Migrant Worker Community celebrates announcement that injured migrant will receive medical surgery. Case highlights barriers faced by migrant workers to access health care in Canada.
For Immediate Release
(Toronto)- Eloid Drummond the Jamaican migrant worker who was injured in a cycling accident will finally receive surgery to heal his dislocated shoulder. Drummond’s case received widespread attention as it highlighted the barriers faced by migrant workers to access health care while in Canada. Eloid was employed under the auspices of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (CSAWP) a Federal program that brings migrant workers from the Caribbean and Mexico to work on farms across Canada. The CSAWP program is an employer driven program where migrant workers are tied to an employer and have no access to social or labour mobility rights while in Canada.
In 2010, Drummond was returning to his bunkhouse after sending money home to his family in Jamaica whena car hit his bicycle near Exerter, Ontario. Several weeks after the injury, Drummond was summoned to his employer’s office and presented with a one-way ticket to Jamaica. Drummond refused to return home and sought support and assistance in Canada. After several years of unemployment, no access to Ontario’s social safety net including OHIP, denial of health care benefits and a litany of other obstacles, Drummond has finally received word that he will receive medical coverage for the surgery. The surgery is scheduled for August 2012.
Rather than provide full access to healthcare in Canada, migrant workers are ‘repatriated’ or unilaterally sent to their home country. Injured migrant workers are often determined to have been sent home for ‘breach of contract’ ‘medical repatriation’ or ‘domestic repatriation’. If workers decide not to return home and seek medical and legal support in Canada, they are determined to have gone ‘AWOL’ from the program. AWOL means that the migrant workers’ Social Insurance Number Card (SIN) is cancelled resulting in their loss of health coverage for injuries or illness sustained in Canada. Migrant Workers injured or sick in Canada are put in a catch twenty-two position. If they returned home they may not receive adequate health coverage or if the stay in Canada, they would have to live without access to health care.
J4MW has calculated that between 1996 to 2011: 1198 migrant workers have been repatriated for medical reasons; 2923 migrant workers have been sent home for breach of contract; 4326 have been sent home for ‘domestic reasons’; 3709 migrant workers have gone ‘AWOL’ and 41 migrant workers have died while working in Ontario.
Justicia for Migrant Workers wants to congratulate Mr. Drummond for the courage and persistence that he has displayed. In countless arenas he has been a vocal critical of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (CSAWP) and the arbitrary power that employers have to send home injured migrant workers. For hespoke out not simply for justice for himself but for the countless other workers who have also been denied access to health care for injuries or illness suffered while in Canada. Plans are underway to organize a community celebration in London, Ontario to celebrate this victory.
For More Information please contact
Jessica Ponting 647 401 9611
Chris Ramsaroop 647 834 4932