SIMCOE, ON, MARCH 14, 2007 – Local farmers who coughed up a $120 fee to cover bunkhouse inspections are being urged by the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit to come in and get a $45 refund.
On Dec. 19, 2006, Norfolk County approved a $120 user fee for bunkhouse inspections, effective Jan. 1, 2007. The fee was reduced to $75 on Feb. 27, but by then notices at the higher rate had been sent out by the Health Unit, which administers the program in both Norfolk and Haldimand counties.
“We want farmers to know they only have to pay $75 and those who have already paid more should get in touch with us for a refund,” said the Health Unit’s Glen Steen, Program Coordinator, Healthy Environment Team. “We will also try to get in touch personally with those who have overpaid. The best method would be if they came in and we returned their $120 cheque and they provided us with the $75 fee.”
While bunkhouse inspections are designed to ensure migrant farm workers are provided with suitable housing, another goal is to protect both the workers and the general public by reducing the transmission of infectious disease.
“Overcrowding, waterborne illness and disease-carriers such as rodents and mosquitoes are a few of the public health issues the Health Unit aims to eliminate and/or reduce through the inspection process,” noted Public Health Inspector Kris Lutzi. “It is important to note that in the age of worldwide travel, the importation of exotic diseases has become a growing threat to the public’s health. Bunkhouse inspections for migrant farm workers are another mitigating barrier helping to reduce and/or eliminate just such a threat.”
For more information, farmers may call the Health Unit at 519-426-6170 and ask for Public Health Inspectors Kris Lutzi or Greg Mychajluk.
Media contact information:
Kris Lutzi, Public Health Inspector, Healthy Environment Team, Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, 519-426-6170 Ext. 3261 or
Greg Mychajluk, Public Health Inspector, Healthy Environment Team, Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, 519-426-6170 Ext. 3221