QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released this statement after a third seasonal farm worker died from COVID-19:
“It’s time to start treating seasonal farm workers as essential, not invisible.
This pandemic has exposed the inequality between how we treat migrant workers and local workers.
It is not fair that seasonal workers might be afraid to report an illness or might be living and working in unsafe conditions that they cannot speak out about.
We must close the gap in our two-tier system of workers’ rights and prioritize the health and safety of these workers who are so critical to our food supply.
I am calling on the Government to take the following actions:
- Provide adequate PPE to all farm workers;
- Increase inspections of farms and living quarters;
- Send out mobile COVID-19 testing units to high-risk farms;
- Review Ontario’s labour laws to increase protections for migrant farm workers;
- Create a provincial housing standard to ensure safe living conditions; and
- Work with Ottawa on a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship