On an annual basis a farm recruited Mexican agricultural workers who were living in bunkhouses which were divided into 4 apartments where 13 people lived. In one apartment there were shared bathrooms and bedrooms. Unfortunately, COVID hit the farm and one worker died from it. A worker raised his concerns about safety to a supervisor. The owner then confronted the worker and accused him of ratting to the media and attempted to send him back to Mexico by arranging for a flight back to Mexico.
The Ontario Relations Board (OLRB) sided with the worker stating he had every right to raise concerns about safety at the farm and that the employer had a duty to take every reasonable precaution to improve workplace safety. The reprisal by the employer in effectively terminating the worker was prohibited under health and safety legislation in Ontario. The OLRB ordered the employer to pay the worker $25,000 in damages. There is a reverse onus in reprisal cases which will require the employer to show it did not implement a reprisal against a worker.
The case was Flores v. Scotlynn Sweetpac Growers Inc.
Photp by Tom Steepe/CBC