To the Office of the Premier of Nova Scotia, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, and the Minister of Health and Wellness:
We are writing to express our concerns about the lack of physical access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food for migrant workers in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, including those in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, while in quarantine. These concerns are based on regular accounts we have been receiving from Jamaican and Mexican migrant workers.
Their concerns include lack of access to culturally relevant food, lack of variety in food, poor quality food, and improper food preparation during quarantine in various hotels in Nova Scotia. Moreover, migrant workers at the Annapolis Basin Conference Centre in Cornwallis are being prohibited from accessing food through food delivery services. Migrant workers have been told that the only outside food sources they are permitted is that which is brought by their employers. Migrant workers are community members who contribute significantly to our food system and yet they are going hungry. There is no justification for any of these conditions.
We implore your government to address this urgent matter. In particular, we call on the Nova Scotia government to ensure:
- migrant workers are quarantined in hotels that either procure or prepare meals that are culturally relevant;
- migrant workers are provided with a choice of food, for example, a menu with three different meal options;
- that the provision of food and services to migrant workers quarantined in hotels adheres to the Nova Scotian Human Rights Act, including not limiting their access to food delivery services;
- migrant workers are quarantined in rooms equipped with a kettle and/or microwave, so that they are able to supplement their meals with foods which require heating
In closing, we urge the Nova Scotian government to take action to ensure that migrant workers are treated with dignity and not going hungry while in quarantine in this province.
Migrant Worker Rights Working Group
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