By Peggy Brekveld, Vice-President, OFA
Essential foreign workers are valued members of Ontario’s farming community. Do you know them? These men and women are integrated into the fabric of our family farms, and in many cases, become an extension of our farm family.
For example, Marco is a married man, who goes to church and calls his wife every day. On the other side, Ricardo enjoys going to bars and clubs in his time off. These are two very different men with one main common characteristic: they are both professionals working in the agriculture industry. My son had the pleasure of working alongside Marco and Ricardo on a dairy farm in southern Ontario and built a positive relationship with both. For the purposes of this story, the names have been altered to protect the privacy and security of these men.
They were kind and showed my son what hard work looks like. They made him wish he had studied Spanish rather than French – although they did teach him a few Spanish phrases that should not be repeated in front of his mother! They shared a lot of laughs that went beyond language too. They are also migrant workers who chose Ontario as a place to live and work, to be able to send money home and create a better life for themselves and their families. And many migrant workers have chosen to come back year after year.