Abbotsford Farmworkers’ Memorial and Farmworker Safety

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  • Last Sunday families and friends gathered in Abbotsford to remember three workers, Sarabjit Sidhu, Amarjit Bal and Sukhwinder Punia, who were killed in a van accident on March 7, 2007. The van was driven dangerously by the van’s owner, a labour contractor, who did not have a proper driver’s licence. The 15-passenger van was overloaded. Seats were replaced with wooden benches, and it had only two seatbelts. The tires were mismatched and bald. In addition to three deaths, 14 others were seriously injured.

  • Despite the bad weather, more than 100 people attended the memorial. I was joined by members for Vancouver-Hastings and Abbotsford South. In the memory of these farm workers, a beautiful Golden Tree Monument was unveiled last year. It commemorates three lives cut tragically short, and it is also a testament to the strength of their families, whose lives were shattered by this tragedy.

  • The Golden Tree is a reminder to us all that we must continue to work together to make sure that farm work is safe. It’s a unique, world-class work of art. It’s a tribute to thousands of farmworkers who work in British Columbia, planting, harvesting and processing food to sustain our lives.

  • Farm work continues to be one of the most dangerous work. Every year in British Columbia, on average, three farmworkers are killed and over 120 are seriously injured. Farmworkers are amongst the most exploited workers in Canada. Next time when we sit for a meal, please think about these workers, their working conditions and the hard work they do to put food on our tables