Migrant worker vaccine a local responsibility

·1 min read

Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health is “aghast” temporary foreign workers aren’t being vaccinated against COVID-19 upon arrival in Canada.

Dr. David Colby made the comments at the regular Chatham-Kent Board of Health meeting March 17.

According to Colby many leading health and agriculture officials have urged the government to vaccinate workers at airports, but a different plan was chosen.

“No where in their policy is there any mention of vaccinating them as part of a mandatory policy,” Colby says.

Instead, it will be up to Ontario’s health units to accommodate foreign workers in Phase 2 of the ethical COVID-19 vaccine framework rollout.

There’s no hard data available but migrant workers are arriving in Chatham-Kent by the planeload with many well into their mandated 14-day quarantine.

The organizer of the Toronto-based Justice for Migrant Workers says temporary foreign workers and undocumented workers need to be prioritized for vaccinations.

Chris Ramsaroop says he realizes farm workers are part of the ethical plan but he hopes the vaccinations happen sooner than later.

“We hope it happens in the next couple of weeks, not June or July,” Ramsaroop explains, adding he hopes all Ontario health units are developing a plan.

“It can’t be an us versus them game,” he adds. “They come here to Canada to put food on our table.”

Workers are required to go directly to their place of quarantine and are not allowed to pick up supplies en route.

It is the employer’s responsibilities to ensure the workers have food and basic necessities.

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald