Canada, June 22, 2020 — Migrant workers and our communities are mourning the death of 55-year old Juan López Chaparro, who worked at Scotlynn Farm in Norfolk County, who passed away on Saturday, June 20, 2020, while hospitalized for COVID-19. López Chaparro has been coming to Canada since 2010 and is survived by his wife and four children. He is the third Mexican migrant farmworker to die in Ontario from COVID-19, following Bonifacio Eugenio Romero and Rogelio Santos Muñoz.
Mexico said last Tuesday that it would pause sending migrant workers to farms with COVID-19 infections after the deaths of Eugenio Romero and Santos Muñoz. On Sunday, however, Mexico announced that it would resume sending migrant farm workers to Canada after the two countries reached an agreement.
Some 60,000 temporary workers came to Canada last year, 1,500 of them to Nova Scotia, including from Mexico.
For decades, migrant workers have sounded the alarm about federal and provincial laws that make it impossible for workers to protect themselves from workplace illness and to refuse unsafe work. Migrant farmworkers know that a single COVID-19 infection on a farm puts them all in immediate danger, but they cannot risk speaking out because they do not have permanent resident status. The Migrant Rights Network reiterates our call for permanent resident status for all to stop further deaths.
“Thousands of migrants across the country are in danger and farmworkers keep dying while Prime Minister Trudeau makes empty promises to do better. We need swift and comprehensive action to allow workers to protect themselves from unsafe working and housing conditions, and that means full and permanent immigration status for all immediately,” says Syed Hussan, executive director of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.
Migrant Rights Network will be presenting to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities on Monday, June 22, 2020 at 2pm EST on Government’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic outlining migrant and undocumented people’s concerns and needs.