Event to be held on April 3, 2022.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Image via www.unsplash.com
On Sunday, April 3 at the Roma Club in Leamington, Ontario, the free 2022 Health and Information Fair for Migrant Workers in the Windsor-Essex will take place.
Presented by show organizer, the Migrant Worker Community Program, this valuable resource event brings together migrant workers with all the local-area community and organizational support available to them, and to ensure they have barrier-free access to healthcare and other support services.
The event is the cohesive work from over 22 organization in Windsor-Essex County, as each year sees approximately 16,000 migrant workers come to live and work within the county.
Attending community groups are: Pozitive Pathways Community Services; Bicycle Safety-OPP; Windsor Essex Community Health Centre; CRST; Legal Aid Ontario; Canadian Mental Health Association; Ontario Greenhouse Vegetables Growers; Ontario Health; Occupational Health Clinics for Migrant Workers; Ontario Pesticide Education Program; SECC; WELIP; Fire Department; People Corporation; Multicultural Council of Windsor-Essex County; Kairos; Oral Health; Legal Focus; and Erie Shores Healthcare.
Along with yourselves, farmers, ag and food-related industry providers are asked that you inform any migrant or temporary foreign workers you employ to visit the event to show your support.
Pinky Sabhnani, the Program Coordinator/Neighbourhood Ambassador with the Migrant Worker Community Program of the Canadian Mental Health Association to Farms.com: "Migrant workers are an extremely integral part of the Canadian economy, labour market, and the community. As a way to give back to the hands that feed us, we wanted to host a Health and Information fair to provide our migrant workers with an event specifically tailored to service their needs.
"This would include free health services, legal services, and informational sessions or workshops," she added. "Given the fact that migrant workers’ schedules interfere with their ability to seek health services, we wanted to host an event that would remove all language, transportation and additional barriers. Because migrant workers often work six to seven days a week and past 5PM, this leaves them a limited time space to seek medical attention during regular business hours.
"We created this event primarily to remove all present barriers, and also as a way for them to get to know their community members and services first-hand. We also felt this event would be a great opportunity to educate this community about preventative measures to live a life of wellness and ways to maintain their health," continued Sabhnani. "Our collaboration with local organisations was set as a way for us to provide the migrant workers with educational workshops that would support their learning about maintaining their health and well-being throughout their stay in Canada. In all, this event was planned as a way for migrant workers to feel a sense of belonging in their host community, have access to the health services they need and most of all, and bring the community together."
Date: Sunday, April 3, 2022
Location: Roma Club, 19 Seacliff Drive East, Leamington, Ontario
Free resources available for applicable worker attendees include:
- Dental cleaning and oral health workshops;
- Vision screenings;
- Blood glucose testing;
- Covid-19 vaccinations;
- Mental health support;
- and much more.
The event will also feature three speakers: Martin Varela, Chair of the Migrant Worker Community Program; Mayor Nelson Santos of the Town of Kingsville; and Mayor Hilda MacDonald of the Town of Leamington.
The Migrant Worker Community Program is based in Leamington and services all of Windsor-Essex County with the goal of building a stronger community and supporting migrant workers with access to the area’s educational, social, cultural, and recreational opportunities, while also helping them navigate available support services such as health and wellness, legal aid, and travel and immigration support in Spanish and other first languages.
The Migrant Worker Community Program offers numerous programs and outreach initiatives, and has supported some 3,000 migrant workers and over 200 farms in the past year alone.
Said Sabhnani: "One thing that has changed immensely from pre-pandemic times is that various organisations have come to recognize and continue to be open to understanding the needs of the migrant workers. This includes the importance of accessible services in terms of language, hours of operation, diversity in teams all related to meeting the migrant worker community where they need it.
"In the past, migrant workers were seldom understood in their host community, whereas now organisations and service providers are more open and understanding of migrant workers’ living situations, work schedules, and cultural factors among many others," she noted. "In the present times, we are glad to see that the migrant workers are being seen and accounted for more than ever before by everyone in the community. This can be depicted through TFWs’ and their knowledge of their rights which were seldom discussed previously and rarely brought to their attention. Even further, they are more comfortable seeking assistance where it is needed. Evidently, then, their knowledge about how to navigate the Canadian system has improved due to their comfortability in asking for assistance as well as the attention they are receiving from community service providers.
"Through the impact of the pandemic, the recognition of our migrant workers has increased twofold to the point where we are successfully creating a feeling of community for them."
This event is extremely important to this community, and all communities in Canada with migrant workers as it is a means of getting across the point that migrant workers are not set aside in their host community, but that they are indeed a part of the community in Canada.
The event creates a sense of belonging and trust in the services available to them.
"The purpose of this event is to show them that we are here to provide support wherever they need it, whenever they need it based on their needs. It is a means of them feeling heard and recognized in this community," summed up Sabhnani. "We absolutely feel that this event should be Canada-wide. From our experience in getting in touch with migrant workers all across Canada, there seems to be fewer services for them in areas like BC, Nova Scotia, Beamsville, etc."
Added Lisbeth Coxaj, Mental Health Support Worker with the Migrant Worker Community Program of the Canadian Mental Health Association: "Since there are fewer migrant workers in these areas, unfortunately it seems that they are more likely to feel excluded from the community," she opined. "If the Health and Information Fair for Migrant Workers were to take place in a Canada-wide scope, it would be most helpful to create a sense of inclusivity all around given that this event is not exclusive only to migrant workers! We welcome all members of the community to come join us in showing appreciation for our migrant workers who do so much for the Canadian system."
Coxaj continued, "Most of all, we want to strengthen the community by bringing it together through these kinds of events. The Migrant Worker Community Program’s mission is to be the bridge between local citizens and the migrant workers community. We hope to replicate this at all of our events, and we hope that this event is something that can be replicated in other provinces across Canada. It should be our priority to find opportunities to be inclusive of all and create a sense of belonging for all cultural communities."
For more information on the Migrant Worker Community Program, visit https://www.migrantworkercommunityprogram.com/english.