Ontario's human rights tribunal has ordered a migrant worker to be paid $23,500 in damages after ruling he suffered racial abuse, including being called a monkey, while working at a greenhouse in Leamington, Ont.
The tribunal found that Adrian Monrose, a St. Lucian migrant worker who came to Canada under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program in 2009, was subjected to racist slurs by a supervisor and an owner of the company while working for Double Diamond Acres Ltd.
On one occasion, Benji Mastronardi, an owner of Double Diamond, shouted "You're like monkeys on a branch" at workers while visiting a greenhouse because he was upset at what he perceived as too many tomatoes being wasted, the ruling said.
The tribunal found Monrose was fired and sent back to St. Lucia shortly after complaining about the racist comments he received from a supervisor.
Monrose's lawyer Shane Martinez says the St. Lucian native filed a human rights complaint with the help of a not-for-profit activist group for migrant workers.
Monrose has been awarded $5,500 in lost wages, $3,000 for damage to his dignity, feelings and self-respect and $18,000 for the violation of his right to be free from reprisal.
Martinez says the decision is a signal to the government that action is needed to address human rights abuses against migrant workers.