Dignidad Migrante is a non-profit organization of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs), who year after year come to work legally in Canada from Mexico, Guatemala, the Philippines, and numerous other countries in Europe, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
We have built our own organization, inspired and managed by temporary foreign workers, because we could not find an existing organization which would support us, understand us, or place our voices and needs at the centre of its work. In spite of the challenges associated with working ten to sixteen hour days, seven days a week, and the risk of being blacklisted from temporary foreign worker programs in our home countries, we decided to create an organization where the workers decide both what to do and when and how to do it. We receive assistance from experienced members who provide the knowledge and resources necessary to implement our initiatives and activities. Canadian workers, students, First Nations, religious associations, artistic groups and many compassionate members of the public help to support our activities.
At the Dignidad Migrante Society we educate temporary foreign workers and we provide services that promote workers’ autonomy and self-organization. Our collective efforts help to resolve everyday challenges and ensure that our rights and dignity are respected. Our main focus is on Temporary Foreign Farm Workers (TFFW), who represent one of the most vulnerable sectors of labour in Canada and who face significant discrimination and exploitation in their daily lives. Our efforts each year reach at least 2,000 workers and provide a minimum of 5,000 free services, including workshops, translation, and assistance accessing benefits such as Employment Insurance and pensions to which these workers are legally entitled.
We dream that our collective action will bring an end to our invisibility and stop us from being treated as disposable. We hope that solidarity from the Canadian public will improve our living conditions while we are in Canada, and provide us with new skills to use when we return home.
Members of Dignidad Migrante are found working in the fields, on farms, in greenhouses, in landscaping and gardening; but also in restaurants, for cleaning companies, at racetracks, and in construction. Some of our members are caregivers, taking care of children and elders. Wherever we work, we are committed to justice and dignity for all. Our most important decisions are made at the Annual General Workers Members Assembly (AGWMA). There, we elect the Workers’ Board that is called Workers’ Executive Council (WEC). This collective body will assign Working Teams (WT), including appointing those who will be authorized to sign legal documents and represent the organization, and appoint a Counsellor Technical Assistant (CTA), who will train and assist the WEC and provide services to the workers.
Mutual aid: Remain united in good and bad times, always willing to offer a helping hand.
Community Transformation: Live, act, and participate in community to transform each other and grow as individuals. This includes acting in ways which promote gender equality and which reject all forms of discrimination.
Self-management: Our collective and horizontal work guides and sustains our organization to solve the problems of our members and to help other workers.
Celebration: We believe that the joy, celebration, humor, and affection between are tools of resistance and resilience, providing respite from the pain of family separation.
Convince, not impose: We will offer our ideas, activities, and support to others, but we will not impose them on anyone.
Collective voice: To achieve the expression of a collective voice for workers, we will promote unity and respect between all genders, as well as the peaceful resolution of internal conflicts in the workplace.
Honesty: We are committed to honesty and openness. We reject all forms of corruption and we pledge to participate voluntarily without aspirations of power or remuneration.
Keeping our word. We have no obligation to do things that we do not want to do, but we acknowledge that credibility is earned by fulfilling our commitments.