The Temporary Mexican Migrant Labor Program in Canadian Agriculture (Working Paper #90)
Gustavo Verduzco Igartúa, El Colegio de México
Summary: During the early years of the Program (1974-1980), there was not much promotion for recruiting workers, and this was done only in states near Mexico City. By 1994, 80% of the participants came from six states in the central part of the country: Puebla, Tlaxcala, México, Morelos, Hidalgo, and Guanajuato. With the increase in the demand for workers and the decentralization of certain procedures for selecting and documenting workers, these have been incorporated from all the states. However, 70% of the participants still come from the central region of the country.
Since 1974, the year in which the program of Mexican workers began, the number of participants has increased on an average by 18% annually. This growth has been determined by Canadian employers’ demand for workers: the periods showing the greatest increases were 1985 to 1989 and 1996 to 2000. Nominal workers account for 48% and 68%, respectively, of the total number of workers going to Canada each season.
The year 1989 was the first one in which Canadian farmers requested women workers through this Program. At present, women’s participation in the total number of workers per season is around 3%. Although these numbers are very low, it is clear that women’s participation in the Program has more than doubled in just a few years. This is due, above all, to an increase in the demand among Canadian employers, so that the women who have participated during all the seasons are the ones who are explicitly requested by their gender.