TORONTO, ON — February 6, 2012- The union that has led a two-decade campaign for increased workplace and safety rights for Ontario farm workers has offered its condolences and renewed its call for increased diligence in the wake of a horrific two-vehicle collision Monday that reportedly killed 10 agriculture workers riding in a van, as well as the driver of another vehicle.
"On behalf of the 250,000 members of UFCW Canada, our thoughts go out to the families of all the victims of this tragic and horrible accident," says Wayne Hanley, the national president of UFCW Canada. In association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada operates four Ontario support centres for domestic and migrant workers and 6 others centres across Canada. "The safe transportation of agriculture workers has always been a critical issue, and we must expect a relentless investigation into how and why such a tragedy occurred."
It is reported that some of the victims were migrant agriculture workers. More than 20,000 migrants work in the Ontario agriculture sector each season. The identities of the victims have been withheld until the next-of-kin are informed.
"This is a terrible loss for the families of the victims, as well for the Ontario community," said Hanley, the leader of Canada's largest private-sector union.
"This is shocking reminder to the more than 10,000 members of the Agriculture Workers Association who already know the dangers involved in working in the agriculture sector. Out of respect for the victims, and for all the men and women working in the agriculture sector, we will work to ensure that every factor in this accident is investigated to make certain it never happens again.”