Underground world of off-the-books migrant work revealed by Windsor Star investigation

Tomato picking at a commercial greenhouse

It was like they never existed, at least not in Canada.

The only hint was a note in the company log at Nature’s Finest Produce in Chatham about a visit by immigration officials on Sept. 25, 2012.

Nicole Stallaert, head of human resources at Nature’s Finest Produce, said she had no idea Canada Border Services Agency officers had arrested 17 of her workers that day, held them in jail and deported them.

The raid happened during a busy time when the farm was using temp agencies to hire extra workers to pick carrots, she said. None of the workers who were arrested were on the company payroll.