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Thursday, March 30, 2023
NOTL seasonal farmworker struck on bike in St. Catharines
Bikes lean against a tree at P.G. Enns Farms. Somer Slobodian

A 51-year-old Niagara-on-the-Lake seasonal farmworker is expected to recover from his injuries after being struck by a car last week.

Ceto Reid was on his bike when he was hit by a blue Hyundai at Carlton Street and Dorchester Boulevard in St. Catharines on Oct. 6, farmworker advocate Jane Andres told The Lake Report.

Reid, a seasonal worker from Jamaica, works at P.G. Enns Farms in Niagara-on-the-Lake, she said.

(He) was returning on his bicycle from the Laundry Tub on Carlton Street,” Andres said.

Some farmworkers transport their laundry by bike from rural NOTL to St. Catharines because not all farms have washing machines for workers to use, she said.

It is unclear if Reid was carrying his laundry when he was struck. A Niagara Regional Police report had few details about the incident.

“I heard from his co-workers that he went to get his laundry,” Andres said in an email.

“He may have gone to the bank and then was on his way to the laundromat,” she added.

Police spokesperson Const.​ Philip Gavin said in a statement, “There is no information in the report to indicate the cyclist was a farmworker with laundry.”

P.G. Enns Farms did not respond to phone messages and several emails with questions from The Lake Report.

A reporter who visited the farm on Irvine Road on Wednesday was asked to leave the property.

It is not known if P.G. Enns has laundry facilities for its workers.

According to the contract for the employment in Canada of commonwealth Caribbean seasonal agricultural workers, farms owners must either have laundry facilities or “provide weekly transportation to a laundromat at no cost to the worker.”

Coun. Erwin Wiens, who operates a grape farm in NOTL, said, “As part of our inspection, we have to have laundry facilities on-site or (we) have to give them weekly transportation to a laundromat.”

That applies to every farmer who employs temporary foreign workers, he said.

Andres said Reid was taken to a hospital in Hamilton after the incident and underwent surgery there. He was later transferred to St. Catharines.

“I’ve been worried about the risks they are taking ever since I heard they had to go so far to use the laundromat about eight years ago,” Andres said.

Virgil no longer has a laundromat, she said.

The 27-year-old driver of the car that hit Reid, a woman from Thorold, was charged with careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act, said Gavin.

Her vehicle sustained about $2,000 in damage, he said.

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