The Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean welcomes a record number of foreign workers for season 2016. More than 170 Mexicans and Guatemalans were hired by a score of agricultural enterprises, the companies confirmed Foundation in labor recruitment agricultural foreign (fARM).
In 2014, just under 70 workers were in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. That number increased to 123 in 2015.
“This year, we talk about a 40% increase compared to 2015. This is a very interesting growth and especially constant. We see that there really is a trend, “comments Denis Hamel, CEO of FARM.
The organization recruits nearly 9,000 foreign workers in Quebec. They are in the peripheral regions of Montreal that the first Mexicans and Guatemalans landed in the 90 Places which have many vegetable farms, where the need for labor are important. But growth is now living in the regions, says Mr. Hamel.
“In the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, it started later in blueberry fields. But we see that they are now sought on dairy farms and region into account a lot. Formerly, the family enough. But to be profitable today, dairy farms are growing and need more manpower. So it is not only in the vegetable farms we see foreign workers, “points the CEO.
Indeed, temporary workers are found in several types of businesses, including nurseries. Companies that have difficulty in recruiting local labor.
“Foreign workers are present for a single reason. To address the lack of local labor. And this is not unique to the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Local workers are not interested in these types of jobs, “said Mr. Hamel.
But for these Mexicans and Guatemalans, this work proves a salvation to pay for education for their children or to start their own farm in their home country. They earn the minimum wage. But $ 10 an hour is five times the wages in Mexico and more in Guatemala. The Québec employer must provide accommodation for $ 30 per week. Airfare, equipment and clothing for work are also paid by the employer.
“We should not neglect the sacrifice that these workers make. They are away from their families for several months. It’s a tear, uprooting. This requires that it worthwhile for them monetarily, “says Hamel.
Nearly 98% of foreign workers come from Mexico and Guatemala. FARM also has some Jamaicans and Hondurans. But the organization does not wish to extend his recruitment to other countries.
“We do not need because we already have a large pool of people. There are many requests to come here. The unemployment rate in Mexico, it must be said, is extremely high. Between 90 and 95% of these workers return year after year in Quebec, “says Hamel, adding that the concentration of the labor pool including facilitating air transport.
FARM was founded in the late 80s by the farming community. Its budget is assumed by the member companies.