Norfolk and Haldimand’s medical officer of health is defending the local health unit’s issuance of identification cards to offshore workers.
In a conference call on May 11, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai said the workers understand the cards are voluntary, they do not have to be carried, they do not have a photograph, they do not have a serial number, and they do not have to be produced on demand.
Nesathurai added the cards are useful during a pandemic because many of the 4,500 migrant workers who come to Haldimand and Norfolk each year do not speak English.
The cards specify that the holder has served a mandatory 14-day quarantine and the date the quarantine began. The latter is especially useful, Nesathurai said, when local, provincial and federal health officials conduct farm inspections.
“Many migrant workers come from countries where English isn’t the first language,” he said. “They are voluntary. They are by no means required. They serve a convenient purpose.”