May 26, 2023 Mexico City, Mexico Employment and Social Development Canada
Today, Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr. wrapped-up a three-day visit in Mexico City where he engaged with Mexican officials, unions and stakeholders on labour reforms being implemented under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). He also examined first-hand how Government of Canada investments are improving workers’ rights and labour conditions in Mexico.
During his visit, the Minister met with Mexico’s Secretary of Labour and Social Welfare, Luisa María Alcalde, to discuss the role of the Federal Centre for Conciliation and Labour Registration (Centro Federal de Conciliación y Registro Laboral) and labour courts within Mexico’s new labour justice system. The creation of labour courts under the jurisdiction of the judiciary is a key element of Mexico’s labour reforms and a commitment under the CUSMA.
Minister O’Regan also participated in a roundtable discussion with World Vision on forced labour and child labour. The discussion focused on how $2.4 million in funding from the Government of Canada is strengthening the capacities of Mexican labour authorities, agricultural producers and farm workers (particularly migrant and Indigenous women and youth) to address forced labour and child labour in the tomato, cucumber and eggplant sectors in the states of Sinaloa and Jalisco.
Additionally, the Minister met with union members supporting two projects led by Canadian labour organizations that received $9.4 million from the Government of Canada in 2021. Through these projects, these Canadian labour organizations are sharing their expertise and participating actively in Mexico’s labour reform.
The first project, implemented by Unifor, supports local action centres in six Mexican states. These centres deliver gender-responsive training, rights awareness and advocacy services to workers and trade unions throughout Mexico improving working conditions in export-dependent industries. The Minister visited one of the action centres where he spoke with local labour membership to hear more about the work being done at the centres to support workers’ rights.
The second project is being implemented by the Steelworkers Humanity Fund on behalf of the Canadian Labour Congress, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, United Steelworkers and the Centre international de solidarité ouvrière. The project provides education programs to unionized and non-unionized workers on defending labour rights. As a result, workers are being equipped to navigate Mexico’s new labour justice system, including the conciliation and registration boards and labour courts.
“The Labour movement has made Canada a standard bearer in workers’ rights. That credibility gives us an opportunity to empower workers and create good jobs around the world. We’re seizing that opportunity.”
– Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.
“Labour reforms in Mexico, supported through ground-breaking provisions in the CUSMA, are an important tool to improve workers’ rights in key sectors of the economy. When workers in Mexico prosper, workers across the continent prosper. We will keep monitoring the progress of these reforms and working with our partners in the independent Mexican labour movement to support workers and their communities across the country.”
– Lana Payne, National President, Unifor
“Forced labour and child labour have no place in Canada or elsewhere. World Vision is committed to working with all stakeholders—including governments, the private sector and affected workers—in Mexico and around the world to build sustainable supply chains free of exploitation and harm.”
– Michael Messenger, President and CEO, World Vision Canada
- In 2019, Mexico initiated a key reform by establishing a new model of labour justice based on three key principles: independent and impartial labour justice, democratic trade unions, and authentic collective bargaining.
- In May 2019, the Mexican Congress approved a labour reform and amended the Federal Labour Law strengthening the exercise of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights.
- The Canada-Mexico Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labour Mechanism allows countries to request an inspection of a specific facility based on a good faith belief that obligations related to freedom of association and collective bargaining in covered facilities are not being respected.