Justice for Migrant Workers continue to fight for the rights of local migrant workers
Justice for Migrant Workers, a political collective organizing with migrant agricultural workers in Ontario, continues to fight for the rights of migrant workers in Windsor and Essex County.
This organization works with migrant farmworkers to help advocate for systemic changes in Canada's treatment of workers and is looking to propose a new bylaw to protect these workers.
A bylaw is already in place, however it does not apply to migrant workers housing, and the current bylaw provides protections to workers for overcrowding and proximity to harmful substances.
Organizers for Justice for Migrant Workers attended a public Kingsville community meeting to discuss the need for a new bylaw to address the gap in migrant farmworkers’ protections with respect to accommodations.
Chris Ramsaroop, an organizer with Justice for Migrant Workers, says there are many issues that are neglected in the bylaw that already exists including pest and rodent infestations, lack of privacy, malfunctioning equipment, heating and cooling issues, insufficient number of hygienic facilities, as well as bunkhouses that are not fit for housing.
He says what would need to be done if the new presented bylaw does get passed by council.
"If this bylaw does get passed, what enforcement mechanisms, what resources are going to be provided to ensure that enforcement is meaningful and effective, and that workers do not face reprisals, and do not lose their jobs as a result of trying to exert their rights."
He says what Justice for Migrant Workers will be doing in the meantime while they wait for the new bylaw to be addressed at council.
"So it's going to be to continue to work with migrant workers to try to ensure that they're voices can be part of this process, working with allies who amplify the message of workers, and to ensure that any bylaw that is passed occurs and enacted in the interest of workers and not simply that of the industry."
Ramsaroop adds that he wants the community to be more aware of the conditions migrant workers are facing every single day.
"You know, people across Windsor-Essex, this is not simply just an issue of Kingsville, but anybody who's concerned about migrant workers rights and the fact that they're still subjective to deplorable housing, should be involved in this process to ensure that there is fairness and dignity for the people who pick our fruits and vegetables."
A new proposed bylaw will be presented to Kingsville council at a later date.
The specific date is undetermined, however it was estimated to be in September.