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Daily Bread | COVID19 Announcements

Protecting the Health and Safety of Migrant Farm Workers

August 17, 2020

Migrant farm workers are essential in maintaining food supply for Canadians, particularly during this pandemic. In 2017, migrant workers made up 41.6% of all agricultural workers in Ontario. However, migrant farm workers have not received adequate protections, and have been especially susceptible to exploitation and COVID-19. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, over 1,100 migrant workers in Ontario have been diagnosed with COVID-19, resulting in 3 deaths.  

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has had 32 COVID-19 related complaints regarding the migrant farm worker program since March, but has not issued any formal notice of violations. However, an external investigation by the Globe and Mail into farm conditions in June, revealed overcrowded housing, bed bugs, broken toilets, cockroaches, and sheets as well as cardboard used for physical distancing. The Migrant Workers Alliance created a COVID-19 hotline, which received complaints from 316 workers who were underpaid and 538 workers reported lacking access to food. Another 160 complaints were from migrants not able to maintain physical distancing. A significant number (110) of workers reported a lack of access to healthcare services.  

Not all agricultural workers in Ontario are afforded the same level of employment protections. Agricultural workers are entitled to protection under the Employment Standards Act (ESA), as well as the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act. However, there is a distinction between growers and harvesters; growers are not entitled to important rights under the ESA, such as the right to: minimum wage, limits on the number of hours worked, time off between shifts, overtime pay, or eating periods.  

All employees should have equal rights and be treated equally. It is critical that the Provincial government and Federal Government work together to treat migrant agricultural workers fairly by ensuring effective access to health care and complaint mechanisms, as well as by conducting random in-person inspections. 

We recommend that the Province extend the same labour protections that Ontarians receive, to migrant agricultural workers, including protections from hazardous conditions. All employees in the province have equal protections under the law, regardless of their work visa. 

Monetary Donations

You can support our ongoing efforts in providing food to those who need it most during this challenging time.

 

Online Food Donations

Order online from your favourite grocery store and have items delivered directly to our warehouse:
191 New Toronto Street, Toronto, ON, M8V 2E7.

Drop-off Food Donations

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Click here for a list of our most needed items.

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Past Announcements

New Toronto Street Food Bank Responds to the Second Lockdown

January 20, 2021

Back in the spring when COVID-19 hit, we were fortunate that the weather was warm,… Read More

Health and safety of migrant workers: Considerations for the 2021 growing season

January 8, 2021

Migrant farm workers comprise 42% of Ontario’s agricultural workers and are essential to… Read More

Daily Bread Food Bank Webinar - Beyond COVID-19: Building a Future Without Poverty

December 10, 2020

Daily Bread Food Bank released our annual Who’s Hungry report, a cornerstone of Daily Bread’s… Read More

Rising Cost of Groceries Increases Risk of Food Insecurity

December 9, 2020

According to the latest Canada Food Price Report, Canadian families can expect… Read More

Agency Spotlight: Grace Place

November 10, 2020

When COVID-19 hit Toronto, and lines of people began waiting for food in front of… Read More

Daily Bread Food Bank Meal Program Update

November 10, 2020

Part of Daily Bread Food Bank’s revised strategy to continue to meet… Read More

Updates to our New Toronto Street Food Bank

November 10, 2020

Daily Bread Food Bank believes that food is a human right and we have adopted a … Read More

What Ontario’s Fall Budget Means for Poverty Reduction

November 6, 2020

Yesterday, the Government of Ontario released their Fall 2020 budget entitled… Read More