Migrant worker group condemns Liberals' farm exemptions from public health precautions

The Trudeau Liberals' changes to assist farmer owners by having migrant workers by-pass quarantine do not protect temporary foreign workers from COVID-19, says the Migrant Workers Alliance.

CNC News

TORONTO — Changes that assist farmer owners by getting migrant workers to their job sites faster and cheaper do not protect migrant farm workers from COVID-19, says the workers' organization.

On Tuesday the Trudeau Liberals announced that migrant farm workers entering Canada will by-pass quarantine requirements if they have no COVID-19 symptoms and are taken directly from the airport to the farm they will work at. Other travellers entering Canada, whether they have symptoms or not, must quarantine at a hotel for at least three days before mixing with others.

The Migrant Workers Alliance says bringing potentially infected workers directly to farms does not make farm work safer and fails to address the need for safer housing and working conditions during the pandemic.

Migrant farm workers come to Canada each growing season to tend and harvest crops under a special work visa that limits them to working as farm labourers and are commonly housed in bunkhouses. Many public health advocates have blamed the close and confined housing as a reason migrant farm workers in Canada have been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19.

If they are fired by their farm owner, they are deported at their own expense, preventing them from speaking up about about unsafe farm conditions, says the Alliance.



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