A Jamaican farmworker in his early thirties died in his sleep at a Niagara-on-the-Lake bunkhouse last Friday.
The 31-year-old employee at P.G. Enns Farms lived at a bunkhouse on Read Road. He was found dead by a roommate before work in the morning.
This was the man’s first season in Niagara under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program. He leaves behind a wife and a baby about four months old.
Police and other officials didn’t release the name of the worker.
According to Donna Douglas, a liaison officer for Jamaican workers, the man’s family has been notified.
“That’s the first thing we do,” she told The Lake Report.
Jane Andres, a farmworker advocate in Niagara-on-the-Lake, said not much is known about the man and that the workers at the bunkhouse were still getting to know each other.
Still, “it’s just very devastating for the guys,” she said.
“I’m just hoping maybe eventually somebody on another farm may know something but so far we haven’t been able to come up with anything,” she said.
Andres said she feels kind of helpless.
“Normally when somebody passes away on the farm, or you hear about tragedy, you can have a little bit to build a story around so that you could do some fundraising for the family,” she said.
“But we got nothing to go on, absolutely nothing,” she added.
Douglas told The Lake Report that the liaison service takes care of getting the worker’s body back to Jamaica and providing support to his family back home.
She would not comment further on how the office supports the families back home in Jamaica.
Some concerned residents stopped by the bunkhouse on Friday evening to bring the men some meals.
“The men were all in shock and devastated,” one of the visitors told The Lake Report.
Several attempts to contact Dave Enns at P.G. Enns Farms received no response.
Niagara Regional Police Const. Barry Ravenek said in an email that police were called to the bunkhouse on Read Road near Scott Street last Friday at 6:20 a.m., “regarding a medical assistance call turned sudden death investigation.”
“The incident remains under investigation by detectives assigned to our 1 District criminal investigative branch and the Ontario coroner’s office,” he added.