Canada

'He was a good and caring person,' says wife of migrant worker who died of COVID-19 on Ontario farm

The wife of 31-year-old Bonifacio Eugenio-Romero, a Mexican migrant worker who died of COVID-19 while working on a southwestern Ontario farm has provided information about her husband for the first time since his death last month.

Wife of 31-year-old Bonifacio Eugenio-Romero speaks out about her late husband

Bonifacio Eugenio-Romero, 31, seen here with wife, Juana Vazquez, died while working on a farm in southwestern Ontario on May 30. He came to Canada from Mexico as part of the temporary foreign worker program. (Submitted by Juana Vazquez)

The wife of 31-year-old Bonifacio Eugenio-Romero, a Mexican migrant worker who died of COVID-19 while labouring on a southwestern Ontario farm last month, said her husband was a "good and caring person." 

"He was a man of values. He was humble, responsible, empathetic, generous, a person full of patience and trust in others," said Juana Vazquez. 

It's the first time she's provided information about her husband to Canadian media since Eugenio-Romero died May 30 in the Windsor-Essex region.

The statement to CBC News was provided by Santiago Escobar, who is representing the family and is also a national representative for United Food and Commercial Workers Canada.

He said Eugenio-Romero's body is still in Canada.

"He was a good and caring person. Very responsible at work and at home. Very respectful and loved by people in his hometown in Puebla State," said Vazquez. "He was always honest, altruistic and above all, optimistic in various situations."

The couple have been married for three years and did not have any children. 

Vazquez said there was a large tribute for Romero in his hometown of Santa Inés Borbolla, in central Mexico about two weeks ago.

She said many local residents attended the memorial, despite fears of COVID-19. She called it "a beautiful farewell organized by the people."

'A man of values'

According to Vazquez, her husband was from an "economically humble town" and when he heard about the temporary foreign workers program in Canada, he didn't think twice about it. 

Vazquez said Eugenio-Romero wanted to support his family for a better future.

Bonifacio Eugenio-Romero sent this photo to his wife, Juana Vazquez, on April 11 while working in a greenhouse in Kingsville, Ont. (Submitted by Juana Vazquez)

Eugenio-Romero was working at Woodside Greenhouses Inc. Pepper farm in Kingsville, Ont.

As of Friday, the company has reported five cases of COVID-19 to the province's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Eugenio-Romero was the first migrant worker in Ontario to die of COVID-19 where the virus has spread to other southwestern farms.

A second migrant worker, Rogelio Muñoz Santos, died June 5 from COVID-19. He was 24 years old.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, said Eugenio-Romero had no underlying health issues and was self-isolating in a hotel room before he was transported by EMS to the hospital, where he died.

According to Escobar, Romero's body will be buried once returned to Mexico.

About the Author

Laura Clementson is a journalist with CBC News. She can be reached at laura.clementson@cbc.ca. Follow Laura on Twitter @LauraClementson.

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