Number of Farm Workers to Canada Could Increase

The number of Jamaicans working on farms in Canada could increase, as officials in Jamaica and Canada are looking to expand the farm work programme to other areas of the North American country.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier, was in Canada recently for discussions with farmers and officials involved in the programme.
He also met with representatives of the Central Ontario Regional Council of the Carpenters’ Union and toured the state-of-the art carpentry training centre operated by the 126-year-old Union for apprentices, at-risk youth and high school students.
Minister Kellier said he was interested in the operation because “we want to take advantage of opportunities that can flow from here and into Jamaica, and which would therefore enhance employment opportunities for Jamaicans”.
The Labour Minister expressed admiration for the focus on at-risk-youth from inner city communities, and said he would love to see the operation replicated in Jamaica.
Explaining the programme, Mike Yorke, Vice-President at the Carpenters’ Union, said the youth were identified from 13 areas in the city of Toronto and during the 10-week programme, they participated in the repair and restoration of several public-owned apartment buildings in the communities in which they lived.
They learn to do exterior and interior finishing, framing, formwork and foundations, and finishing of walls and ceilings, including drywall, building and installing doors, windows, kitchen cabinets and staircases.
Approximately 6,000 Jamaican farm workers came to Canada in 2006, the largest number since the inception of the programme some 40 years ago. Jamaican workers can be found in five of Canada’s 10 provinces – Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Accompanying the Minister was Alvin McIntosh, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry and Chairman of the Farm Work Management Committee.

JIS Social