Justice for Migrant Workers Calls for Immediate Closure of Agi-Farm Sector

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Justice for Migrant Workers is calling for the immediate shutdown of the entire agricultural industry.

In an emergency statement issued Monday, the group is calling for the closure "until every workplace is fully sanitized and safety measures are put in place to ensure that the workers are not working and living under risk to their life and health."

More than 1,000 farm workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 province wide over the past month and representative Chis Ramsaroop believes no one seems to really care.

"I think there's a general frustration over the lack of action we've seen both provincially and federal governments to protect the interest of agricultural workers," he says.

Ramsaroop says activists have been pleading with all levels of government since the pandemic began - and it's falling on deaf ears.

"Community groups have been putting pressure and saying that these are the issues that should be addressed by providing reforms to our occupational health and safety, federal changes, and to this date those demands have been ignored," says Ramsaroop.

Our demands:

  1.  full access to all benefits, healthcare and application of all labour standards that Canadian workers are entitled to
  2. Non-discriminatory testing across the entire community and food chain.
  3. all workers tested positive must get the benefits of full quarantine even if they are asymptomatic
  4. Permanent residence status to all workers with temporary or undocumented status

Asymptomatic workers should be off sick and paid and moved from cramped bunkhouses, according to Ramsaroop.

"Steps need to be undertaken to protect workers both in the bunkhouses, but also within the greenhouses as well too. We cannot continue production as is as more and more workers are getting sick and more people are put in these precarious and dangerous conditions," he added.

In the statement, the group is calling for all workers to be paid full salaries during the entire shut down.

They also demand they're placed into hotels and motels and provided individual rooms to prevent the further spread of the pandemic.

Workers should also not be subject to reprisals and sent home for demanding fair working and living conditions.