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Health unit revokes order pausing arrival of temporary foreign workers over COVID-19


WINDSOR, Ont. — Health officials in the Windsor, Ont., region have revoked an order that halted the arrival of temporary foreign workers for several weeks due to concerns about COVID-19 outbreaks in the agricultural sector.

The notice issued Tuesday told employers to cancel or postpone the arrival of temporary foreign workers until at least Feb. 2.

It warned that those who fail to comply with the order could face charges or fines.

On Friday, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit rescinded the order, which it said was issued in response to rapidly increasing rates of infection and evidence of spread in congregate settings.

Earlier this week, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, a group that advocates for migrant workers, had said the order suggested foreign workers are to blame for outbreaks instead of their living conditions and lack of access to supports.

The health unit says in a release that local leaders in the health care, housing, and social service community in the region have established the level of support necessary to meet isolation requirements for workers who are sick or who have been exposed.

Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, the unit's acting medical officer of health, said as a result of this increased capacity for isolation, the order has been rescinded.

"Organizations and agencies within the Health Unit, working collaboratively, have been able to arrange for a sufficient capacity of self-isolation residences and the necessary human resources to support individuals living in temporary foreign worker congregate settings who may require self-isolation," he said Friday in an update on the unit's website.

"These residences effectuate self-isolation in a safe and compassionate manner for those impacted, while also ensuring wider public health goals in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic are achieved." 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2022

The Canadian Press

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