Ottawa extends funding for Windsor-Essex COVID-19 isolation centre

·1 min read

Federal funding to operate a COVID-19 isolation and recovery centre for agricultural workers in Windsor-Essex has been extended.

The 117-bed facility, which is operated by the City of Windsor with the Canadian Red Cross, will receive federal funding to operate until the end of March, according to a media release Friday from the office of Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also referenced the new funding in his remarks during an update on the pandemic Friday.

Overall, the Red Cross is receiving $135 million from the federal government this fiscal year to support its relief efforts across the country. Officials can't say exactly how much money is being committed in Friday's announcement, since the cost of operating the centre will depend on how it's used, according to a spokesperson for Kusmierczyk.

The renewal of the funding comes ahead of the arrival of many temporary foreign workers in the agri-farm sector.

"Windsor-Essex will welcome thousands of new agricultural workers in the coming weeks and months," Kusmierczyk said in a statement.

"This critical federal funding will provide local health officials with a reliable isolation site for those who are unable to quarantine safely at home."

Migrant workers in the region's agricultural sector were hit hard by COVID-19 outbreaks last year, prompting a crisis that drew attention to the treatment and conditions faced by workers who come to Canada to harvest crops every year.

Two workers in the region lost their lives to the illness.