BC Farmworkers deserve better  


Four years ago today a transport van carrying farm workers crashed on the highway near Abbotsford, injuring fourteen people and killing three women: Sarabjit Kaur Sidhu, Sukhwinder Kaur Punia, and Amarjit Kaur Bal.

A wooden bench without seatbelts was being used in place of seats, the vehicle was in poor repair, and was carrying 17 people, more than it could safely hold.

A 2009 coroner’s inquest made 18 recommendations but the government has failed to act on some of the most important ones, including improvements to road-side and on-site vehicle inspections.

As the Opposition Critic for Agriculture, I will continue to speak out about this tragedy until the government does more to ensure farmworker safety and restore employment rights for B.C. farmworkers.

I’d like to thank my colleagues New Democrat interim leader Dawn Black and labour critic Raj Chouhan for joining the deceased women’s families at a candlelight vigil in Abbotsford last night.

As Ms. Black said: “It’s time for [the BC Liberals] to stop treating farmworkers like second-class citizens. And it’s time to restore full rights to them under B.C.’s Employment Standards Act.”

And I echo Mr. Chouhan’s words as well: “Ms. Clark has said she’ll put B.C.’s families first. If she means what she’s promised, she must act for farmworkers and their families today.”

You can read more about the vigil here: