Bonduelle pulls migrant worker housing application

Bonduelle officials say it has withdrawn its application to turn part of its industrial land into housing for migrant farm workers from its plant in Tecumseh.
(CBC News)

Bonduelle's vice president of operations said the company has withdrawn its application to turn part of its industrial land into housing for migrant farm workers at its plant in Tecumseh. 

Rob Anderson said Wednesday the company pulled the application because it was disappointed by the public's reaction to adding residences for up to 60 seasonal migrant workers.

The Mayor of Tecumseh Gary McNamara said Wednesday the town had not been informed that Bonduelle had pulled the application. 

Anderson said the company will now review all its options at the plant, including increasing productivity. 

When Bonduelle first discussed the plan with town officials the company said the new residences would help protect seasonal migrant workers, who are being driven back and forth in a van from their housing in Windsor.

Bonduelle, which is the largest employer in Tecumseh, needed permission from the town to convert part of its industrial land  into residences. 

Important workers aren't isolated 

Bonduelle's initial proposal drew criticism from a social justice group with a mandate to protect migrant workers.

"On one side it's important that workers aren't segregated in the work place," said Chris Ramsaroop from Justice for Migrant Workers. 

"We have to look at making sure that anywhere where migrant worker housing is provided, that it comes with a series of protections and that's what needs to be the next step in whatever Bonduelle decides to do," he said. 

Some of the protections Ramsaroop said should be in place include ensuring workers live in decent housing, that they're not isolated on the plant's property and that the community holds special forums to address the stereotypes expressed about migrant workers. 

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