Our party is calling for immediate action to protect migrant workers. This comes as the provincial government announced today that health workers crossing the border and temporary foreign workers were among the reasons why our region remains in Stage 1 of the re-opening framework. The provincial government knew what was happening to migrant workers in Ontario yet took no action to protect them during the pandemic. We have proposed a series of measures that the provincial government can take right away to resolve the crisis and ensure Windsor-Essex can move to the next stage of re-opening:
• Rapidly expand testing by deploying mobile testing units directly to farms to test all workers, whether or not they have symptoms, and protecting workers from facing any repercussions from getting tested
• Provide proper accommodations for workers who need to isolate to replace the bunk houses where physical distancing is impossible
• Develop a long-term plan for the farming and food processing sector that ensures migrant workers have safe working and living conditions, and avoids any disruptions to the food supply chain in the event of a second wave of COVID-19 in the future
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex is 1,238 with 67 deaths.
The state of emergency in Ontario has been extended by another two weeks and will remain in effect until June 30, 2020.
It has been brought to our attention that essential workers who are required to cross the border on a regular basis and return to Canada can obtain a document that could potentially establish they are in fact exempt from the 14 day quarantine requirement. A request for an “exemption to the self-isolation requirement” may also be made to Public Health by sending the request to [email protected]
The request should include the following information:
• Nature of work and reason for travel
• Number of persons requesting the exemption
• Port of entry
• Time and duration of trip
Anyone requesting such an exemption should have very strong documentation regarding their role providing essential services. Such evidence may include a letter from their employer, trade union or client. We have been advised that the request may be submitted by an individual, or on behalf of multiple individuals.
Further, we also learned that the mandatory self-isolation requirement may also be waived at the port of entry, without having a written exemption from Public Health, where the Canada Border Crossing guard provides a written note accepting that the leaving of Canada, and re-entry was related to providing essential services.
We will continue to seek clarification on the reasons we are being held back so that we can find solutions to move forward.
Starting on June 22, Parks Canada will begin to re-open some camping sites across the country. As these sites reopen, the Prime Minister reminded Canadians to continue following public health recommendations.
Please continue to follow the advice of our medical professionals. Wear your mask when out in public, practice social distancing as much as possible, and continue to wash your hands frequently.