Video shows Alberta migrant workers' cramped quarters
Workers reluctant to complain for fear of jeopardizing their jobs, says labour rights group
Alberta's farms and greenhouses are employing more migrant workers, but labour rights activists say some are living in horrendous conditions.
One group has released video of 17 Guatemalan migrant workers living in a cramped, mouldy three-bedroom home in a southern Alberta farming community.
The video was taken by Devin Yeager and his colleagues at the United Food and Commercial Workers in 2010.
A handheld camera recorded tours around the home pointing out rooms with multiple bunkbeds, mattresses in the attic, tortillas being made in the laundry room and a carpet of mould growing in an unventilated bathroom.
"We continue to overlook the problem," said Yeager. "We continue to say out of sight, out of mind."
Yeager say workers are reluctant to complain for fear of jeopardizing their jobs.
"It's not an attack on all farmers that hire farm workers," he said. "You know our focus is on the large farms that are hiring massive amounts of workers and housing them in barracks-style or ... housing them in cramped spaces like this."
Currently, the federal government requires a housing inspection before a company hires workers but labour rights activists say there should frequent follow-ups.