TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - August 11, 2016) - Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) is urging the province to undertake proactive inspections of agricultural workplaces and to implement heat stress regulations to protect farm workers toiling under these harsh conditions.
There are no industry specific regulations in agriculture to protect farm workers toiling in Ontario fields. J4MW is urging the province to take similar steps to California which has enacted occupational health and safety provisions that require employers to provide shade, adequate drinking water and frequent rest periods to protect farm workers working during heat waves.
This season there has already been an alarming number of heat warnings issued by Environment Canada. Anecdotally, J4MW has received reports of several workers fainting at work because of heat levels.
"Special attention has been placed on protecting pets, livestock, children and the elderly however no such warnings have been put forth to call to safeguard this predominantly racialized agricultural workforce," says Chris Ramsaroop, Organizer with Justicia for Migrant Workers.
Migrant farm workers face additional barriers to working safely because they are tied to their employers and subjected to reprisals, termination and repatriation if they stand up for their rights.
The Ministry of Labour should implement heat stress regulations for agricultural workers and do a series of proactive inspections to identify employers who put the well being of migrant farm workers in jeopardy. The MOL should also work with community groups to create mechanisms where migrant workers can bring forth complaints without fear of reprisals.