Only a fraction of the 18,000 migrant farm labourers who come to Canada work in the north
It’s harvest time across Northern Ontario. And in a handful of fields, that work is being done by migrant farm labourers brought in from Mexico.
Leisure Farms in Sturgeon Falls has been bringing in workers from Mexico for the last 12 years.
Manager Mitch Deschatelets says they decided to access the federal government farm worker program when their farm was expanding with more vegetable fields, as well as growing their autumn tourism operation.
“Everything is done by hand, we plant by hand, harvest by hand. It takes a lot of hands to be able to do all that,” says Deschatelets.
He says it’s also been getting harder and harder to recruit local farm hands, since its seasonal work and lower wages than other jobs in the region.
“Every year there’s less and less Canadians wanting to do these types of jobs,” says Deschatelets.
This year Leisure Farms has 13 farm workers from Mexico, including Ariseo Fuentes who’s been coming up every spring for the last 12 years.