Temporary migrant workers provide vital labour to the Canadian agricultural industry. Although these workers are entitled to basic social rights while in Canada, such as employment standards and occupational health and safety (OHS) laws, these rights are regularly violated. These workers also have few avenues for political participation in Canada. The author argues that the framework of citizenship provides a powerful way to advance a social justice agenda for temporary migrant farm workers because of the implications of labour migration for the democratic citizenship of the domestic population. To ensure the social rights of local workers and the democratic character of the Canadian state, migrant workers, while in Canada, must be able to realize their social rights and also play some role in determining the laws to which they are subject. By examining two case studies from Canada, the author finds that civil society actors can act as agents to help migrant farm workers achieve citizenship.
Keywords: Citizenship, temporary migrant workers, agriculture, Canada, labour, civil society