QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Percy Hatfield (Windsor—Tecumseh) has demanded immediate action from the Ford government to protect migrant agri-food workers during the second wave of the pandemic.
In the first wave of COVID-19, migrant workers in the province were among the hardest hit with three deaths and hundreds infected. Unlike other provincial governments, the Ford government failed to take pro-active measures to ensure these workers and these communities would be protected.
“The government’s response at that time was to allow them to keep working if they were infected and asymptomatic. Hundreds were contagious – three migrant workers died in Ontario”, said Hatfield.
“What is the government’s plan today to get ahead and stay ahead of this next wave when it comes to the men and women from other countries working in our fields and greenhouses?,” Hatfield asked during question period at the Ontario legislature Tuesday.
The spike in cases last week identified nearly 50 new COVID-19 cases in the agri-food sector, and there were another three cases confirmed yesterday in Essex County.
“Municipal leaders say provincial leadership was missing in action for most of the first wave of COVID-19 cases,” said Hatfield. “Will the government commit today to invest in the resources needed to make sure migrant farm workers in Ontario have adequate sick pay and safe accommodations, and that farmers have the support they need to ensure the safety of our local food supply?,” Hatfield asked.