Migrant Workers in Canada: A Documentary and Panel Discussion

Migrant Workers in Canada: A Documentary and Panel Discussion

Co-presented by the St. Catharines & District Labour Council, the Centre for Labour Studies at Brock University, and NAC

Wednesday 24 September 2008 at 7pm
At NAC, 354 St. Paul Street

El Contrato, a documentary directed by Min Sook Lee (2003)
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada
Winner of the Taureau de Platine Award - For Best Documentary in 2003

El Contrato follows Teodoro Bello Martinez, a poverty-stricken father of four living in Central Mexico, and several of his countrymen as they make an annual migration to southern Ontario. For eight months of the year the town's population absorbs 4000 migrant labourers who pick tomatoes for conditions and wages no local will accept. Under a well-meaning government program that allows growers to monitor themselves, the opportunity to exploit workers is as ripe as the fruit they pick. Grievances are deflected by a long line of others "back home" who are willing to take their placeDespite a fear of repercussions, the workers voice their desire for dignity and respect, as much as for better working conditions. El Contrato ends as winter closes in and the Mexicans pledge, not for the first time and possibly not the last, that it's their final season in the north.

Guest Speakers include:
Min Sook Lee, Director, El Contrato
Stan Raper, United Food and Commercial Workers
Jonah Butovsky, Centre for Labour Studies, Brock University