU KNOW, A LABOUR DISPUTE
OR A FIGHT FOR FAIRNESS
FOR WORKERS
AND PROTECTIONS FOR WORKERS,
EVEN AT A YOUNG AGE.

The caption changes to "Taras receives a degree in Political Science and Labour Studies from the University of Windsor."

Taras continues I HAD THE ABILITY
TO PUT THIS BIG BODY TO WORK
IN THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR.
IF YOU EVER WANTED TO FIND A JOB
THAT, UH,
YOU KNOW, SHOWCASED THE MEANING
OF HARD WORK, THAT'S IT.

The caption changes to "Taras served as the Director of Training for the Laborers' International Union of North America."

He continues AN OPPORTUNITY TO BRING SORT OF
THE LEGISLATIVE KNOWLEDGE
THAT I KIND OF HAD
AND THE LABOUR KNOWLEDGE
AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF
THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR TOGETHER
TO BRING NEW WORKERS
INTO THE INDUSTRY
AND TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY HAD
ALL THE SKILLS AND THE TRAINING
SO THAT THEY WERE SAFE,
AND THAT THEY HAD ALL THEIR...
THEY KNEW THEIR RIGHTS.

A picture shows Taras holding a baby and smiling next to a man that is applauding.

The caption changes to "Taras was elected to the Ontario legislature in 2011."

He continues THE WORKING CONDITIONS AROUND
MIGRANT WORKERS IN ONTARIO
HASN'T BEEN A SECRET,
BUT IT HASN'T BEEN AN ISSUE
THAT PEOPLE
HAVE BEEN WILLING TO TALK ABOUT
IN THE OPEN.
BUT NOW, WE HAVE CUT THROUGH
ALL THAT,
AND WE HAVE TO REALIZE
THAT CHANGES HAVE TO BE MADE.
WE CAN DO BETTER.
WE HAVE TO TO BETTER.
AND IT'S INCUMBENT UPON US
AS ELECTED OFFICIALS
TO HAVE THOSE DISCUSSIONS
AND TO PUT FORWARD SOLUTIONS.
AND I'M GUILTY OF
NOT TALKING ABOUT THEM BEFORE,
AND THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS
I'VE AGREED TO DO THIS
AND TO MEET WITH DAVE,
AND TO TALK WITH PEOPLE
WHO ARE IN THE...
YOU KNOW, ON THE GROUND,
AND FIND OUT
WHERE WE CAN MOVE FORWARD
TO PROTECT EVERYONE.

(soft music plays)
The caption changes to "The Issue."

The Narrator says CANADIAN INDUSTRIES,
ESPECIALLY AGRICULTURE,
DEPEND ON THE FEDERAL TEMPORARY
FOREIGN WORKER PROGRAM
THAT ALLOWS EMPLOYERS TO HIRE
FOREIGN NATIONALS.
BETWEEN 2006 AND 2014,
MORE THAN
HALF A MILLION WORKERS
WERE BROUGHT INTO CANADA.
MANY OF THESE
WERE AGRICULTURAL WORKERS
HEADED FOR FARMS
IN SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO,
WHERE NORTH AMERICA'S
LARGEST GREENHOUSE OPERATIONS
ARE FOUND.
DURING THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF
THE COVID-19 CRISIS,
MORE THAN 700 FOREIGN WORKERS
WERE DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19
IN THE WINDSOR-ESSEX AREA
OF ONTARIO.
TWO OF THEM DIED IN HOSPITAL.
CRITICS POINT OUT THAT
THE OUTBREAKS ON FARMS
EXPOSED THE STRUCTURAL
WEAKNESSES IN THE SYSTEM,
WHERE WORKERS HAVE FEW RIGHTS
AND LIMITED ACCESS
TO SERVICES.
SOME MIGRANT WORKERS SAY
THEY ARE BEING
ECONOMICALLY EXPLOITED,
CLAIMING WAGE THEFT,
ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT FEES
AND EXPLOITATIVE
VISA CONDITIONS.

A person wears a pink mask that reads "15 dollars."

The Narrator says THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY ADMITS
THERE MAY BE
SOME BAD APPLES
WHO EXPLOIT WORKERS,
AND THEY WANT TO WEED THEM OUT.
BUT HOW TO DO IT?
THE RESPONSIBILITY
FOR THE TEMPORARY
FOREIGN WORKER PROGRAM
FALLS TO
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT,
BUT HEALTH AND SAFETY
INSPECTIONS
FALL TO THE PROVINCE.
HOUSING RESTS WITH
THE LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES.
CAN THE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF
GOVERNMENT WORK TOGETHER
TO SOLVE THE SERIES THREAT
TO THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
OF THE WORKERS
THAT FEED US ALL?

The caption changes to "The Hook-up."

The Narrator continues TARAS AND DAVE ARE SPENDING
THE DAY TOGETHER,
RARE FOR RIVAL POLITICIANS.
WILL THEY BUTT HEADS,
OR MIGHT THEY FIND
COMMON GROUND?

Driving a car, Dave says I NEVER HAVE BEEN ON
A BLIND DATE
IN MY LIFE IN THE PAST.
AND SO, THIS IS
A NEW EXPERIENCE FOR ME.

Taras says THIS IS NOT ONLY A BLIND DATE,
WHICH IS NERVE-RACKING
IN ANY TIME,
BUT HOW'S A BLIND DATE
DURING A PANDEMIC?
I DON'T KNOW IF THAT'LL BRING US
CLOSER TOGETHER
OR PUT US FURTHER APART.

Dave says YOU KNOW, FROM WHAT YOU READ
IN THE PRESS,
THAT HE CAN BE A BIT FIERY.
BUT YOU KNOW, I'M LOOKING
FORWARD TO MEETING HIM.

Taras says I DON'T KNOW WHAT DAVE FEELS
ABOUT UNIONIZATION
AND THE RIGHTS FOR WORKERS
TO FORM A UNION
OR BE A PART OF A UNION,
BUT I THINK THAT THAT WOULD BE
ONE KEY ELEMENT
THAT COULD GIVE WORKERS
THE PROTECTIONS
THAT THEY NEED AT WORK.

Dave says THIS IS NOT
JUST A FEDERAL ISSUE,
NOT JUST A PROVINCIAL ISSUE,
AND NOT JUST A MUNICIPAL ISSUE.

Taras says MAYBE THIS IS THE START OF IT.
MAYBE THIS IS THE CATALYST
TO ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT
REALIZING THAT FOOD PRODUCTION
REMAINS A VITAL COMPONENT
OF OUR COUNTRY,
AND AT THE SAME TIME,
WE CAN PROTECT THE WORKERS
THAT WE RELY SO HEAVILY ON
TO PRODUCE THAT FOOD.

Sitting at a bar terrace, Taras says THERE HE IS.
NICE TO SEE YOU YOU,
MAN.

They greet touching their elbows.

Dave says NICE TO SEE YOU,
SIR.

Taras says THANK YOU SO MUCH
FOR DOING THIS WITH ME.
SO, YOUR FAMILY BACKGROUND
IS IN AGRICULTURE?
YOU GUYS ARE FARMERS?

Dave says YEAH. I LIVE ON THE HOME FARM
THAT MY GRANDFATHER BOUGHT
AFTER YEARS
AS A SHARECROPPER.

Taras says OKAY.

Dave says HE CAME TO THIS COUNTRY
IN THE 1920S.

Taras says FROM?

Dave says ALL OF MY GRANDPARENTS.
FROM SOUTHERN UKRAINE.

Taras says WHOA.

Dave says FROM SOUTHERN
UKRAINE, YES.

Taras says WE SHARE THAT
SAME BACKGROUND.

Dave says WE STARTED IN THE DIRT
OF UKRAINE. THEN, TOGETHER...

Taras says YEAH.

Dave says YOU KNOW, I THINK
THERE'S A MYTH OUT THERE
THAT, YOU KNOW,
OUR GUEST WORKERS
HAVE COME TO THIS COUNTRY
AND HAVE TAKEN JOBS
AWAY FROM CANADIANS.
AND THAT REALLY IS
A MYTH.
WHAT THEY'VE DONE IS
THEY'VE REPLACED,
AS FARMS
HAVE GROWN BIGGER,
THEY'VE REPLACED THE LABOUR
THAT MYSELF, MY BROTHER
AND MY FAMILY AND
OTHER FARM FAMILIES DID
AS FARMS GOT LARGER.

Taras says YEAH.
IF IT IS THAT IMPORTANT...
AND I AGREE THAT IT IS...
IF IT IS ESSENTIAL AND VITAL
TO OUR FOOD SECURITY
AND OUR FOOD SOVEREIGNTY,
LET'S GIVE THEM
THE SAME BENEFITS
THAT POTENTIALLY
OUR ANCESTORS GOT
IN TERMS OF SETTLING HERE,
AND THE ABILITY TO LIVE
A GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE
AND BECOME AN INTEGRAL PART OF
THAT CANADIAN MOSAIC
AND THAT FABRIC.
LET'S MAKE SURE THAT
THEY'RE PROTECTED.

Dave says THERE SHOULD NOT BE A DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN A CANADIAN WORKER
AND A GUEST WORKER.

Taras says I LIKE YOU A LOT ALREADY.
I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD EVER
DATE A CONSERVATIVE.
THIS IS AMAZING.

Dave says BUT YOU KNOW, I THINK
WE'RE GOING TO AGREE A LOT
ON THE "WHAT."

Taras says SURE.

Dave says HOW ARE WE
GOING TO GET THERE?

Taras says I THINK WE'RE GOING TO TAKE
OUR TRUCKS.

Dave says I THINK...
YOU KNOW, I NOTICE WE'RE
BOTH DRIVING TRUCKS TODAY.

Taras says YOU'RE DRIVING A FORD, THOUGH.

Dave says YES, AND A RED FORD,
NO LESS.

Taras laughs.

Dave says THAT'S BECAUSE
THEY DON'T OWN THE COLOUR.

They chuckle.

Taras says THAT'S AWESOME.
LET'S HIT THE ROAD.

The caption changes to "Taras's date."

Taras says HEY, DAVE? I'M GOING TO ASK YOU
A REAL STRAIGHTFORWARD QUESTION.
WHAT IS IT THAT COMPELS
THE AGRICULTURE SECTORS
TO RELY SO HEAVILY ON THE
ROUGHLY 60,000 MIGRANT WORKERS
THAT COME TO CANADA EVERY YEAR?
WHAT'S THE REASON?

They drive their cars wearing earphones to talk to each other.

Dave says SO, EVEN PRIOR TO
THE PANDEMIC-- YEAH.
59,000 OR 60,000 WERE THE NUMBER
OF GUEST WORKERS
COMING INTO CANADA, AND THAT WAS
ACTUALLY 15,000 TO 20,000 SHORT
OF WHAT THE INDUSTRY
REALLY NEEDS.

Taras says YEAH.

Dave says WHEN THERE WAS LABOUR SHORTAGES,
MUCH HIGHER WAGES WERE OFFERED
AS AN EXPERIMENT.
THE REALITY IS THAT CANADIANS
DON'T WANT TO DO THE WORK.

The Narrator says TARAS WANTS DAVE TO MEET
SOMEONE THAT IS TRYING
TO TAKE CARE OF
THE BASIC NEEDS
OF TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKERS.

The caption changes to "Elizabeth Ha. Organizer, Justice for Migrant Workers." She is in her early thirties, with long curly black hair. She wears a pale blue T-shirt.

Elizabeth says JUSTICE FOR MIGRANT WORKERS,
WE'VE BEEN IN THE COMMUNITY
FOR A LONG TIME,
FOR ALMOST 20 YEARS.
SO, WE HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP
WITH THE WORKERS.
WE GET CALLS FROM THEM
ALL THE TIME
REGARDING CONCERNS,
AND WE'VE
ALWAYS BEEN THERE,
SO WE HAVE THAT TRUST.
SINCE THE WHOLE PANDEMIC
HAPPENED, RIGHT...

Dave says PANDEMIC. YES...

She continues ONE OF THE MAIN THINGS
IS THE WORKERS THAT ARE
IN QUARANTINE,
THEY WERE NOT
BEING PROVIDED ENOUGH FOOD.
THE COMMUNITY RECOGNIZED
WHAT'S HAPPENING.
PEOPLE STARTED TO DONATE,
COLLECT CANNED GOODS AND FOOD,
AND WE STARTED
PACKING THEM UP.
AND WOULD JUST GO TO
THESE PLACES
WHERE THE WORKERS
WERE QUARANTINED,
AND WE'D LEAVE THE BOXES
FOR THEM.

Dave says IF THERE ARE STILL WORKERS
NOT GETTING FOOD,
I OBVIOUSLY WANT TO KNOW
ABOUT THAT.

Elizabeth says I'M GOING TO TELL YOU
VERY HONESTLY,
THERE ARE WORKERS THAT
STILL DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH FOOD.

Dave says WELL, LET ME JUST SAY,
FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE
TO THE COMMUNITY.
THANK YOU
FOR THE SERVICE FOR THE WORKERS.
AND ABSOLUTELY,
AS THIS PANDEMIC UNFOLDS,
WE ALL HAVE THINGS
TO LEARN.

Taras says DAVE IS A WISE INDIVIDUAL,
AND I KNEW THAT
HE WOULD BE ABLE TO
QUICKLY ASCERTAIN
WHAT THE MESSAGE WAS THERE.
AND THE MESSAGE WAS THAT
WE STILL HAVE A PROBLEM HERE.

Elizabeth says WHEN THE WORKERS
WERE COMING IN,
THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE
QUARANTINED FOR 14 DAYS.

Dave says RIGHT.

Elizabeth says IF YOU WERE A FARMER,
YOU WERE ABLE TO APPLY
TO GET MONEY
TO QUARANTINE
YOUR WORKERS.
I WAS TOLD
A LOT OF THE WORKERS,
THEY WERE NOT
BEING QUARANTINED.
SO, THEY WERE QUARANTINED
FOR THREE DAYS, FIVE DAYS,
AND THEY WERE TOLD,
"YOU KNOW WHAT?
YOU'RE GOOD TO GO."

Dave says THAT'S NOT SOMETHING
I WOULD EVER SUPPORT,
AND UNDER THE PROGRAMS,
UNDER THE TEMPORARY
FOREIGN WORKER PROGRAM,
UNDER THE
SEASONAL EGG PROGRAM,
THOSE WERE
PROGRAM CRITERIA.

Elizabeth says RIGHT.

Dave continues AND SO, IF THERE'S
ABUSES THERE,
THAT NEEDS TO BE
ADDRESSED.

Elizabeth says WHEN WE'RE ENFORCING
THOSE THINGS,
WE ALSO HAVE TO LOOK AT,
YOU KNOW,
HOW ARE YOU
ENFORCING THEM, RIGHT?
IF YOU'RE GIVING A FARMER,
YOU KNOW,
THE MONEY TO QUARANTINE
AND THEY'RE NOT DOING IT,
WHO'S ACTUALLY
HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE?

Dave says YES. MM-HMM.

Elizabeth says LIKE, WHAT IS IN
OUR LEGISLATION
THAT ACTUALLY SAYS THAT
THEY HAVE TO DO IT?
BECAUSE AT THIS POINT,
WE'RE SEEING THAT
THEY'RE POCKETING
THE MONEY.

Dave says IF THERE ARE ABUSES
THAT ARE HAPPENING,
YOU'RE NOT GOING TO SEE,
I THINK, ANY PUBLIC OFFICIAL
CONDONE THAT.

Taras says SURE. YEAH.

Dave says AND CERTAINLY,
THIS BLUE FELLOW WON'T, OKAY?
THROW THE BOOK AT THEM.
AND AGAIN, I WOULD CALL INDUSTRY
TO HELP SUPPORT
THROWING THE BOOK AT ABUSERS.

Taras says YEAH.

Dave says BECAUSE THEN, YOU LEAD TO
THE WIDE BRUSH BEING PAINTED
ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE INDUSTRY.
BUT YOU KNOW, THERE IS A PLACE
FOR GOVERNMENT
IF INDUSTRY WON'T DO THAT.
IT FULLY REINFORCED THAT
THERE ARE INSTANCES
WHERE WE HAVE TO DO BETTER.
BUT THAT IS NOT TYPICAL
OF THIS INDUSTRY.

Taras says YOU KNOW, ELIZABETH HA
IS CERTAINLY AN ACTIVIST,
AND YOU'LL FIND HER IN A FIGHT
FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
ANYWHERE IN ONTARIO.
BUT SHE WOULD RATHER NOT BE
DOING THIS,
AND THOSE VOLUNTEERS WOULD
RATHER NOT BE SEWING MASKS
FOR MIGRANT WORKERS.
BUT THERE IS A NEED, AND THERE
CONTINUES TO STILL BE A NEED.
IT PUTS AN EMPHASIS
ON THE FACT THAT
THERE'S STILL A LOT MORE WORK
TO DO,
AND PEOPLE WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY
WE WOULD THINK IT IS
TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR WORKERS
STILL AREN'T DOING IT.

Dave and Taras pack food in boxes.

Dave says THANKS, ELIZABETH.

Elizabeth says THANK YOU SO MUCH.

The Narrator says TO END HIS DATE,
TARAS WANTS DAVE TO MEET
A MIGRANT WORKER
AND A LOCAL UNION LEADER
WORKING TO HELP PROTECT
BOTH LEGAL AND UNDOCUMENTED
MIGRANT WORKERS.

Standing in the street, Taras says WE'RE HERE TO LEARN
AND HERE TO LISTEN.
DAVE AND I
ARE BOTH CONCERNED
AND ALSO COMMITTED TO
TRYING TO MAKE LIFE BETTER
FOR THE MIGRANT WORKERS
IN OUR COMMUNITY
AND IN CANADA.

Dave says I'M INTERESTED IN HEARING
YOUR STORY.

The caption changes to "Xochitl Martinez. Mexican migrant worker." Xochitl is in her thirties, with long straight black hair. She wears sunglasses on her head and a shoulderless floral shirt.

In Spanish, Xochitl says I HAD TO COME TO CANADA
BECAUSE I'M A SINGLE MOM
OF THREE AND NEEDED
TO SUPPORT MY FAMILY.
THE LACK OF SECURITY FOR
A WOMAN IS A BIG ISSUE
IN MEXICO, AND I DIDN'T FEEL SAFE THERE.

Taras says HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE
WHEN YOU CAME TO CANADA?

Xochitl says WHEN I ARRIVED HERE,
I REALIZED IT WOULDN'T BE EASY
BECAUSE I NEEDED A WORK PERMIT.

Dave says SO, DID YOU COME THROUGH
THE TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKER
PROGRAM
OR THE SEASONAL PROGRAM,
OR HOW DID YOU COME TO CANADA?

Xochitl says I CAME HERE AS A TOURIST
LOOKING FOR WORK OPPORTUNITIES.
WHEN I ARRIVED, I MET AN EMPLOYER
WHO BEGAN TO EXPLOIT ME.
I BEGAN THE PROCESS TO
GET MY REFUGEE STATUS
SO I COULD WORK.

Dave says IT'S A CHALLENGING SITUATION,
BECAUSE IT'S NOT JUST,
YOU KNOW...
IT'S THE TEMPORARY FOREIGN
WORKER-- THE PROGRAMS,
AND THEN THERE'S PEOPLE
THAT COME ON THEIR OWN.
SO, WITH ALL DUE RESPECT,
YOU KNOW, YOU COME AS A TOURIST.
HOW DO WE SET UP PROGRAMS
FOR THAT?
SHE IS MADE VULNERABLE BY THE
FACT THAT IS COMING INTO CANADA,
BEING UNDOCUMENTED.
IF MEXICO KNEW
THAT ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS
COME TO THE BORDER AS A TOURIST
AND CROSS IN, YOU'LL BE GIVEN
IMMEDIATE PERMANENT RESIDENCY,
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO
OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM?
WE HAVE A NEED FOR GUEST WORKERS
HERE, BUT WE HAVE PROGRAMS.
AND SO, I WOULD ENCOURAGE THOSE
THAT WANT TO MAKE A BETTER LIFE
FOR THEMSELVES
TO COME THROUGH THOSE PROGRAMS,
OR GO THROUGH
THE IMMIGRATION PROCESS.

The caption changes to "Santiago Escobar. National Representative. United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)." Santiago is in his late forties, clean-shaven with receding black hair. He wears a blue shirt and dark blue trousers.

Santiago says WORKER SUPPORT CENTRE,
RUN BY THE AGRICULTURE WORKERS
ALLIANCE,
WHICH IS THE UFCW'S BANNER
FOR AGRICULTURAL WORKERS
FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT JOIN
A UNION.
FOR THOSE WHO ARE BANNED TO JOIN
A UNION
BECAUSE, AS YOU KNOW,
AGRICULTURAL WORKERS
ARE NOT ALLOWED TO FORM
A UNION IN ONTARIO.
YOU KNOW, WORKERS REACH OUT
TO US
WHEN THEY'RE
EXPERIENCING ABUSES,
WHEN THEY'RE IN TROUBLE,
WHEN THEY'RE LOOKING
FOR SUPPORT.
THE MIGRANT WORKER
COMMUNITY HERE
ARE EXPERIENCED IN MANY,
MANY AREAS, MANY ISSUES.
YOU KNOW,
FOR INSTANCE...

Taras says BUT YOU'RE-- SORRY.
YOU'RE NOT THEIR
LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE.
THEY ARE NOT A MEMBER
OF THE UNION...

Santiago says YEAH. NO...

Taras says NOR DO THEY HAVE
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS.
SO, HOW DO YOU,
AS AN ORGANIZATION,
ADVOCATE FOR THEM
TO GET THEM THE SUPPORT
WHEN THOSE RULES
REALLY DON'T EXIST?

Santiago says THOSE WHO ARE COMING UNDER
THE TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKERS
PROGRAM, A YEAR AGO...
BACK IN JUNE 2019,
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
IMPLEMENTED A NEW PROGRAM.

Dave says RIGHT.

Santiago continues IT'S CALLED OPEN WORK PERMITS
FOR VULNERABLE WORKERS,
MEANING THAT FOR THOSE
WHO ARE EXPERIENCING
ABUSES
CAN OBTAIN AN OPEN WORK PERMIT.
IT'S A SHAME THAT
YOU HAVE TO SHOW THAT
YOU ARE EXPERIENCING ABUSES,
THAT YOU HAVE BEEN ABUSED,
TO OBTAIN
AN OPEN WORK PERMIT.
WE CLAIM IT'S WRONG.
WE THINK IT'S WRONG,
AND WE THINK THAT
ALL WORKERS
SHOULD HAVE
OPEN WORK PERMITS.
THAT'S PART OF
THE SOLUTION.
SO, IF WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
A MEANINGFUL SOLUTION,
I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT.
LABOUR MOBILITY,
OPEN WORK PERMITS,
A FLEXIBLE PATH
TO PERMANENT RESIDENCE,
AND ALSO, THESE WORKERS
HAVE THE RIGHT TO JOIN A UNION.
IT'S NOT SIMPLE.
I AGREE.
IT'S NOT A SIMPLE ISSUE,
BUT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT.
FIRST OF ALL, COMING TOGETHER,
ALL THE STAKEHOLDERS,
AND HAVE THIS CONVERSATION.
SO, I'M VERY, VERY GLAD
YOU GUYS ARE HERE.
MUCH APPRECIATED TO HAVE
THIS OPPORTUNITY,
BECAUSE THAT CONVERSATION
HAD TO HAPPEN 30 YEARS AGO.

Dave says THIS PANDEMIC HAS SHOWN US
WHERE WE HAVE TO WORK,
WHERE WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER
TO SOLVE SOME OF THE PROBLEMS
SO ABUSE DOESN'T HAPPEN.

Taras says THEY'RE FARMERS.
THEY'RE GROWERS.
THEY WANT GOVERNMENT
OUT OF THEIR BUSINESS
UNTIL THEY WANT GOVERNMENT
IN THEIR BUSINESS.
GOVERNMENTS HAVE MADE EFFORT
TO EXCLUDE, EXPLICITLY EXCLUDE,
MIGRANT WORKERS FROM
SOME OF THE BASIC RIGHTS
THAT OTHER WORKERS IN ONTARIO
FIND THEMSELVES.
SO, THAT'S
GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION
WHEN IT WORKS FOR INDUSTRY.
BUT WHEN IT WORKS FOR WORKERS,
THEN THEY DON'T WANT
ANY GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION.
THEY WANT, YOU KNOW,
SELF-REGULATION.
THAT ISN'T FAIR.

The caption changes to "Dave's date."

The Narrator says NOW, IT'S DAVE'S TURN.
HE WANTS TO INTRODUCE TARAS
TO A LEAMINGTON BUSINESSMAN
WHO BELIEVES HE HAS
ONE OF THE SOLUTIONS
TO THE HOUSING CHALLENGES FACED
BY TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKERS
AND THEIR EMPLOYERS.
TARAS, THIS IS
JIM LIOVAS,
THE OWNER OF
THIS COMPLEX
AND A MEMBER OF
THIS BUSINESS COMMUNITY
IN THE TOWN
FOR HOW MANY YEARS, JIM?
HOW LONG
HAVE YOU BEEN HERE?

The caption changes to "Jim Liovas. President, Liovas Homes." Jim is in his mid-fifties, with a short beard and receding graying hair. He wears a black T-shirt.

Jim says WE'VE BEEN DOING THIS
FOR QUITE A WHILE.
A LOT OF MY FRIENDS
ARE FARMERS,
AND ACTUALLY RELATIVES
ARE FARMERS, TOO.
SO, I'VE BEEN AROUND
THE FARMING INDUSTRY
ALL OUR LIVES.
FROM WHEN I WAS A KID,
WE USED TO GO TO
OUR FRIENDS' HOUSES
AND RELATIVES' HOUSES
THAT WERE FARMERS.
AND BACK THEN, YOU WOULD
ONLY HAVE MAYBE TWO OR THREE
DIFFERENT SPANISH WORKERS
THAT WOULD COME FROM MEXICO.
NOW, AS YOU DRIVE DOWN
HIGHWAY 77,
YOU SEE HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS
OF WORKERS THERE,
AND YOU HAVE, YOU KNOW, A FARM
THAT HAS 200 OR 300 WORKERS.
IT'S JUST KIND OF HARD TO GET,
YOU KNOW,
THAT FAMILY ENVIRONMENT
BACK AGAIN.

The caption changes to "After decades of renting homes to migrant workers in the community, Jim's family is committed to building COVID-safe and welcoming worker housing."

Jim says WHEN YOU HAVE A FACILITY LIKE
THIS HERE, YOU REDUCE THE RISK,
AND THAT'S WHAT KIND OF HELPS US
WITH THE COVID SITUATION.

Dave says TODAY IS ALL ABOUT
THE TRANSITION.
THE TRANSITION OF
OUR SMALLER FAMILY FARMS,
SOME GOING TO
MUCH LARGER.
THE TRANSITION OF
THE HOUSING CONDITIONS
AS THAT CHANGE HAS BEEN
HAPPENING (UNCLEAR).

Taras says WHEN WE SEE BUNKHOUSES
WITH WORKERS
PACKED ON TOP OF EACH OTHER,
AND THAT FITS WITHIN
THE PARAMETERS OF THE RULES
PROVINCIALLY AND FEDERALLY,
AND NO FINES OR ORDINANCES
HAVE BEEN LEVIED
AGAINST THESE OPERATORS,
THAT'S BECAUSE
IT'S WITHIN THE RULES.
SOMETHING'S GOT TO CHANGE
TO MAKE LIVES BETTER
FOR THESE MIGRANT WORKERS.

Jim says COME ON IN. WE'LL SHOW YOU
WHAT WE'RE DOING HERE.
THE WHOLE TRICK
FOR THESE FARMERS
IS TO GIVE THEM BASICALLY
A TURNKEY OPERATION.
THEY COME IN, THEY PAY THEIR FEE
AND THEY GOT NO HEADACHES.
WE SUPPLY THE BEDS.
WE SUPPLY THE CUPS, THE PANS,
THE GLASSES,
THE FORKS AND KNIVES.
WHATEVER IT IS.

The caption changes to "Liovas Homes will create a spacious and safe apartments for 576 migrant workers to rent at market value."

Jim says IF WE COME DOWN THIS HALLWAY,
THERE'S THREE BEDROOMS.
THIS IS OUR CONCEPT HERE.
AT THE END OF THE DAY,
YOU HAVE A BEDROOM
WITH TWO PEOPLE IN THERE.
AND TWO PEOPLE IN A BEDROOM,
THEY HAVE THEIR OWN BATHROOM,
WHICH HAS A BIG SHOWER.
THE SHOWER, I THINK,
IS ABOUT FOUR FEET WIDE.
'CAUSE A LOT OF THESE GUYS, TOO,
ARE BIGGER GUYS AND STUFF, TOO.
EVERY BEDROOM
HAS TWO CLOSETS,
AND EACH CLOSET
HAS ITS OWN LOCK.
SO, WHEN THE MIGRANT WORKER
COMES IN,
HE'S GOT A KEY
FOR THE FRONT DOOR.
HE'S GOT A KEY FOR HIS BEDROOM,
AND HE'S GOT A KEY
FOR HIS CLOSET.
TO MAKE IT SO
THESE PEOPLE
HAVE NO REASON
TO FIGHT,
AND THEY'RE CALM
AND THEY'RE HAPPY.
AND IT MAKES IT WORK MORE...
PRODUCTIVITY GOES UP,
AND EVERYBODY'S HAPPY.

Dave says SO, THERE'S TWO PEOPLE
IN THIS ROOM,
AND THEN THERE'S ONLY
TWO PEOPLE IN THAT BATHROOM?

Jim says CORRECT. THREE BEDROOMS
AND THEN THREE BATHROOMS.

Taras saysTHE PROBLEM IS
THAT WE HAVE
60,000 MIGRANT WORKERS
THAT COME INTO CANADA
EVERY YEAR.
WE NEED 10,000 MORE
OF THESE UNITS TOMORROW.

Dave says THIS CAN BE A FUTURE.
THIS CAN BE A TRANSITION.
THIS IS A ROLE
WHERE YOU AND I CAN PLAY
FROM UPPER TIERS OF GOVERNMENT
TO ENCOURAGE MORE OF THIS.
THAT'S MY VISION OF ENCOURAGING,
AND THAT'S WHERE YOU AND I
CAN COOPERATE
AND ENCOURAGE AND HAVE
THE INDUSTRY MOVE FORWARD.
SO, THIS IS
A GREAT OPPORTUNITY
TO VIEW WHAT THE FUTURE
COULD BE.

Taras saysTHE BARE MINIMUM STANDARDS
CAN'T WORK ANYMORE.
YOU KNOW, I'M HAPPY TO SEE THAT
THERE'S A REALIZATION THAT
A NEW STANDARD HAS TO BE SET,
AND I THINK THIS IS MOVING US
FORWARD TOWARDS THAT.

Jim says A LOT OF FARMERS ARE SAYING,
"WHAT DO YOU WANT?
"I WANT MY GUYS IN THERE.
THIS PLACE IS NICE.
THEY'RE GOING TO BE HAPPY."
'CAUSE THE HAPPIER
YOUR WORKER IS,
THE MORE PRODUCTIVITY
YOU GET OUT OF HIM.
YOU KNOW, THE MORE EVERYBODY
GETS TOGETHER.
AND AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT
MAKES DOLLARS AND CENTS TO THEM.
SO...

Now, the three of them wear masks.

Dave says AND THIS IS PART OF
OUR COMMUNITY.
THE EMPLOYERS ARE
PART OF OUR COMMUNITY.
THIS IS A PART OF
OUR COMMUNITY,
AND THEN WE HAVE
THE WIDER COMMUNITY.
AND I MEAN, WE'VE GOT
EXPLOSIVE GROWTH
COMBINED WITH
A PANDEMIC.
A LOT OF NEW STUFF.
SO, WORK TOGETHER.
HOW DO WE GET
THROUGH THIS?
THAT IS PRIVATE ENTERPRISE
THAT IS DRIVEN BEHIND THAT,
WITH A GOAL OF IMPROVING.
WHERE, I THINK,
UPPER LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT
CAN COME INTO PLACE,
WHERE THAT WAS BEGUN
BEFORE COVID.
WHAT COVID HAS DONE
IS REALLY SHOWCASED THE NEED
OF ACCELERATING
THIS KIND OF DEVELOPMENT.
SO, IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY,
AND WITH OPPORTUNITY,
THERE'S A CHALLENGE.

An aerial view of a modern farm appears.

Taras says THIS LOOKS LIKE
A TRADITIONAL FARM,
HOMESTEAD.
THIS IS WHAT WE GREW UP
LOOKING AT
AROUND ESSEX COUNTY.

Dave says THIS IS ANOTHER
FAMILY OPERATION.
A NEIGHBOUR OF MINE.

The Narrator says TO WRAP UP HIS DATE,
DAVE NEEDS TARAS TO MEET
A LOCAL MUNICIPAL LEADER
TO HEAR FROM THE OTHER LEVEL
OF GOVERNMENT
INVOLVED IN
POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS.

Dave says PAUL IS MY NEIGHBOUR.
PAUL COMES FROM A FAMILY FARM.
HE'S ALSO
A MUNICIPAL COUNCILLOR.
BUSINESS WANTS CERTAINTY,
AND SO,
THAT'S THE CHALLENGE
BEFORE US,
THE DIFFERENT LEVELS
OF GOVERNMENT.
WHAT ARE GOING TO BE
THE STANDARDS?
WHAT ARE SOME OF
THE CHALLENGES MUNICIPALLY?
YOU KNOW, AS A REPRESENTATIVE
OF THIS COMMUNITY,
WHAT ARE YOU SEEING?

The caption changes to "Paul Tiessen. Town of Leamington Councillor and farmer."

In his fifties with sunglasses, Paul says WELL, INFRASTRUCTURE
IS PROBABLY THE MAIN ONE.
WE NEED...
WE WOULD LIKE TO GET
BUNKHOUSES OUT TO
THE FARMS.
IN ORDER TO DO THAT,
THEY NEED THE SEWER LINE.
WE NEED THE HEALTH UNITS
TO COME TOGETHER
AND DECIDE WHAT IS
THE PROPER OCCUPANCY RATE
FOR THE HOUSING,
AND WE NEED THEM
TO DO THAT VERY QUICKLY.
WE NEED TO GET CONTROL OF
THE UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS.
WE NEED TO GET
CONTROL OF THE CONTRACTORS.
THEY NEED TO BE VETTED.
THEY NEED TO BE ACCREDITED
AND GO THROUGH A PROCESS
TO MAKE IT RIGHT.

The caption changes to "Official third-party contractors recruit migrant workers, but unaccredited agents can exploit undocumented workers who have few rights."

Taras says BUT THE BROAD SCOPE OF
THE TEMPORARY
FOREIGN WORKER PROGRAM
IS BASED ON CONDITIONS
THAT STILL HAVEN'T
CHANGED MUCH
SINCE THE INCEPTION OF IT:
WHERE BUNKHOUSES
WERE ACCEPTABLE,
WHERE 30 OR 40 PEOPLE
LIVED IN THE SAME CONDITIONS.
WE HAVEN'T REALLY SEEN
ANY OF THE REGULATORY LEVERS
BEING USED
TO ISSUE ANY CHANGES,
OR ORDINANCES, RIGHT?
AND OF COURSE, WE KNOW
IN THE CONTEXT OF COVID,
WHAT WE SEE IS THAT
THE MOST VULNERABLE AMONG US
MAKES US ALL VULNERABLE.
SO, IT IS OUR JOB,
AS ELECTED OFFICIALS
AT THREE LEVELS,
TO IDENTIFY,
TO PUT OUR
BEST RESOURCES FORWARD,
AND MAKE SURE THAT
THERE'S FAIRNESS
ACROSS THE BOARD FOR ALL.

Dave says THAT'S WHAT MAKES THIS
SO COMPLICATED.
THREE LEVELS
OF GOVERNMENT.
I KNOW WITHIN
MY OWN FEDERAL LEVEL,
THERE'S AT LEAST
THREE MINISTRIES
THAT I RELATE TO,
YOU KNOW,
WHEN I CHALLENGE
THE PRESENT SITUATION.
YOU KNOW, YOU'VE GOT
THE SAME THING
AT THE PROVINCIAL LEVEL.
AND WHERE THE RUBBER
HITS THE ROAD
ON OUR POLICIES IS HERE
IN THE COMMUNITY.

Taras says PAUL, I DON'T DOUBT THAT YOU
WOULD GIVE ANY OF YOUR WORKERS
A DAY OFF IF THEY NEEDED IT.

Paul says ABSOLUTELY.

Taras says IF THEY WERE SICK OR OTHERWISE,
AND THEY REQUEST IT.

Paul says IF THEY'RE SICK, I DON'T
WANT THEM COMING TO WORK.
ABSOLUTELY.

Taras says YEAH.
BUT WE ALSO KNOW THAT
IF IT ISN'T A MEASURE OF LAW,
AND IF IT ISN'T ENTRENCHED
IN LAW...

Paul says YEAH...

Taras says AND YOU SEE LAW EVERY DAY
AT THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL...

Paul says YEP. MM-HMM...

Taras says IT DOESN'T EXIST,
AND THEY DON'T HAVE TO DO IT.
AND THERE'S A WHOLE LOT
OF THOSE GAPS ALONG THE WAY
IN THE TEMPORARY FOREIGN
WORKER PROGRAM
THAT ARE BEING EXPLOITED.

Standing by a tractor, Dave says WHAT WE'VE SUFFERED HERE LOCALLY
IN THIS COMMUNITY
IS THAT WIDE BRUSH.
WHEN WE MAKE
THE NATIONAL
THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW
BECAUSE OF BEING HELD BACK
BECAUSE OF THIS...

Taras says YEAH...

Dave continues IT'S ISOLATED INSTANCES
OF ABUSE THAT ARE APPLIED
IN A BROAD SPECTRUM
ACROSS OUR
GUEST WORKER COMMUNITY.
BE IT THE TEMPORARY
OR THE SEASONAL
OR THE UNDOCUMENTED SIDE.
SO, WE'VE GOT-- WE DON'T WANT
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES
FOR ALL OF US TO BE TRYING
TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

The caption changes to "Due to COVID-19 outbreaks on local farms, the Windsor-Essex region was held back from entering Ontario's Phase Three re-opening plan."

Paul says LET'S BREAK DOWN THE SILOS.
LET'S BREAK DOWN
THE PARTY LEVELS.
THIS IS
A NON-PARTISAN ISSUE.
THIS IS A HEALTH ISSUE,
AND THAT'S WHERE
WE HAVE TO COME FROM.
WE HAVE TO WORK TOWARDS
SOMETHING BETTER
FOR EVERYBODY.
IT'S NOT...
IT'S THE MIGRANT WORKERS.
IT'S THE REST OF
OUR COMMUNITY.
IT'S THE WHOLE GROUP
THAT NEEDS...

Dave says OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITY
ISN'T HEALTHY
IF THE WHOLE BROAD
COMMUNITY ISN'T HEALTHY.
IT HAS MUCH BROADER
IMPLICATIONS.

Taras says YOU'RE STARTING TO TALK LIKE
A NEW DEMOCRAT NOW. MY GOODNESS.
PRETTY SOON,
YOU'LL BE TALKING ABOUT
UNIVERSAL PUBLIC HEALTH CARE
AND PHARMACARE!

Touching his heart, Dave says EVERY GUY THAT'S BLUE
HAS A HEART.
ABSOLUTELY.

Taras says I KNOW YOU DO.

Dave says YOU HAVE THREE LAYERS
OF GOVERNMENT,
MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL.
AND WHEN A PANDEMIC SHOWS UP,
WHO'S IN CHARGE? WELL, WE ALL
HAVE A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY.
AND THAT'S CORRECT. WE DO.
BUT IT CAN BE A CHALLENGE
TO WORK THROUGH
SHARED RESPONSIBILITIES
WHEN NO ONE REALLY HAS
THE ULTIMATE HAMMER
IN MAKING THAT DECISION.

Taras says I THINK I WARNED YOU
YESTERDAY
THAT THE ONLY BLIND DATE
I HAD BEEN ON
PREVIOUSLY
ENDED UP IN
A LIFELONG ROMANCE,
AND THAT GIRL ENDED UP
BEING MY WIFE.
SO, I DON'T THINK WE'RE
READY TO MOVE TO THAT...

Dave says THAT LEVEL
OF RELATIONSHIP? NO.

Taras says BUT I THINK WE'VE MADE
A FRIENDSHIP HERE,
AND I APPRECIATE
GETTING TO KNOW YOU.

Dave says I VERY MUCH APPRECIATE
YOUR HEART FOR PEOPLE
AND YOUR DESIRE TO MAKE
OUR COMMUNITIES BETTER.

Taras says YEAH.

Dave says THANKS SO MUCH,
AND WE WILL MEET AGAIN.
WE'VE DISCOVERED
A MUTUAL PASSION FOR GOLF.

Taras says HOW ABOUT THIS?
LET'S BOOK A TEE TIME
WHEN THIS WHOLE COVID THING
IS OVER WITH.
BUT I THINK
RIGHT NOW...

Dave says LET'S GO
HAVE A BEER...

Taras says HAVE A BEER.

The end credits roll.

Taras says DAVE IS SOMEBODY THAT...
HE'S KNOWLEDGEABLE.
I RESPECT HIS OPINION.
HAPPY TO HAVE MET
A NEW COLLEAGUE AND A FRIEND.

Dave says WE NEED TO CONTINUE THE DIALOGUE
TO WORK TOGETHER,
LOCALLY,
PROVINCIALLY, FEDERALLY,
AND I SEE THAT IN TARAS.
HE WANTS TO MAKE THINGS BETTER,
AND SO DO I.

Logos appear.

Copyright 2020, PBD Productions IV Inc.

Watch: Ep 4 - Migrant Labour