By Jasminee Sahoye
The first human rights tribunal case being heard following the death of a Jamaican migrant worker will have its last day of hearing on Friday June 28.
Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) is urging members of the community to attend the closing day of this historic hearing which has been examining the workplace death of Ned Livingston Peart, a Jamaican migrant farm worker who was killed working in a tobacco farm in rural Ontario in 2002.
This case is intended to bring forward changes to prevent workplace deaths and injuries and to improve working and living conditions of migrant farm workers in the province.
The Peart case is based on the refusal of the Office of the Chief Coroner to grant an inquest into his death. Peart was brought to Ontario through the Commonwealth Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program. His family sought to have a coroner’s inquest into his death because of safety concerns on the job.
According to J4MW, there has never been an inquest into the death of a migrant worker under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program in Ontario or anywhere in Canada.
Peart’s brother brought a complaint to the Human Rights Commission in the summer of 2005 asserting that section 10(5) of the Coroners Act, which provides that a mandatory inquest will be held for certain types of workers while excluding others, violates the code because such provisions have an adverse impact on the applicant and migrant workers in Ontario.
He travelled from Jamaica to testify on the first day of the tribunal. He had told the Camera that despite it took years for the human rights tribunal to hear evidence, his wait was not in vain.
He said his brother’s death will serve as a catalyst for change in the form of regulations to prevent migrant workers from being injured and/or die on the job.