Ontario farms, leaders react to Mexico’s decision to keep workers from coming to Canada
Mexico is temporarily preventing its workers from coming to Canada, but only farms with COVID-19 outbreaks will be affected by the ruling, according to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
Paul Procyk of Procyk Farms Ltd. In Wilsonville says he was alarmed to hear the news at first, but was relieved learning his farm would be unaffected.
“We currently have some workers in isolation,” he said. “We have workers that already have airlines booked for them to come later on in July.”
He adds that,if the ruling changes by then, he’ll have to look locally and abroad for workers in order to get their work done.
Farms like Scotlynn Group in Norfolk County, however, may feel a financial impact from the recent decision.
“We don’t have enough local resources to be able to handle these situations,” said Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp in an interview with CTV on Wednesday. “We have been warning of this from the beginning.”
The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change is calling for more protection after releasing a detailed report on risk factors in the industry.
“It doesn’t protect workers who are already in the country,” said Syed Hussan of the alliance. “Workers know that the housing conditions are such that if one person gets sick, everybody will get sick.”
Chris van den Heuvel of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture says they had close to 70,000 foreign workers in the country in 2019.
“The federal government needs to find a way to reassure the Mexican government the migrant workers will be looked after here,” said Chopp. “They are extremely valued.”
The mayor is also calling on the Ontario government to create a system, similar to other provinces, which oversees the quarantine of infected workers.