St. Lucian wins racial harassment case against Canadian farm operator

19
St. Lucian wins racial harassment case against Canadian farm operator
Shane Martinez (L) and Adrian Monrose (R)

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has delivered a decision finding that a major greenhouse operator in Leamington, Ontario, did in fact engage in racial harassment of a St. Lucian national who was employed there as a migrant farm worker.

In Monrose v. Double Diamond (citation: 2012 HRTO 1273) Adrian Monrose, a St. Lucian who came to Canada as a migrant farm worker, was subjected to racist slurs by his employer during his second season working at the Double Diamond greenhouse. When he tried to report and challenge this mistreatment his employment was terminated and he was immediately sent home to St. Lucia.

He eventually made his way back to Canada and filed a human rights complaint with the assistance of the Justicia for Migrant Workers group and human rights lawyer Shane Martinez.

The matter was heard by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario this past March, and a decision was released on July 23, in which Vice Chair David Muir held that Monrose had indeed been subjected to racist abuse in the workplace. He was awarded $5,500 for lost wages, $3,000 for damages to his feelings, dignity, and self-respect, and $15,000 for violation of his right to be free from reprisal (e.g. the termination of his employment and repatriation to St. Lucia).

Monrose v. Double Diamond represents the first ever decision issued by the Tribunal in favour of a migrant farm worker.

Martinez, who represented Mr. Monrose pro bono throughout the case, stated “This decision reaffirms the dignity and great worth of a hardworking man who left his family in St. Lucia to come to Canada as a migrant farm worker. Unfortunately, there are others whose stories are never told after they are repatriated and banned from the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme. The Tribunal’s findings signal an urgent need for all levels of government to safeguard the human rights of migrant farm workers. One of the first steps towards doing this is to replace the outdated and unfair contracts that allow employers to commit abuses like those which occurred in this case.”

The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SAWP) has been in operation since 1966. Countries that participate in the SAWP include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Migrant workers employed under this programme are tied to an employer, do not have equal access to social entitlements, are denied labour and social mobility and do not have the ability to apply for permanent residency to Canada. The SAWP is one of several migration programmes that comprise the Temporary Foreign Workers programme which employs over 400,000 migrants under its numerous schemes.

Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) is a volunteer, political non-profit collective comprised of activists from communities across Canada. J4MW workers with migrant workers, labour and community allies to advocate for strengthening labour and social protections for all workers irrespective of status.

(1)(0)

No posts to display

19 COMMENTS

  1. Canadian companies are by nature very racist. Right now I am working for CostULess in Barbados - owned by a Canadian company and I could tell you these people are nothing more than bigots. All their top people are lily white and do not even want to greet local workers. We should treat all those Canadians as the racist that they are.

    (0)(1)

  2. adrian hails from the republic of laborie. am proud of him standing to those pple. as a laborian, he has made us proud.

    (2)(0)

  3. adrian hails from the republic of laborie. in laborie, we dont allow pple to srep over us. hope this victory will send a clear signal to those employees out there, not only where he worked but elsewhere also.

    (1)(0)

  4. We're so proud of u Mr Monrose for taking this step.It's to teach others that we all are human.

    (2)(0)

  5. I am so happy reading this news some people r too racist in canada.great job proud of been a lucian

    (0)(0)

  6. Thanks for sending a clear message to those racist, power hungry employers out there. Good for you Brother! Job well done!

    (1)(0)

  7. Great Adrian! wonderful to read this story and so happy that you had the courage to fight for your rights. Thank you Shane for standing up for Adrian you have a great sense of justice.

    (1)(0)

  8. His employer perhaps thought he was an uneducated black man because he was a farmer. Good for him!

    (1)(0)

  9. Celebrating this moment of victory, truth and celebration with you brother...It's time that we learn to respect person no matter where we are from or what ever our race be... Adrian is my brother and I'm so proud of him at this moment for fighting for what he believes in.... Justice has been served...

    (1)(0)

  10. proud of you, proud to be a monrose and we are proud to look up to you ,our inspiration to stand up for what we believe. we miss you and good luck

    (1)(0)

  11. Great News for all my bothers and sisters who have migrated to a " better life" only to be treated as second class "aliens". Mr. Martinez is a real HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER!

    (1)(0)

  12. Proud of you my St.Lucian brother.You stand up for your right, to you I tip my hat.

    (1)(0)

  13. $23,000 plus... I hope that's atleast Canadian currency.

    no one should be subject to racism in this day and age. its jus disgusting.

    (1)(0)

  14. Monrose I am proud of your intelligence and dignity to stand up for your rights. Hope this story reaches out to others who are struggling with the same issue as well as for those people who are the abusers not just in the form of racism alone. Lesson well taught, the money received will be well spent haha

    (0)(0)

  15. I am so happy to read of the success of Monrose following the violation of his human rights through racism. There are many more like Monrose especially our young men and women who join the army or navy in the USA or England. They work harder than their white counterparts and yet still they are subjected to racist comments and discrimination. Hope they will be inspired by Monrose.

    (0)(0)

Comments are closed.