"This is a temporary pause in order to determine the circumstances surrounding the safety conditions on farms," said Oscar Mora, spokesman for the Mexican embassy in Ottawa.
More than 60,000 migrant workers travel to Canada every year for seasonal work in agricultural industries. A temporary ban means that up to 5,000 Mexican workers are currently waiting to come to Canada.
US Media giant CNN states that albeit a 14 days quarantine, two migrant workers from Mexico have died in the last few weeks and dozens more workers have been treated in hospital. The two men — one died this month and the other in late May — were employed by different farms in the Windsor, Ont., area, a farming heartland in southwestern Ontario that has seen ongoing outbreaks.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus reportedly hit at least 17 farms in Ontario, prompting the recent testing of about 8,000 migrant farm workers.
In response to the outbreak, Ontario's Premier Doug Ford said - "They came here, they self-isolated for two weeks and they picked it up since they've been here - So I don't want any finger pointing at these hard-working migrant workers. They're good people, they mean well, and they're hard workers too."
Mexico is conducting a safety review of Canadian health policies and procedures before allowing any more temporary workers to travel to Canada to work in the agricultural sector. It's estimated 300 Mexicans working in Canada are infected according to The Canadian Press.
Mexicans make up about half of the temporary foreign worker population employed in the agriculture sector, which in 2018 meant there were 25,060 people employed on farms, in greenhouses and other related jobs.
"Our government will continue to engage and work closely with the ambassador and other Mexican officials to ensure their citizens are safe and receive the support they need when they come to work in Canada," said a statement from Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough's office.
"We are doing this out of solidarity with Canada," he said. "We understand the role these workers play in your food chain" says Juan Jose Gomez Camacho a Mexican official who is spearheading the investigation.
Québec's farm industry usually employs approximately 16,000 seasonal workers.
Less than half the temporary foreign workers expected for June in Quebec have arrived.
A farm in Quebec's Montérégie region is working with public health authorities there to contain an outbreak of COVID-19, after at least 18 of 49 temporary foreign workers tested positive for the coronavirus.
The infected workers, most of whom come from Guatemala and Mexico, are all in isolation according to a recent June 11th article by the CBC.
Seasonal foreign workers are essential for Canada in cultivating our food.
These essential workers must have better access to services and health care - in addition to safer all around living conditions, not the cramped quarters and the many shared common spaces that many endure at present.
Until Mexico finishes their official 'review', the "temporary pause" will be maintained until further notice.