Shots for migrant workers

·1 min read

Local officials are hoping incoming Temporary Foreign Workers will be vaccinated at the airport upon arriving in Canada.

Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health says he’s made the recommendation to top officials in the federal government.

“We’re hoping for that,” Colby says.

Mayor Darrin Canniff, who was part of a virtual meeting with Ontario Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman last week, says the airport vaccination proposal was discussed.

“It’s a huge issue and absolutely critical,” Canniff says, adding the labour undertaken by migrant workers is essential by nature.

There seems to be hope migrant workers will be among the first to be vaccinated. The province outlined the second phase of its vaccine rollout Friday and migrant workers coming into the province are slated to be vaccinated as early as April.

Southwestern Ontario is now preparing for the thousands of migrant workers that will soon pour into Canada. Farmers are preparing for a season where they have to follow stringent pandemic protocols.

Even though it hasn’t made the news, COVID-19 is still very much present in the province’s agricultural community.

Chatham-Kent’s farming community has been spared in the later half of the pandemic, but there were 18 outbreaks in the province as of Friday.

According to Ministry of Health data, there were 400 cases of COVID-19 in migrant workers in Dec. 2020, an additional 420 cases in January 2021 and 165 in February.

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald