On February 5, Mexico and Canada celebrate 80 years of diplomatic relations, among which the 50th anniversary of the Temporary Agricultural Workers Program (PTAT) stands out, with which 27,000 Mexican laborers will go to the northern country to work in the fields in 2024, indicates a note from the EFE agency.
Among the beneficiaries is Martha Raquel Chuc, a farmer from Yucatán who has worked 13 seasons in that nation with the planting and harvesting of strawberries and flowers.
“Yes, it changes our lives because we get many advantages. In exchange, we offer quality labor,” he said.
“It leaves us countless economic benefits, but also bitter pills, like when my mother and sister died and I was not there to say goodbye to them,” he said.
The consul of Mexico in Ottawa, Juan Gabriel Morales, explained that the binational agricultural program “links more than 27,000 Mexicans annually to primary agricultural jobs with more than 2,500 Canadian companies.”
The official stated that the success of the PTAT, which represents 55% of the temporary foreign workers who come to Canada in that sector, is due to “the work culture and talent of the compatriots.”
“Labor mobility is the priority component of the bilateral relationship,” he said.
The program went through tense moments in 2021 when one of the leaders of the Mexican day laborers died from Covid-19 in Canada. Canadian organizations denounced the lack of protection for workers.
At the last North American Leaders Summit, held in Mexico in January 2023, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to strengthen the working conditions of Mexican workers in Canada.
In southern Mexico, residents are grateful to be part of the program, like Víctor Gabriel Durán, 54, who has spent 17 seasons in the fields of Canada “planting and harvesting apples, blueberries and strawberries.” “In those 17 years I bought a little house and paid for my children’s education, I am grateful to God and the PTAT,” added the farmer.