As Canada, and most of the US, is in a deep freeze, 340 Jamaicans have landed there as part of a foreign workers exchange program. This group of men will participate in this program as temporary farm workers, where they will be employed for greenhouse crop production, food processing and tobacco plants. Falling under the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, the men will work for eight months.
According to Jamaica’s Agricultural Minister, Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier, this program is part of the country’s Jamaica-Canada Employment Program, which contributes Cdn $15.5 million to the Jamaican economy. In 2014 alone, 7,952 Jamaicans benefitted from this program, 90 per cent of them were involved in farm work, while the remainder fell under the “low skill and skilled worker program.” The Minister reminded the “batch” of males (this is how the government press release referred to them) to mind regulations:
The Minister noted that 20 per cent of the workers are new employees, while the remaining 80 per cent are ‘returnees’ or requested workers, noting that “this is a testament to the hard and dedicated work provided by Jamaican workers abroad.”
He implored the new cohort to continue being professional while on the job, so that the programme can be expanded to provide opportunities for more unemployed Jamaicans.
“I am urging you too, to observe regulations as much as possible for your safety and health. I advise you all not to breach rules (such as absence without leave), which will disqualify you and other Jamaicans in the future,” he said.
Good luck to them as they embark on some difficult work during the coldest part time of the year in Canada.