When: December 13, 2011 at 5:00pm
Where: Norfolk County Administration Building
50 Colborne St. South
On December 13, 2011, Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) is urging community members and allies to attend this important county council meeting and support the rights of migrant workers to live in our communities. Justicia for Migrant Workers are urging allies to provide deputations in support of the right of migrant workers. Recently in Norfolk county there has been strong opposition from local community members of Windham Centre to oppose the conversion of a former elementary school into a bunkhouse for migrant workers. Some community members have expressed concern that if migrant workers are to be permitted to live next to them the sheer number of migrants will lead to “a potential increase in crime, pressure on existing water and septic systems, and a decrease in local property values” according to the local newspaper. A resident was quoted in the same story arguing that the migrant workers should not permitted to live at the potential site because its not adjoined to the employer’s property. The resident argues “A bunkhouse is supposed to be on the property where (the workers) are employed and where they are under supervision.”
The comments are unacceptable and offensive to the dignity of the men and women who grow our food. Furthermore, these disturbing comments expose a trend of racism that appears to be too common in farming areas where the presence of migrant workers is essential to their economy. Migrant workers are welcome to toil in our fields but they are not good enough to live as our neighbours.
J4MW strongly condemns the xenophobic and racist response from the community to the tentative arrival of approximately 40 migrant workers to their community. Rather than attack the workers and deny their presence in Windham centre, J4MW is urging that:
– migrant worker rights to be respected by the community
– refocus efforts to ensure that migrant housing is protected through Landlord tenant legislation which currently excludes agricultural operations.
– bunkhouse and other migrant farmworkers housing is open to inspection from migrant rights organization such as J4MW.
– migrant workers rights at work are respected and that steps will be provided to ensure anti-reprisal measures against workers who want to complain relating to working and living conditions.
Newspapers links for references:
Migrant bunkhouse plan for Windham Centre meets with resistance-Simcoe Reformer
Company Defends Plans for Former School- Brantford Expositor
For more information