Crops soak up the sun at an Essex County, ON farm on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. (Ricardo Veneza / CTV Windsor)

Windsor West MP Brian Masse called on the federal government Wednesday to continue to fund the temporary foreign workers’ isolation and recovery centre.

Wednesday marks the last day the Red Cross, with federal funds, is operating the centre. The City of Windsor announced it was willing to take over operations but need support from provincial and federal governments.

“As we are now in the second wave of the COVID pandemic, the need for services and facilities that were essential in first wave continues,” Masse said in a news release. “Migrant farm workers are integral and essential for Canada’s food supply. The isolation centre to help combat COVID-19 is a fundamental public health measure and will be part of the strategy to address it.”

The federal government has paid the Canadian Red Cross to manage the isolation and recovery centre for temporary foreign workers, the city voted on Sept. 14 in favour of taking over operations when the funding arrangement with the Red Cross expires on Sept. 30.

The city has called on upper levels of government to continue funding the operation.

“The Red Cross has done a great job and now the City willing to take over its operation is demonstrating local leadership. The federal government must continue to fund this centre since it is their responsibility,” Masse stated.

He says the federal government has not announced any new funding to date to support the city.

Due to COVID-19 they were required to isolate for 14 days upon arrival. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on agri-farm workers with several outbreaks happening on Windsor-Essex farms. Two men, 31-year-old Bonifacio Eugenio Romero and 24-year-old Rogelio Muñoz Santos both came from Mexico to work died in Windsor of COVID-19.

“This public health crisis has exposed how dire the situation is. We don’t need to have any more tragedies due to neglect and inaction as we did earlier this year,” Masse said. “The federal government needs to protect migrant farm workers who are essential to all Canadians. The city has stepped in to fill the void. The funds are available to do this now. The Liberals need act instead of talk.”