On Friday June 28, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal will hold the last hearing on Mr. Ned Livingston Peart’s case. Mr. Peart, a migrant worker who came to Canada through the Commonwealth Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Program (CSAWP), was crushed to death in 2002 while working on a tobacco farm near Brantford. When the Peart family requested a coroner’s inquest into his death their request was denied.
The Office of Chief Coroner had stated that it was satisfied with the police report that the accident was a result of Mr. Peart’s actions and thus no investigation was needed. With the help of Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW), the Peart family continued pushing for a coroner’s inquest to no avail. Finally in 2005 the family and J4MW filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal claiming that the Coroner’s Act was being applied in a discriminatory way with regards to migrant workers, as the province demands mandatory inquests for some workers and excludes others.
According to J4MW the death of a migrant worker has never been the subject of a coroner’s inquest. CSAWP migrant workers are caught in a cycle of permanent recruitment where they may never obtain citizenship rights or job security. They can be dismissed/repatriated to their home country for any reason without recourse, which can include situations where workers are injured or raise concerns about their safety.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program needs fundamental reforms to address workers’ precarious immigration status, and to permit workers to access basic rights and entitlements. Equal treatment under the Coroner’s Act is also absolutely necessary, to expose unacceptable working conditions which may endanger these workers.
A rally will be held outside the hearing this Friday June 28. Please join us. Visit this site for more information.
WAC is a member of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change and is active in the fight for stronger rights and protections for all migrant workers.