Originally from St. Lucia, Gabriel Allahdua worked as a migrant farm worker in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program for four years, from 2012 to 2015, before leaving the program to seek permanent residency in Canada. Now a leading voice in the migrant justice movement, Allahdua is an organizer with Justicia for Migrant Workers and an outreach worker with The Neighbourhood Organization, providing services to migrant workers across southwestern Ontario. He lives in Toronto with his two adult children and his grandson.
Harvesting Freedom: The Life of a Migrant Worker in Canada
By Gabriel Allahdua and Edward Dunsworth
Published by Between the Lines
In this singular firsthand account, a former migrant worker reveals a disturbing system of exploitation at the heart of Canada’s farm labour system.
When Gabriel Allahdua applied to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program in Canada, he thought he would be leaving his home in St. Lucia to work in a country with a sterling human rights reputation and commitment to multiculturalism. Instead, breakneck quotas and a culture of fear dominated his four years in a mega-greenhouse in Ontario. This deeply personal memoir takes readers behind the scenes to see what life is really like for the people who produce Canada’s food.
Now, as a leading activist in the migrant justice movement in Canada, Allahdua is fighting back against the Canadian government to demand rights and respect for temporary foreign labourers. Harvesting Freedom shows Canada’s place in the long history of slavery, colonialism, and inequality that has linked the Caribbean to the wider world for half a millennium—but also the tireless determination of Caribbean people to fight for their freedom.
Edward Dunsworth is a historian of migration and labour and assistant professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University. He lives in Longueuil, Quebec, with his wife and two children.