Your letters: Migrant workers must be protected
Tribunal overturns WSIB practice of cutting migrant aid, Oct. 5
What a shame it took migrant worker Michael Campbell nine years of fighting with the WSIB to be recognized by the Appeals Tribunal. We heartily agree with him that the WSIB needs to change its policy so no one else has to go through his ordeal. The WSIB “pretended” Mr. Campbell was earning wages in Ontario when he was forced back to Jamaica. He was cut off despite a life-long disability. How perverse.
To fix the horror requires the premier to step in and speak up for Ontario’s injured workers. The law that permits “deeming” that injured workers have earnings they do not have has to go. Beyond Kafkaesque is not the “fair Ontario” the premier talks about.
Karl Crevar, Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups, Hamilton
As the Star’s Sara Mojtehedzadeh reported, the failure to treat migrant workers with respect is found within inadequate existing federal and provincial legislation.
What is difficult to understand is the acceptance at both levels of government of guest labourers subjected to sexual abuse and the denial of benefits to injured workers. Their apathy is unacceptable and an embarrassment to those of us who hold to Canadian standards of fairness. Ontario does not have to wait. It can address the problem as Manitoba has.
The majority of farm owners and operators treat their workers with fairness and respect. But their good conduct is not an excuse for not policing their industry and exposing those operators and business partners who do not.
I live in Norfolk County and I am ashamed we all allow this modern-day form of slavery to flourish in our community and elsewhere. To Queen’s Park and Ottawa, fix it now.
Gord Wilson, Norfolk County
The Star series on migrant workers brings forward many concerns and it is hoped that the wrongs will be made right. In the Barrie area, we live among family farms and visit them weekly to buy produce. I will ask questions about their use of migrant workers but feel hopeful it is fair and appropriate.
My father came from a Southern Ontario farm family and the kids did all the picking. The only picking I ever did was in a backyard vegetable garden. As well as 40 hours of community service during the secondary school years, should Canadian kids be required to spend some hours picking in the fields?
Marybeth Colman, Barrie, Ont.
Migrant workers who perform a necessary function in high demand receive very little compensation for their back-breaking work. Their poor English language skills and fear of losing their jobs make them easy targets for exploitation among unscrupulous employers, who condition them to become subservient.
It’s a shame that the federal government has not yet changed the rules that could prevent most of these workers from being exploited and allow them to have easier access to becoming permanent residents. Their hard work and years of service to this country should give them the respect they deserve.
Robert Ariano, Scarborough