Windsor·Video

Information revealed about video showing alleged local migrant worker living conditions

A migrant worker advocacy group that shared a video earlier this week highlighting living conditions at a Canadian agrifood facility published a statement on Thursday alleging that the video shows conditions at a Double Diamond bunkhouse in Windsor-Essex. 

Video shows multiple people living in single room, separated by cardboard dividers

A migrant worker advocacy group is calling on provincial- and federal-level reforms after circulating a video showing alleged living conditions at a Windsor-Essex facility. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

A migrant worker advocacy group that shared a video earlier this week highlighting alleged living conditions at a Canadian agrifood facility published a statement on Thursday claiming that the video shows conditions at a Double Diamond bunkhouse in Windsor-Essex. 

According to the Justice for Migrant Workers advocacy group, the video was originally shared with the organization by a migrant worker living in the bunkhouse. 

The video itself shows a room housing 12 people, separated by little more than cardboard dividers. 

WATCH | Video showing alleged living conditions at Windsor-Essex bunkhouse:

Chris Ramsaroop, an organizer for Justice for Migrant Workers, said his organization "checked with several workers" to determine the veracity of the video. 

"Several days ago, a migrant farm worker was concerned about the conditions at his bunkhouse so exposed it," Ramsaroop said. "He wanted the world to know the condition that the agricultural workers are facing in our own backyard and our own communities."

Double Diamond is currently a partner of Aphria Inc., a Canadian cannabis company with greenhouse facilities in Leamington. 

In 2013, Double Diamond faced a human rights complaint after a migrant worker said he faced racial abuse — including racial slurs — at the facility. 

The company was ordered to pay $23,500 as a result of the complaint. 

CBC News has contacted Double Diamond for comment. A representative for the company said there was no information to be provided. 

Advocacy group calling on reforms at provincial, federal level

Ramsaroop said his organization is calling on both the provincial and federal governments to institute reforms aimed at better protecting migrant workers. 

"Consistently we've seen both the federal [and] provincial government continue to deny the existence of problems that migrant farm workers are facing," he said.

Ramsaroop said workers at both Aphria and Double Diamond are looking for hazard pay, a better plan to deal with COVID-19, as well as better housing conditions.

Chris Ramsaroop with Justice for Migrant Workers said temporary foreign workers should recieve wage increases like other essential workers in the province. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

"This is an entire system that is fundamentally flawed," Ramsaroop said. "I think what this is is a call to action, both at the provincial and federal level of governments, to change the housing conditions that agricultural workers endure."

He added that the provincial government would be able to improve conditions by ensuring the inspection of bunkhouses by occupational health and safety inspectors.

"And at the federal level, making sure that these workers don't face reprisals and aren't sent home for speaking up for their right," Ramsaroop said. 

With files from Jacob Barker and Chris Ensing

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