QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner made the following statement regarding protections for migrant workers.
“I appreciate that the provincial and federal governments are taking action to improve inspections and better enforce public health guidelines on farms.
Now is not the time to point fingers at public health officials, farmers or workers.
But I will continue to call on the government to provide paid leave for any worker who tests positive. Workers should not lose wages or be deported due to unsafe living conditions or lack of access to PPE, which they had no control over.
Fixing this problem in the long-term means closing the gaps in our two-tier system of workers’ rights.
Many migrant workers are afraid to speak out because they fear being deported.
We must review the terms of employment in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, which limit migrants to a single farm and leave them without a pathway to permanent residency.
These workers are essential and we must look at the root causes that have made them more vulnerable in this pandemic.”