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Migrant worker awarded $23,500 after being subjected to racial abuse

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.

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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.

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