London·Updated

Mexican farm worker dies in Leamington, Ont.

A farm worker from Mexico has died with his Leamington, Ont. employer planning to cover the costs of repatriating his body.

The worker was an employee of Highline Mushrooms, which has been in operation since 1961

The growing rooms at Highline Mushrooms are about 24 metres deep. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

An agricultural worker from Mexico died while off the job Wednesday in Leamington, Ont., leaving colleagues grieving the loss and the company trying to help the family. 

The worker was employed by Highline Mushrooms located in an agricultural part of southern Ontario where migrant and seasonal workers are often brought in to pick mushrooms. 

"Everyone at Highline is devastated by the sudden and unexpected passing of our employee [on Wednesday]," Highline director of human resources Susan McBride Friesen wrote in a statement to CBC News.

"We are providing counselling support to his Highline friends and co-workers. Our deepest condolences and support are extended to his family and friends. We do not have clear information surrounding the events as his passing occurred after work and away from our farm." 

"Out of respect for the privacy of his family, we will not provide any personal information regarding our employee."

Sources say the man was in his late 20s and the company says he had worked at Highline for more than two years. He was considered a "temporary worker" by the Mexican consulate.

Company to match funds for family

The company will pay for the repatriation of the worker's body to Mexico, and is working with the recruitment agency that brought him to Ontario to help the family with arrangements. 

Workers have life insurance and a fundraiser has been started by Highline employees that will be matched by the company, McBride Friesen said.

The money raised will go to the worker's family, she added. 

Officials say Highline's mushroom facilities are indoors and there are no hourly quotas for workers. While unable to release details of how the man died, it confirms his death was unrelated to his job.   

Clarifications

  • A previous version of this story identified the man who died as a "migrant worker." He was a temporary foreign worker.
    Jul 05, 2019 9:57 AM ET
  • The photo used in the original version of this story was stock footage and was not taken at a Highline facility.
    Jul 11, 2019 2:19 PM ET