The Trudeau government has announced $4.2 million in additional funding to keep a Windsor-Essex ‘voluntary’ isolation site afloat until March 2023.
In a new release, the Government of Canada said that isolation remains one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID despite it being over two years since COVID began and there being little to no evidence to support such a position.
The government continues, saying that the isolation site will be used to accommodate foreign agri-workers who can’t find a place to isolate when they enter Canada. “These workers tend to live in close accommodations and work in congregate settings, which makes it difficult to isolate, if required,” reads the news release.
“As Essex continues to welcome thousands of incoming agricultural workers in the coming weeks and months, this critical federal funding will provide spaces for those who are unable to isolate safely in the community,” said Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk.
“Thank you to Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and the federal government for recognizing the unique challenges our community faces and always standing up for Windsor-Essex.”
According to the news release, the $4.2 million given to the County of Essex will allow the site to operate 50 rooms for foreign agri-workers until March 31, 2023.
The site, formerly operated by the City of Windsor, was previously allotted $4.8 million for the same purpose, with funding lasting until June 30, 2022.
While unvaccinated foreign nationals are still prohibited from entering Canada thanks to the country’s vaccine mandate, an exemption exists for agricultural and food processing workers, marine crew workers, those making medical deliveries, and those that work with medical equipment.
However, despite the exemption, agri-workers still have to follow testing and quarantine requirements upon arrival, including a mandatory (not voluntary) quarantine requirement.
Thus, with flu season on the horizon, it looks like foreign-born agri-workers will be the first to feel the squeeze of the government’s renewed effort to bring back COVID measures.
What it would take to convince the government to end such measures permanently, rather than merely suspend them in certain areas, is anyone’s guess, and the government has made no indication they will ever admit the pandemic is over despite criticism internally and abroad.