Coronavirus: Windsor could close migrant farm worker isolation hotel, warns of funding shortfall

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TORONTO — An isolation centre where migrant farm workers in southwestern Ontario recover from COVID-19 may have to close next month due to a funding shortfall created by a shift in federal support.

In a letter to federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, the mayor of Windsor, Ont., says a decision by Ottawa to shift responsibility for the centre’s funding from one government department to another resulted in $2 million in costs not being covered.

That means the city, which already pays to staff the centre located at a local hotel would have to take on additional costs it can’t afford as pandemic expenses continue to mount.

Read more: Coronavirus: Migrant worker testing centre near Windsor to shut down

“The City of Windsor has been forced to consider if we are able to continue with this temporary foreign worker isolation and recovery centre,” Mayor Drew Dilkens said in his letter on Feb. 17.

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When the centre first opened in November, the program was funded through Public Safety Canada, and administered by the Canadian Red Cross.

In December, the federal government notified the city it would shift funding to the Public Health Agency of Canada, and required the local officials to complete a new application form…

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