Category Archives: Uncategorized

Migrant Workers’ Rights on the Table


Seventy people from Island community and faith organizations and from government departments joined a group of migrant workers for a full day of presentations and discussion aimed at increasing our collective understanding of the challenges faced by migrant workers living in this province. We heard from migrant workers, experts in federal and provincial policy, and organizations working to promote the rights of migrant workers. The theme was food sovereignty, and the role migrant workers play in our food system. Out of the conversations there emerged many ideas for advocacy and policy and actions to support migrant workers to be treated fairly and recognized for the important roles they play in our economy.

Throughout the day there emerged several RECOMMENDATIONS for policy work and actions.

Federal Policy Recommendations

  • Expand eligibility for IRCC-funded settlement services to include migrant workers
  • End Closed Work Permits – make Work Permits OPEN, not tied to one employer
  • Employment Standards coverage for Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) workers
  • Access to Permanent Residency for all workers

Provincial Policy Recommendations

  • Legislation that: requires registration of employers; licenses recruiters; and bans recruitment fees
  • Labour laws to cover agricultural workers
  • Legislation that defines acceptable work and living space
  • Proactive enforcement of legislation and anti-reprisals mechanism
  • Funding for support services for migrant workers including language training
  • Systematic distribution of information on rights, recourses and services
  • Encourage permanent residence through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
  • Provincial healthcare coverage for all migrant workers on arrival

Recommendations for Immediate Action

These recommendations for immediate action emerged from the discussions:

  • Create a report indicating where workers are coming from and where they are working in PEI, highlighting the experiences of some of the workers
  • Ask Government to develop a registry to make sure we know where all the workers are in PEI
  • Involve PEI migrant workers in national & local advocacy networks
  • Challenge the PEI government to establish legislation specific to migrant workers

Read the whole report here: Living & Thriving Migrant Worker forum 2018


Living and Thriving: A Forum about Supporting Migrant Workers in PEI

You are invited to a public forum to examine the vital role of Migrant Workers in PEI’s food system and the largely policy-driven limitations that these workers face.

For some time, policies at the national and provincial level have acted as barriers to migrant workers’ rights. In PEI and across Canada, there is a growing movement to eliminate barriers for workers through public education, community solidarity, and changes to policies at national and provincial levels.

The Forum will be held at the PEI Farm Centre on Friday, April 27 from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. (Registration will open at 8:30 am.) It will feature several guest speakers:

Marisa Berry Méndez (Canadian Council for Refugees), who works on issues related to the settlement and integration of refugees and other vulnerable migrants;

Gabriel Allahdua (Justice for Migrant Workers), a migrant worker from St. Lucia and member of Justice for Migrant Workers, a volunteer-run migrant worker advocacy organization located in Ontario; and

Connie Sorio (KAIROS Canada), a community organizer and advocate for the rights and welfare of temporary foreign workers in Canada.

There will be presentations and group discussions on topics such as health care, housing access, and the role of Migrant Workers in our economy. The day will conclude with a presentation of the strategies and next steps for action, as determined through participants’ discussion on each topic.

Please pre-register at Eventbrite.

This event is organized by Cooper Institute and the PEI Action Team for Migrant Worker Rights, which includes representatives from the Council of Canadians (PEI), Breaking the Silence Maritimes Guatemala Solidarity Network, PEI Food Security Network, and others. It is supported by the Canadian Union of Public Employees and CUPE-PEI, United Food and Commercial Workers, the United Church of Canada (Maritime Conference and PEI Presbytery), KAIROS and Kairos Atlantic.

Let’s Talk Food – What Was Said

Participant 5.jpg

Over eighty people attended Let’s Talk Food on November 19, 2017. They took part in many, many discussions on a diversity of topics. Read the full report here: Let’s Talk Food 2017 Report

Let’s Talk Food was hosted by the PEI Food Security Network, in partnership with the City of Charlottetown and the United Way of PEI. The event was designed to gather people together, to share their experiences and knowledge, to make connections and to develop a shared vision to inform policy and initiate collective action to create a healthy food system.

The day was designed to allow groups to form around key topics to support actions that promote food security. Participants included primary producers, preparers of food, people from faith communities and community organizations, people involved in food innovation, educators, students, government representatives, food activists and volunteers. Continue reading

Let’s Talk Food

22195952_1476947842341649_9113084289555229862_nYou’re Invited!

Let’s Talk Food – Thursday, November 9, 2017
Let’s Talk – 9:00 am-3:00 pm
Let’s Take Action – 3:00pm-4:30pm
Location: Murchison Centre, 17 St. Pius X Avenue, Charlottetown, PE

To register, please visit

This is a free event and lunch will be provided.

The City of Charlottetown, the Food Security Network, and the United Way of PEI invite you to join us for an engaging and interactive event focused on Food.

Prince Edward Island has been referred to as Canada’s Food Island, the Garden of the Gulf, and a Foodie’s Paradise. We are fortunate to be acknowledged for the high quality food we bring to the table but we must also recognize that for many Islanders there is trouble in paradise. According to the Statistics Canada, Canadian Community Health Survey (2014), 15.2% of households in Prince Edward Island experience marginal to severe food insecurity. The experience of food insecurity can range from concerns about running out of food, and not being able to afford healthy food, to going hungry due to missing meals, or in extreme cases not eating for days at a time due to inability to afford food.

Whether the focus is positive or negative, public engagement in food on our Island is high, making the time ripe for discussions around our current food system. Our vision for the Let’s Talk Food event is to bring together the many industries, organizations, and individuals who are integrally linked to our Food system on Prince Edward Island to talk about their common interests the issues that matter to them. From these conversations, we hope to harvest ideas, make plans and get to action.

We hope you can join us for this interactive exploration of PEI’s food system. To register, please visit

For additional details please contact:
Jessica Brown, Sustainability Outreach Coordinator for the City of Charlottetown
902-629-6368 or

Step Up to the Plate 2017


The PEI Food Exchange is hosting their annual fundraising event, Step Up to the Plate, on October 24th and you’re invited! 

Taking place at the Farm Centre, the evening will feature a locally-sourced vegetarian-friendly dinner prepared by Chef Emily Wells, an ‘appy’ hour, silent and live auctions, and plenty more.

All funds raised will go toward supporting the grassroots work of the PEI Food Exchange and its Community Food Mentor graduates.

Tickets for the dinner can be purchased from event organizers, at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market (on Oct 14 only) or at the Voluntary Resource Centre (81 Prince St, Charlottetown). Visit Food Exchange PEI on Facebook or call Shannon at 902-213-7298 for more information.

A Food Policy for Canada – Have Your Say!

Food Secure Canada (FSC) has prepared this short analysis to encourage thoughtful participation in the online survey towardsA Food Policy for Canada (link is external) led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). For a general background on national food policy, read our primer.

Canadians are invited to complete a short online survey(link is external), open until July 27, 2017, about the objectives that should guide Canada’s first National Food Policy (NFP). According to a high ranking government official, over 16,000 people have participated in the online consultations so far. This is an impressive and encouraging number of Canadians who care deeply about our food system!

Although the online survey is less open-ended than other recent government consultations, for example the Healthy Eating Strategy or the Poverty Reduction Strategy, FSC is encouraging its members and the wider food movement to participate.

The online survey is framed around the four themes of the government’s consultation:

• increasing access to affordable food;

• improving health and food safety;

• conserving our soil, water, and air; and

• growing more high-quality food.

The overall focus is on “how objectives should be prioritised for short-term action.” When you open the survey you will quickly see the structure which is based around ranking a series of listed objectives, within and between the four pillars. However this feels misaligned if you take a food-systems perspective.

The exercise can be frustrating for people who believe in a joined-up food policy — the very essence of which is to tackle health, environment and equity considerations together, not to trade one off against the other. It’s not a question of choosing between a priority for “Making nutritious food more available to all Canadians” or “Supporting the growth of local and regional food production,” instead it’s important how they can be both be addressed, potentially together.

A final optional section in the survey on Guiding Principles includes some systems thinking but, again, it’s all about ranking one approach as more important than another.

There is an opportunity at the end of each theme to suggest another objective, in 50 words or less, and there is one entirely open-ended concluding question, with a 250 word limit.

FSC’s Five Big Ideas for a Better Food System and From Patchwork to Policy Coherence: Principles and Priorities of Canada’s National Food Policy are good sources of ideas and inspiration for these questions. For example, why not write in the human right to food, making food a part of reconciliation, or seeding social innovation through adaptive policy?

FSC believes that every Canadian should be able to put healthy, affordable, sustainably grown food on their table. Make your voice heard before July 27, 2017.

In addition to the survey, consultations include a Food Summit hosted in Ottawa June 22-23, five or six regional events still to be announced, and potentially a number of community events, webinars and food movement briefings facilitated by FSC. Stay tuned for details.

Find the online survey here.

Growing Food & Education – getting more local food into our schools

Girl holding food tray in school cafeteria

PEI Food Security Network Panel Discussion and AGM

Thursday, May 18th,  2 – 5 pm
Prince Edward Island Farm Centre
University Ave, Charlottetown

With presenters who have a passion for getting healthy, local food on the plates of students:

Bev Campbell, Chef at Queen Elizabeth Elementary School
Sarah Bennetto O’Brien, PEI Handpie Company
Kyle Panton – Chef and Farmer
Kent MacDonald – Gordon Food Services

Panel presentations will be followed by a general discussion and a very short annual meeting.

Many Islanders are embracing “buy local” campaigns by going to farmers’ markets and participating in CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture). At the same time there is interest in getting more locally-produced food on the menu in provincial institutions such as schools and healthcare facilities. Many communities and producers are responding with creative school food programs and initiatives to increase awareness of growing food as well as to improve local food access for children and their families. Given this growing interest in local procurement from producers, government and consumers, we invite the community to discuss the opportunities and challenges of providing local food products in Island schools.

Please join us for what is bound to be a lively discussion. Everyone welcome!