While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not provide an update this morning, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced his intention to allow most areas of Windsor-Essex to move to Stage Two starting tomorrow, and a three-point plan to help the rest of the region move out of Stage One.
As the state of emergency is extended to July 15th, Cabinet is convening today with the intention of allowing areas of the Windsor-Essex region to enter Stage Two of the Framework for Reopening our Province effective June 25 at 12:01 a.m. Leamington and Kingsville will be not be allowed to reopen with the rest of the region at this time.
Three-Point Plan for Farmers in Windsor-Essex
Premier Ford’s three-point plan to help Leamington and Kingsville progress to Stage Two includes expanded testing on all farms, support for migrant workers who contracted COVID-19 and a new public health guidance for asymptomatic workers. Ford promised temporary workers that “no one will lose their job if you have COVID-19” and added that no one will be sent home if they test positive.
Ford added workers who have to self-isolate for 14 days will be eligible for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board benefits and some workers may be eligible for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit if they have a Social Insurance Number and worked in Canada last year. Additionally, the new public health protocols will provide guidance on how to allow workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 but show no symptoms to continue to work safely outdoors in isolation.
Monte McNaughton, the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, also announced a partnership between his ministry and federal inspectors and local public health officials to conduct joint inspections on farms in the Windsor-Essex region. McNaughton also urged employers who need additional help adjusting to the current conditions to explore the nearly 200 resources on the province’s COVID safety website, found here.
Thank a Migrant Worker
While fielding media questions, Ford condemned any incidents of racism that are being directed towards migrant workers. The Premier said anyone who eats Ontario fruits and vegetables can do so because of the hard work of these workers. “If you see a migrant worker, maybe you should go up and say thank you, because they are working their backs off for you,” Ford said.