Sure, Farm Workers Can Social Distance Between Rows Of Tomatoes, But . . .

farm workers pick unknown product from between rows of green

This summer, Ontario approached a limited control of the spread of COVID-19 and began to consider phased modification of its largely voluntary lockdown. But part of the population of that province was for a time inconvenienced by migrant farm workers.

These non-citizens were apparently incapable of practicing some basic lockdown procedures. Their housing, which was provided by their employers, made it impossible to maintain social distancing. As a result they were experiencing coronavirus outbreaks that needed to be brought under control before others in the province, who had dutifully toed the lockdown line, could be released from their stay-at-home mask + 2-metre bondage.

Americans and Europeans are well-schooled in the differences between non-citizen refugees as opposed to migrant labour. Canada, isolated between oceans, ice, and the American nation, sees fewer refugees. As for migrant workers, unfortunately the citizens of Vermont and Idaho find very little reason to sneak across the border to work as undocumented labour in Canadian fields.

So in Canada we have someone to blame, and to be responsible for, the inconvenience and expense of farm worker pandemic victims — the farmers who fly them in from locations such as the Caribbean, and all levels of government who have historically overlooked the squalid seasonal living accommodations that have led to these virus outbreaks.

Would that America could so easily assign responsibility for its huge, hugely necessary, as well as hugely vulnerable population of undocumented field workers!

Read a great deal more at Mother Jones: Unsheltered in Place

LEAVE A REPLY (Only a name is needed)

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.