Jeleel Stewart, another migrant worker who Canada threw away
By Jane Andres, Apple Hollow Bed and Breakfast, Niagara on the Lake
Please take a few minutes to watch the above video. It is a story that is still unfolding. These children that will be going to bed hungry tonight…..
We own a B+B in Niagara on the Lake surrounded by orchards and vineyards. We are passionate about supporting local farms and have also become good friends with many of the farm workers from the Caribbean. We have travelled to Jamaica on five occasions staying with the families and getting to know our “neighbours” better.
In 2007 one of our friends, Jeleel Stewart, was seriously injured when a forklift dropped on his hand at a local nursery, crushing it and severing the nerves and tendons. He underwent extensive surgery and returned to Jamaica where he received compensation and therapy through WSIB.
In October 2010 he received a letter from WSIB stating that his injuries were declared permanent by the doctor. It said that there are jobs available as a cashier at gas bars in Niagara paying $340 weekly and that he would no longer qualify for compensation because of the availability of employment.
The problem is he lives in Jamaica. In 2010 they lost their home and were force to move to the country where they built a little shelter out of boards they had salvaged. The WSIB policy of deeming is causing incredible hardship on the family. Jeleel is in increasing pain and can no longer grasp even a glass of water. The pain has now travelled into his shoulder and back, shooting down his left leg. Last week he was unable to walk. Sleep has become impossible. His wife is sick with worry, constantly anxious about how to make the food stretch, how to come up with more than $400 Canadian every month for transportation for the children to attend school.
Another couple in our neighbourhood, the Parkers, and my husband and I send money down every few weeks, otherwise their children would starve. We have been faithful but are being stretched financially to keep up this commitment to a very fine man and his wonderful family. We have visited the family in 2009, 2010 and 2012 and verify the depth of their suffering.
It is an unbelievable this tragedy that is unfolding because of policy created by our own Canadian government and WSIB. Change cannot come fast enough for this family. They have been living too long in despair.
Contact Jane if you would like to support this family in any way: firstname.lastname@example.org or IAVGO: http://www.iavgo.org/
Toronto Star article about Jeleel Stewart’s case: