June 12th, 2020

Natyshak: Lack of leadership is putting more lives at risk in Essex

Funding to address COVID-19 hotspots among migrant workers doesn’t come with any directives or rules

ESSEX – NDP MPP Taras Natyshak (Essex) is urging Doug Ford and his public health team to take action to finally get a grip on the COVID-19 outbreaks among migrant farm workers before more lives are lost. On Friday, the provincial government allocated a pitiful $7,500 per farm without putting any concrete directives in place regarding personal protective equipment, bunkhouses, sanitation or anything else.

“Two migrant workers have died, hundreds more are infected, and the migrant worker hotspots in Essex and Chatham-Kent are forcing our community to remain in lockdown,” said Natyshak. “Cutting cheques to farmers and leaving it up them to handle this public health emergency on their own is a disastrous plan.

“This lack of leadership cannot continue. While Doug Ford and those at the top take a hands-off approach, migrant workers have been left needlessly exposed to this deadly virus. We need urgent action, directives, rules, and boots on the ground. We need an ‘all hands on deck’ approach, not the current leadership’s ‘hands-off’ strategy.”

Natyshak says Ford must immediately mandate quarantine protocols including guaranteed paid sick days, PPE supplied to all workers, and proper alternative accommodation to the cramped bunk houses that have allowed the virus to spread like wildfire. Natyshak is also calling for mobile testing units to be deployed to proactively tests on farms.

“Here in Essex, we’re fed up of hearing the empty promises on Ford’s daily talk show. The people of Essex need hands-on leadership and real action to deal with these outbreaks.” said Natyshak.