QUEEN’S PARK — Today in Question Period, Mike Schreiner asked the Government to protect migrant workers from deportation and lost wages if they test positive for COVID-19. [watch video here]
“If we want migrant workers to get tested, we need to give them assurances they will not lose wages or be sent home. The Premier must stop blaming farmers and workers for low test numbers and give migrant workers the protections they need,” said Schreiner.
Migrant workers are essential. They make up 42% of Ontario’s agricultural workforce, and yet they are not treated as essential. Reports are emerging of workers afraid to report illness, unsafe work conditions or unsanitary housing because they can easily be deported.
“This two-tier system of workers’ rights is leaving migrant labourers powerless and voiceless. We need major reforms to give workers the security they need to speak out and keep themselves safe from COVID-19 or any other danger,” said Schreiner.
The Government refused to commit to increasing protections for migrant farm workers, instead defending a broken system that contributed to this crisis in the first place.
“I’m disappointed the government wouldn’t commit to improving protections for farm workers. Thousands of workers come from abroad to help keep food on our plates, and this government should be doing more to protect them,” said Schreiner.