Press Release
Embassy of Mexico in Canada

Ottawa, Canada, November 12, 2014

Mexican Secretary of Labour and Social Welfare, Alfonso Navarrete Prida, coordinated the work of the Mexican delegation that, along with its Canadian counterpart, will be evaluating the 2014 season of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) between the two countries. The coordination work took place at the Embassy of Mexico in Canada, with the participation of Mexican diplomatic and consular authorities and senior officials from the Secretariats of Labour and Social Welfare and Foreign Affairs.

Secretary Navarrete Prida also met with Canadian officials responsible for the SAWP at Employment and Social Development Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Service Canada, and with industry representatives (British Columbia Agricultural Council, Canadian Horticultural Council, Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services and the Foundation for Entrepreneurs Recruiting Foreign Agricultural Workers), with whom he exchanged views on the SAWP.

This year Mexico and Canada are commemorating 40 years since the launch of the successful SAWP, which began in 1974 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries. The Secretariat of Labour and Social Welfare is responsible for implementing the program in Mexico, while the Foreign Ministry looks after the rights and working conditions of Mexicans during their stay in Canada.

The program began with 203 employees in its first year and has grown steadily to reach a record high of 19,829 workers in 2014, working on 1,684 farms in nine Canadian provinces. Half of the Mexican seasonal agricultural workers are in Ontario, 20% of them in British Columbia and Quebec respectively, and the remaining 10% split between the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The SAWP has become an exemplary scheme of circular labour mobility, whose success lies in ensuring safe, orderly and legal migration. The Program affords Canada the possibility of meeting labour needs while allowing Mexican families to benefit through obtaining secure employment.

In an effort to improve working conditions for Mexicans participating in the program, the governments of Mexico and Canada hold annual meetings to evaluate the program and propose improvements to it.

One result of these efforts has been to establish a system for workers to evaluate their employers, with a scoring system from 0 to 100. In 2012, Canadian employers received an average score of 87 points. Meanwhile, 80% of agricultural workers are invited by their employers to return the following year and 40% of Mexicans participating in the SAWP have been in the program for 6 to 10 years. Mexican seasonal labourers work primarily in vegetables and legumes (38% of the total), fruits (26.5% of the total) and flowers (6.6% of the total).

The government is taking advantage of commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program to reaffirm its commitment to defending the rights of Mexicans who participate in the program, and to promote institutional arrangements that ensure orderly, safe, and legal migration.

 

PRESS RELEASE 321        OTTAWA, CANADA, NOVEMBER 12, 2014

STPS SEEKS TO STRENGTHEN, EXPAND LABOUR MOBILITY PROGRAMS IN CANADA

  • Authorities recognize the Mexico-Canada Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program as being a successful bilateral policy.
  • A total of 38,300 Mexican agricultural workers have migrated to Canada through the SAWP during this Administration.
  • We are creating conditions not only to grow more, and steadily, but also to unleash Mexico’s full potential: Navarrete Prida.

“In Mexico we want to continue and improve labour mobility programs not only in agriculture, but in other industries as well,” said Secretary of Labour and Social Welfare Alfonso Navarrete Prida, underscoring the commitment made at the recent meeting of Canada-Mexico Partnership held in Alberta, to design a work schedule on formulae for labour mobility in strategic economic sectors and specific regions.

During his meeting with the Ambassador of Mexico to Canada, Francisco Suárez Dávila, members of the Mexican Consular Corps, labour officials and employers in Ottawa, Canada, the head of the STPS highlighted the Mexico-Canada Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) as a successful bilateral policy that has enabled orderly, legal, and safe labour migration while ensuring respect for the labour, social and human rights of Mexican workers.

“That's why we are here today, to prove, without a doubt, the interest of the Mexican government to continue working and expanding this labour mobility program, to verify that the conditions under which they will have to hire our agricultural workers in the next season will be satisfactory to both parties, because the benefit is mutual,” he said.

Heading the Mexican Delegation comprising officials from the Secretariats of Foreign Affairs, Health, and Labour and Social Welfare, Navarrete Prida emphasized the importance of the Canada-Mexico bilateral relationship for President Enrique Peña Nieto, as a nexus of friendship and brotherhood with ample opportunities for mutual development through cooperative mechanisms in multiple areas of the common agenda.

Navarrete Prida recognized the interest of Canadian authorities in strengthening the SAWP, mainly from Canadian Ambassador to Mexico Sara Hradecky, and from Minister of Labour Kellie Leitch, who has addressed this Program as part of the topics of the specific chapter on this field in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Regarding the success of the SAWP, Navarrete Prida Secretary reported that during the current administration, a total of 38,300 Mexican farm workers have benefitted. He explained that in the four decades of its existence, the program has helped 281,102 farm workers.

Just this year, he said, a total of 19,798 workers migrated to Canada through the SAWP, of which 14,955 –or 75.7 percent– are nominal workers, meaning they have been requested by their employer on more than one occasion.

“Nearly 77 percent of all workers sent this year have been participating in the program for more than four years, which clearly confirms its high level of acceptance among the participating farms,” said Navarrete Prida.

“I have been able to personally attest to the efforts of my countrymen, their job performance and the concept their employers have of them; Last year, I had the opportunity to visit some farms and speak with workers and employers, and I can bear faithful witness to the esteem with which the farmers of British Columbia view the work of Mexicans and their employees in particular,” he said.

The head of the STPS stated being pleased that Mexican workers contribute to the Canadian economy and hoped that the business leaders in the agriculture sector would continue to improve the conditions of migrant workers who devote their efforts to the productivity of their employers’ farms, and the development of their communities, provinces and country.

At the time, Navarrete Prida recognized the diligent and professional attention of the Ambassador of Mexico to Canada, Francisco Suárez Dávila, and the commitment of members of the Mexican Consular Corps, to monitoring the development of the SAWP and ensuring Canadian employers’ respect for the labour, social and human rights of migrant social workers.

“Mexico has much to offer the world and the region, its strategic partners. We are in a deep, dynamic process of internationally recognized structural changes that will allow us to walk with a firm step towards higher stages of development. We are creating the conditions to not only grow more, and steadily, but also to unleash the full potential that a young, multicultural mega-diverse country like ours can achieve,” said Navarrete Prida.

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PRESS RELEASE 320    MEXICO CITY, NOVEMBER 11, 2014

STPS TO GIVE FURTHER IMPETUS TO MEXICO-CANADA SEASONAL AGRICULTURAL WORKERS PROGRAM

  • The Head of the STPS, Alfonso Navarrete Prida, will meet with Mexican consular authorities and Canadian labour officials, and with employers.

Heading a delegation from the Secretariat of Labour and Social Welfare, Secretary Alfonso Navarrete Prida will meet Wednesday in Ottawa, Canada, with Mexican consular authorities in that country, Canadian labour officials and employers, to analyze opportunities presented by the Mexico-Canada Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) in the aim of including new areas of economic activity.

Throughout four decades, the SAWP has been one of the region’s most successful labour mobility programs, and clear benefits have been provided through the program to Canadian employers and Mexican farmworkers alike.

Its objective is to link Mexican farm workers with employment opportunities that arise in the Canadian agricultural labour market through a legal, safe and orderly labour mobility model.

The achievements of the SAWP were documented earlier this year by representatives of the Comptroller of the US Congress, who traveled to Mexico and met with Canadian diplomatic officials and civil servants of the Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare, to learn about the program’s operation.

The Program has in fact become an effective binational public policy that guarantees the mobility of Mexican farm workers in a safe, legal, orderly manner, while ensuring respect for their labour, social and human rights.

Currently, Mexican labourers work on farms in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan; and deal primarily with vegetable and legume crops, fruits, flowers, greenhouses and nurseries.

Huatulco, Oaxaca. October 25, 2014

  • Oaxaca hosted the 38th Annual Meeting of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO), which included the participation of health authorities from Canada, the US and Mexico.
  • Approximately 30 percent of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) sponsored by the FAO, were drawn from NAPPO initiatives.
  • Secretary Enrique Martínez y Martínez has given instructions to contribute to increasing the existence of structural and operational similarity among the three plant health agencies in North America.

In order to harmonize standards to protect North America’s agricultural product heritage from exotic pests and streamline trade in the region, representatives from Mexico, Canada and the United States participated in the 38th Annual Meeting of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO).

The Director General of Plant Health at the National Service for Food Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA), Javier Trujillo Arriaga, said that NAPPO plays a key role in the development of regional phytosanitary standards, which are the basis for the development of international regulations.

The official from the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) reported that approximately 30 percent of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), were drawn from NAPPO initiatives.

In that sense, he said, the practical approach that industry can provide to NAPPO activities will be decisive for the establishment of future guidelines that offer certainty in global agricultural trade.

Trujillo Arriaga said that the instructions from the head of SAGARPA, Enrique Martínez y Martínez, are for Mexico to contribute to increasing the existence of structural and operational similarity among the three plant health agencies in North America.

He explained that NAPPO is the standardizer of specific regulations and serves as catalyst to ensure that there is no difference in the establishment and operation of phytosanitary regulations among National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs).

The interim Executive Director of NAPPO, Christina Devorshak, said that this is an opportunity to interact with NAPPO decision-makers and provide views on the tasks to be carried out in 2015.

Following this meeting, she added, it will be easier to understand how regional standards for phytosanitary measures influence international trade in agricultural and forest resources.

She said that NAPPO is characterized by its yearly adjustment of the agenda of government and industry meetings. "This demonstrates the ongoing efforts of the three NAPPO countries to improve interaction and communication among National Plant Protection Organizations and industry," she stated.

She also noted that the Executive Committee will meet with groups of producers and experts so that stakeholders can provide feedback on projects in operation since 2013 and 2014, and submit proposals for 2015, with respect to projects directly related to international efforts.

Meanwhile, Executive Committee members representing Canada, Greg Wolff, and the United States, Rebecca Bech, agreed that the annual NAPPO meeting provides an excellent forum for those involved in plant protection, as international cooperative activities are promoted, while producers and entrepreneurs are offered investment and value-added opportunities for the region’s fruit and vegetable industry.

As part of this meeting’s agenda, a symposium was held on "Electronic Phytosanitary Certification: from concept to implementation", in which international experts shared their knowledge and underscored the expected benefits from implementing this concept. This system is voluntary and provides a mechanism for secure electronic exchange of the same information that appears on the paper phytosanitary certificates.

Concurrent sessions from industry and government were also carried out by each of the countries, Canada, the United States and Mexico, followed by a combined government-industry meeting, attended by all and focusing on a common interest.

Independent producers and representatives of organized industry groups also attended these meetings, where an exchange of information enabled identification of the priorities and specific issues proposed for NAPPO to attend to next year.

It should be noted that NAPPO is an Organization that belongs to the FAO’s International Plant Protection Convention, responsible for coordinating efforts among Canada, the United States and Mexico to protect their plant resources from the entry, establishment and spread of regulated plant pests, while facilitating trade between member countries and other regions of the world.

The meeting, held from October 22-24, brought together government representatives, agricultural growers, packers and marketers, universities, research institutes and schools of higher learning from the three countries in the region.

Additional participants included representatives from the National Plant Protection Organizations of countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Uruguay, Argentina, Australia and Brazil.

  • Secretary Guajardo will participate in the Second Edition of the North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference.
  • Business meetings will be held with business leaders, academics and important stakeholders in North America.

Mexican Secretary of the Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, is conducting a working visit to Toronto, Canada to participate in the second edition of the North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference (NACIC), which aims to analyze strategies for increasing the competitiveness of North America.

Secretary Guajardo will attend a working meeting with business leaders, academics and important stakeholders in North America. He will also meet with his counterparts from Canada and the United States, Edward Fast and Penny Pritzker, respectively, to address priority issues in economic relations and areas of cooperation, in order to deepen ties in the region.

Additionally, the three Ministers will hold an open public meeting in which they will address the challenges that lie ahead for North America and the importance of advancing the competitiveness of the region from a trilateral perspective.

In 2013, the countries that form the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) accounted for 27% of the global GDP and 15% of global trade. Last year, trade between Mexico, the US and Canada amounted to a trillion dollars, 3.7 times the trilateral trade recorded in 1993, the year before the NAFTA entered into force.

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Secretary of the Economy concludes working visit to Toronto, Canada

Mexican Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal concluded his two-day working visit to Toronto, Canada, where he participated in the Second Edition of the North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference (NACIC). He was accompanied by the Undersecretary of Foreign Trade, Francisco de Rosenzweig, and by Ambassador Francisco Suárez Dávila.

While in Toronto, Secretary Guajardo attended a breakfast organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), an organization that brings together executives from leading Canadian companies.

During the event, he referred to the economic reforms being promoted by the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto and their contribution to increasing the competitiveness of Mexico and North America.

As part of this visit, Secretary Guajardo met with his counterparts from the US and Canada, Penny Pritzker and Edward Fast, respectively, to address priority issues of Mexico’s economic agenda with those countries.

Secretary Guajardo Villarreal and his Canadian and US counterparts held a private meeting, in which they reviewed the progress of work performed by departments of the three governments in 2014 under the North American Competitiveness Work Plan, and proposed new actions to be included in the plan in 2015.

The head of the Secretariat of the Economy also participated, along with his North American counterparts, in a luncheon organized by the CCCE, which dealt with topics including the economic outlook for the region, North America’s share in global production processes, and the major challenges facing the region in the current international economic context.

During the lunch, Secretary Guajardo announced that the next edition of the North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference will take place in Mexico, and expressed the commitment of the Secretariat of the Economy to contribute to actions that strengthen the productive integration of North America, to the benefit of the societies of the three countries.

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STATEMENT BY MEXICO, CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES ON THE NORTH AMERICAN COMPETITIVENESS AND INNOVATION CONFERENCE

Mexican Secretary of the Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, Canadian Minister of International Trade Edward Fast, and United States Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, today issued the following statement:

“We, the ministers responsible for international trade and commerce for Canada, the United States and Mexico, held a joint meeting and participated in the North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference in Toronto, Ontario. The conference brought together business leaders from across North America to discuss our top priorities, which are creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity for North American businesses, workers and their families.

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which laid the foundation for greater economic integration between our three countries. Since then, the Canada, United States and Mexico economies have prospered. Our combined trade relationship is more than $1.4 trillion, and our economic output accounts for more than one-quarter of the world’s GDP. The North American economy can out-compete any region in the world.

“Today, we have pledged to build on this success by enhancing trade and deepening our economic relationship through cooperation on our North American Competitiveness Work Plan. The Work Plan has eight key pillars, all of which aim to increase North American competitiveness. These pillars include trilateral investment initiatives, tourism collaboration, border facilitation, regulatory cooperation, entrepreneurship and innovation, strengthening the North American production platform, stakeholder outreach, and promotion of skills for a 21st century workforce.

“This Work Plan exemplifies how our three countries work together to support North American companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises. It also showcases how our countries continue to strengthen our economic partnership, generate prosperity and increase competitiveness on the global stage.”

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Embassy of Mexico in Canada
Press Release

October 24th, 2014

The Government of Mexico expresses its condolences and solidarity with the Canadian people and government for the tragic events that transpired this week at Parliament and the War Memorial in Ottawa and in St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu and in which two Canadian soldiers lost their lives. In these times of woe we stand together as friends with our North American and NAFTA partner with whom we share a close and long standing relationship.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto expressed his condolences directly to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Ambassador and his staff left a floral wreath at the War Memorial in honor of the fallen soldiers.

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