File Photo .(Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)

Okanagan orchardists asked to watch for ‘radical labour activists’

“The radical activists may impersonate government officials…”

Okanagan fruit farmers have been warned that there’s a new threat aimed at disrupting peak season operations.

In a newsletter sent out by the BC Fruit Grower Association to its members, the organization notes that this summer, beginning immediately, growers should “anticipate that radical labour activists will trespass and sneak onto your farm to disrupt your business.”

“These activists wish to identify and even create problems with Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program workers on your farm,” reads the alert.

To address this potential threat, growers and managers should ask unknown visitors for photo ID to verify their identity.

READ MORE: HOUSING FOR FARM WORKERS SCRUTINIZED

“We have requested government agencies to provide us with samples of their official government id so that you may know when a legitimate officer of the government is asking access to your farm or records,” the newsletter goes on to say.

“The radical activists may impersonate government officials, so please take your time record and look at the identification. If uncertain, ask the visitor to arrange for their supervisor to call you immediately before proceeding to admit the visitor to the farm.”

It is up to farmers to determine when or how visitors are able to enter the farm due to food safety and biosecurity risks, the BCFGA adds.

“During non-working hours, visitors may be invited by the worker into their residence, but they still must sign in for Food Safety and Biosecurity reasons,” the alert continues.

Thousands of Mexicans and Caribeans head to Okanagan farms to work each summer. They make the same wages as Canadian counterparts for the time that they are in the valley.

More to come.

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