As our community, our nation and the world come to grips with how COVID-19 has altered our lives, social stigma can unfortunately be a side effect. Stigma occurs when people associate a risk with specific people, places or things, such as a minority population group. Sadly, stigmatization is common in disease outbreaks.
On Tuesday, June 2, the public was made aware that seasonal farm workers from Haldimand-Norfolk who had recently been involved in a COVID-19 outbreak are isolating for 14 days in hotels in the Brantford area.
Over the last few days, it has come to the attention of Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Advisory Committee that that some individuals in our community have chosen to unfairly target seasonal farm workers.
The EOC Advisory Committee denounces racism and bigotry in any form and unequivocally condemns any negative or disparaging remarks against anyone in our community, including seasonal farm workers.
The EOC would like to emphasize that in no way do we view what has transpired as the fault or responsibility of the workers who come to this province each summer and work hard to provide for themselves and their families. This includes those working on farms within the County of Brant. The work of these individuals is integral to local farming operations and ensures the security of our provincial food supply chain.
The workers currently isolating at area hotels have all previously undergone a 14-day isolation period upon arrival to Canada, some at hotels. A number of compliance audits were completed for these periods and no issues were reported. No reports of non-compliance have been expressed in the past.
Each worker is contacted daily to support their isolation and to ensure wellness and compliance. Workers have been given information on who to contact if any issues arise. The Brant County Health Unit is supporting these efforts and providing direction to hotel staff regarding strict, preventative measures that must be followed to ensure employee safety. Workers are respecting and complying with isolation protocols while quarantined.
As everyone has a role in preventing social stigma related to COVID-19, the EOC encourages the people of Brant to stay informed and understand the facts about the pandemic, to help stop false assumptions and protect the well-being of everyone.
We have an opportunity to be part of the solution by correcting misinformation, challenging myths and rumours and showing empathy and respect for others. As we have all learned from this pandemic, we are all in this together and we are stronger together.
About the EOC
The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Advisory Committee is made up of organizations within The City of Brantford, The County of Brant and Six Nations of the Grand River, working together to reduce the risk of community spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 in our region. The EOC Advisory Group is made up of representatives of the following organizations: