The changing face of farm labour in British Columbia : exploring the experiences of migrant Quebecois and Mexican agricultural workers in the Okanagan Valley




Leibel, Geody Cassandra

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Over the course of the 20th century, the type of farm labour desired by the North American agricultural industry and the strategies used to procure that labour have undergone significant changes. Rather than relying on immigrant or domestic workers, many growers are now choosing to import temporary foreign workers under contract programs such as the Canadian Mexican Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (MSAWP). This thesis discusses the implementation of the MSAWP in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, a region that has for many years depended upon the labour of migrant Quebecois workers to harvest its crops but has for several years experienced severe agricultural labour shortages. Based on fieldwork which explored the experiences of Mexican and Quebecois migrant farmworkers in the Okanagan. it is suggested that the valley's labour shortage has largely been created by the agricultural industry and government, neither of which have improved the conditions of farmwork to the point where agricultural labour would appeal to Canadian workers, and that the MSAWP's implementation has a number of implications, both positive and negative, for agricultural labourers and farmers in the valley.



Migrant labor, Agricultural laborers, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley