Hundreds of migrant workers from Trinidad and Tobago are stuck in Haldimand and Norfolk, in Canada, and can’t go back home because of the coronavirus health emergency
Hundreds of migrant workers from Trinidad and Tobago are stuck in Haldimand and Norfolk, in Canada, and can’t go back home because of the coronavirus health emergency, CBC reported today quoting the area’s medical officer of health. Diplomatics are trying to solve the matter, which includes a provision for testing before the workers can leave Canada, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, medical officer of health with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit explained to the media.
During a press conference on Monday, the doctor affirmed his concern that the return of more of 100 farm migrant workers to home is delayed by administrative rules related to the ongoing public health emergency. Dr. Shanker Nesathurai indicated that more than 100 workers are touched in the two countries only. Syed Hussan, executive director of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, confirmed that the number is likely to jump to “hundreds” across the region, though an exact amount is tricky to estimate.
Tens of thousands of migrant farm workers come to Canada each year, but the coronavirus pandemic exposed issues with an outdated program that leave workers vulnerable. Watch what it’s like to work in Canadian fields on Monday at 9 p.m. on @CBC TV & Gem. @cbcmarkkelley pic.twitter.com/SIJYhBGmMA— The Fifth Estate (@cbcfifth) November 26, 2020
The officials warned that these migrant workers from Trinidad and Tobago don’t have access to financial supports as many of them lost their work due to COVID-19. Also, some of them have to either pay rent or for meals while they’re trapped in Canada, and Hussan said the federal government is ultimately responsible for ensuring that they get their rights and benefits.
Human Rights organizations and medical staff called the government of Canada to take fast response to guarantee that the migrant workers stuck there can go back home as soon as possible and reunite with their families. Employment and Social Development Canada is informed of the circumstances of the farm workers and is cooperating with other federal bureaus, local officials and diplomatics so that they can return to Trinidad and Tobago as soon as possible, the spokesperson Isabelle Maheu said.
Charlie showed us how he harvests turnips. He's paid piece rate – he earns $1.50 every 2 buckets. He is the fastest in his crew and averages 24-26 buckets/hr.— United Farm Workers (@UFWupdates) November 23, 2020
Rushing without skill could easily cost you a finger. pic.twitter.com/myfwdpi1Ke
That work includes ensuring admittance to the protection and financial supports they’re qualified to, Maheu indicated. Adding that if necessary, the State can consider alternatives on letting the workers demand to extend their immigration status, be covered by health care and other services. Also, to get access to various assistance while they remain in Canada.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago collected many administrative processes for migrant farm workers in Canada as the coronavirus is spreading in their country. While the return of these migrants is a federal responsibility, Nesathurai said local farmers and employers also have a part to perform. He invited them to guarantee that housing is sufficient for people living during the colder winter in Canada, providing help to the most vulnerable until they can return home.