Leamington, Ont., rallies behind migrant workers as 96 farm workers test positive for Coronavirus

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Leamington, Ont., rallies behind migrant workers as 96 farm workers test positive for Coronavirus
Leamington, Ont., rallies behind migrant workers as 96 farm workers test positive for Coronavirus

A caravan rolled through Leamington on Sunday in support of migrant workers.

Around 75 people joined organizer Elizabeth Ha to shine awareness on migrant worker’s keeping food flowing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event called on all levels of government to improve living conditions for migrant workers that Ha says has been an issue long before the pandemic shone a light on it.

Ha says the migrant workers aren’t to blame, they came here with a clean bill of health and wound up contracting the virus from our community.

She tells AM800 News the workers power Canada’s farm economy and need to have rights that allow them to fight for change while they’re here.

“We want them to know that we stand in solidarity with them and we’re going to continue to be on their side,” she says. “We’re going to push the government to ensure that they’re not being sent home.”

She hopes the rally will boost morale at area farms and gets the provinces attention.

“We appreciate the work that they do and we know that it’s hard and we know that they’re not being protected by the government or their employer and that’s why this is happening,” added Ha, who added that the rally was in part an education experience to let everyone what workers deal with.

She says walking off the job because you feel unsafe is a privilege Canadians enjoy, that same action could result in the worker being sent home without cause.

“Migrant workers have no choice and even if they test positive and they give them their own room, are still going to share the bathroom, are they using the same kitchen,” she says. “So they can come out and say that person has been quarantined, but to what extent?”

The event comes on the same day as the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 96 new cases of COVID-19 among farm workers.

Close to 500 people from the agri-farm sector have tested positive for the virus in the past 30 days.

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