Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

News COVID-19 Updates Labour
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit limits TFW numbers in transit


March 16, 2021
By Fruit and Vegetable

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Migrant workers from Mexico maintain social distancing as they wait to be transported to Québec farms on April 14, 2020 in Montréal. Photo courtesy of THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz.

Farmers in Haldimand-Norfolk, Ont., who hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs) will be obligated to pick them up from the airport in groups of one to three, rather than the usual, more efficient transportation methods.

The new order comes from Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Haldimand-Norfolk’s medical officer of health, in an effort to prevent workers from several different farms having to quarantine longer or getting sick due to one positive COVID-19 test.

“These individuals are arriving at the airport, they get a COVID test, then they board the bus with other workers. Those buses travel to multiple farms and [the workers] arrive at their self-isolation residence, be that at the farm or at a hotel,” Nesathurai says in a statement to the press.

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“Then, a few days later, we get the results of the test completed at the airport, and the test turns out to be positive. We’ve had this [happen] on a number of occasions. If the test is positive, the people on the bus are determined to be close contacts.”

He adds that the health unit has requested farmers be compensated for the additional travel expenses by the Ontario government.

Nesathurai has maintained a hard line on housing regulations for TFWs since the pandemic began. His orders are often more stringent than those established by the Ontario or Canadian governments, drawing the ire of many local farmers. |READ MORE