There is a Mexican guest worker program in Canada which has been held up as a model for a proposed U.S. guest worker program. The guest worker program is called PTAT, acronym for Programa de Trabajadores Agr?colas Temporales en Canad??. It involves 15,000 Mexican workers who go to work in Canadian agriculture for up to 8 months.
President Calderon, before taking office declared himself in favor of sending more Mexicans to work in Canada, and not only in agriculture.
But the positive perception of Canadian treatment of Mexican workers may be changing.
Some Mexican congressmen (of the PRI and PRD parties) are starting to criticize Canada's treatment of Mexican workers. Some even visited Canada and returned complaining about the treatment of Mexicans there.
According to a recent article in Universal, a Mexican congressional migratory working group reports that "the more than 15,000 Mexicans who travel annually to Canada are subject to exhausting working days and lack social and medical services." The Mexican critics also criticize the Mexican consulates in Canada, who they accuse of not helping the Mexicans there. Sounds like Mexican diplomats in Canada aren't as active as they are in the U.S.!
The article reports that "They (the Mexicans) live in difficult conditions, forgotten by the (Mexican) consular protection program, in isolated areas, in a situation of semi-slavery, and without medical services."
This sounds like what Mexicans have said for years about how badly Mexicans are treated in the U.S.
Other injustices Mexicans suffer at the hands of these cold-hearted Canadians are that they don't have interpreters and they can be fired. Also, due to lack of information, they can't avail themselves of Worker's Comp or retirement benefits. And, sending remittances back to Mexico is difficult and expensive.
When they get sick, complain the congressmen, the Mexican workers are just sent back to Mexico and replaced with another laborer.
Well, that all sounds horrible. Maybe Mexico should just not send any more workers to Canada, and provide them all with the same services here in Mexico!
President Calderon is set to visit Canada from August 17th-22nd, in part for the big SPP shindig . The congressional Canada critics want the Mexican president to take up the issue with PM Stephen Harper.
Isn't this North American Union going to be a hoot!