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Mexico and Canada meet to discuss Agricultural Workers Program

Mexico City, Mexico — The Governments of Mexico and Canada met to evaluate the Agricultural Workers Program to make an exchange agreement for the 21st century. On Wednesday in a joint statement, the Ministry of Foreign Relations reported that 25,669 workers migrated under a legal labor mobility scheme with the accompaniment of the Mexican government.

The Government of Canada expressed its conviction to improve the implementation of labor regulations and thereby strengthen the protection of Mexican workers.

The governments of Mexico and Canada held the 48th Intergovernmental Meeting for the Evaluation of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (PTAT), to evaluate and generate an international exchange and collaboration agreement in line with the 21st century.

The meeting was led by the Undersecretary of Employment and Labor Productivity of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), Marath Bolaños López, the head of the Unit for North America of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Roberto Velasco Alvarez, the general director of Consular Protection and Strategic Planning of the SRE, Vanessa Calva, the head of the National Employment Service (SNE), Rodrigo Ramírez Quintana, Deputy Deputy Minister for Employment and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program of Canada, Michael MacPhee and the representative of the Association of Producers of Fruits and Vegetables of Canada, Beth Connery.

The group met to discuss the nearly 26,000 who participate in the exchange program. Photo: SRE

The Mexican delegation was also made up of the heads of the Consulates General and Career Consulates of Mexico in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Leamington who participated remotely, as well as other STPS and SRE officials.

Undersecretary Marath Bolaños highlighted the face-to-face meeting after two years of the pandemic, where he stressed that despite the health crisis, the number of workers integrated into the program has not decreased during those years, which in 2022 will be close to 26,000.

He stressed that the meeting will strengthen coordination with the Government of Canada and with employers in order to increase the number of workers traveling to Canada in the 2023 season.

He highlighted the progress made in the operation of the program, acknowledging the commitment of the federal government in Canada and the provinces in the tasks of protecting and caring for the working conditions of Mexicans.

However, he also expressed the need to strengthen the processes of implementation of worker protection measures, ensuring that the advances that were obtained even during the pandemic period prevail and are strengthened, thus moving toward improving their salaries in line with the different occupations they perform.

Roberto Velasco Álvarez, Head of Unit for North America, highlighted that Mexico and Canada are at a crucial moment in their relationship on labor issues and that the PTAT is presented as an ideal mechanism to explore opportunities to increase the number of channels of mobility at a time of high demand for workers.

He also recognized the important work of the consular network in Canada, which provides consular care and protection to people who participate in the PTAT based on proactive and preventive actions.

“This year, the consular network answered more than 22,300 calls and made more than 300 visits to farms,” said the SRE official.

Photo: A meeting was held to discuss the exchange program for 2023. Photo: SRE

On behalf of the Government of Canada, they recognized that Mexico is the country that contributes the largest number of workers to the Canadian agricultural sector, and for this reason, they highlighted the value of the workers and their contributions to the food industry of that country, thus reiterating their commitment to improve the regulations, their implementation and thereby advance in the improvement of the program and the protection of workers.

At the meeting, it was agreed to maintain a permanent relationship and strengthen the operation of the High Level Contact Group that allows both countries to maintain permanent communication to deal with contingencies that arise, but above all to monitor the operation of the PTAT and implementation of actions for the benefit of workers.

The SRE says the Government of Mexico reiterates that the reinforcement of the protocols for the protection of migrant agricultural workers who participate in the PTAT is a priority, for which reason it reaffirms the commitment to maintain open and efficient channels of communication and dialogue with their Canadian counterparts in the search for and incorporation of additional protection measures in the employment contract and its operating protocols.