The COVID-19 crisis has tested relationships across the country. That’s certainly the case in Ontario’s Haldimand-Norfolk County where growers have been at odds with the local public health authority and municipal leaders. At the heart of the controversy is how to safely protect temporary foreign workers in a variety of housing settings.
After months of wrangling, Schuyler Farms has withdrawn its formal request for an Appeal of the Court decision. Earlier in 2020, Brett Schuyler, with the support of other area farmers, protested the bunkhouse rule that only three seasonal workers could be housed in one building for the 14-day quarantine, regardless of the size of the space.
Apple and cherry grower Brett Schuyler called a truce on November 20, 2020 in a letter to Mayor Kristal Chopp and the local board of health. He wrote:
“Thank you for sending out the recent letter to the Right Honourable Prime Minster Trudeau and Premier Ford regarding On-Farm Housing for Migrant Farm Workers. I wholeheartedly add my support to this letter and its intent. It is important that all levels of government work with the farm community, individually as well as through the local industry organizations such as the Norfolk Federation of Agriculture and the County’s Agriculture Advisory Board.”
“I, and others in the farm community were pleased to see that your letter acknowledges the divisions created by the Section 22 order issued by the Haldimand-Norfolk Medical Officer of Health and the desire to heal, move forward and continue to support food security. A first step in this process would be to closer align with the current federal and provincial rules and to review the Section 22 order that was issued on March 24, 2020.”
“As a show of good faith and with a hope that there exists a true desire to move forward in a positive manner, Schuyler Farms has withdrawn its formal request for an Appeal of the Court decision. We are doing this at a time where it will avoid significant additional legal costs for the Health Unit.”
Source: Schuyler Farms