Building Bridges of Love and Support for Our Migrant Workers

At the Huron Farmworkers Ministry, we are dedicated to serving and supporting the migrant farmworker community in the Diocese of Huron. Our mission is to address the unique challenges faced by these essential workers and ensure their well-being, dignity, and inclusion within our society.

Who We Are

We are a compassionate outreach ministry based in the beautiful region of Haldimand-Norfolk. Our ministry serves over 5,000 migrant farmworkers who arrive each year to work in our local farming industry. We recognize the invaluable contributions these workers make to our Canadian economy and food security. Through our various programs and initiatives, we strive to provide them with the support, resources, and care they need.

  • What we Do
  • Did you know?
  • Acknowledgment

Spiritual and Moral Support

We offer spiritual gatherings and celebrate the Eucharist in the native language of the workers, fostering a sense of faith, hope, and solidarity. We believe that nourishing the spirit is as important as addressing the material needs of individuals.

Education and Translation Services

We offer educational resources and free translation services to assist workers in navigating various aspects of Canadian life, such as understanding their rights and benefits, filing income tax returns, and accessing healthcare services.

Essential Supplies

We provide essential supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE), clothing, food, kitchen supplies, and products for personal hygiene. Our goal is to ensure that workers have access to basic necessities and feel supported in their daily lives.

Social Interaction and Gatherings

We create welcoming spaces for social interaction, friendship, and recreation through weekly gatherings and meals. These gatherings provide a much-needed break from the demanding work on the farms and help combat social isolation, promoting mental health and well-being.

Did you know most of the vegetables and fruits grown in Ontario that you will consume this season are harvested in large part by our migrant Farmworkers? They make up about 85-90% of the labor force in the agriculture industry in Canada.

So the next time you eat local produce, be mindful of how that food arrived at your table.

Ontario alone has approximately 20,000 migrant Farmworkers. The largest regions of migrant Farmworkers are Leamington, Norfolk & Oxford County (southwest Ontario), and the Niagara region.

A migrant Farmworker earns minimum wage. While they normally have steady employment (35-44 hours per week), sometimes they have half days because of weather. A shortened work week means less income for themselves and their families.

Approximately 70% or more of their wages goes back home – Jamaica, Trinidad, Mexico, Guatemala, Vietnam

They must buy their own groceries, toiletries, pay money transfers, cover half the cost of their transportation (airline ticket and ground shuttle to the farm) and many pay housing, up to $120 a month or more. In case you think housing is great, that means sharing a large room in a bunk house with about 7-8 companions who share a kitchen and bathroom/shower facilities

If migrant Farmworkers workers earn minimum wage, why do they require assistance?

As I said they don’t always put in the full week they desire.

The less money they spend here means more money they transfer back home.

Many arrive with minimal clothing and need the extra clothing for work and for the colder weather in the fall.

The Diocese of Huron is situated on the ancestral beaver hunting grounds of the Algonquin, Haudenosaunee and Attawandaran peoples.

The traditional and unceded lands of the Anishinaabe Peoples, of Walpole Island, Kettle Point and the Thames.

The settled people’s Haudenosaunee Confederacy, at the Grand River and the Thames and the Lenni Lenape Delaware people’s of Moraviantown and Muncey.

Our Commitment

Our ministry is rooted in the teachings of love, justice, and solidarity. We believe that every individual, regardless of their background, deserves to be treated with respect, dignity, and fairness. We are committed to upholding the rights and well-being of migrant farmworkers, advocating for improved living and working conditions, and fostering a sense of belonging within our community.

See the Seeds Firmly Planted Here

To be a priest for the immigrants, one must leave the comfort of his/her parish in search of the “lost sheep”. 

This is my experience since I began to minister to the thousands of migrant farmworkers who live and work in our farms in Haldimand-Norfolk.

Read the inspiring article by Rev. Enrique Martinez, the director of the Huron Migrant Farmworkers Ministry Centre, as he shares his unique calling and the challenges faced by these hardworking individuals.