Jamaican Construction Workers Doing Well in Canada


Deputy Chief Liaison Officer for the Canadian Overseas Employment Programme, Barrington Bailey, has said that the 11 young construction workers, who left the island last month for jobs in British Columbia, are doing “exceptionally well” and see themselves as ambassadors for the country.
Speaking with JIS News, Mr. Bailey said that the workers “are very happy and are looking forward to working like crazy.”
“As a matter of fact, they see themselves as ambassadors for Jamaica so their performance and their conduct will pave the way for others to come and they are very conscious of that and they are working towards that,” he stated.
He noted that despite the climatic conditions, the Jamaicans have “adapted exceptionally well” and are now motivators to the other workers.
“I spoke with the general manager (of the company to which the Jamaicans are employed) just before I came down, and he said that the Jamaicans have motivated other workers, in that, their performance is of such a high standard that the other workers are performing better than they did before,” Mr. Bailey boasted.
In Jamaica to participate in the two-day job fair at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Mr. Bailey, who is based in Canada, is responsible for the welfare of the workers.
He informed that orientation was done with the workers from the very night they arrived in Canada so as to make them aware of the cultural differences. “I had orientation with them from the very night they arrived. I met them at the airport and drove them to the hotel. I had discussions with them (about) the different cultural experiences they might have,” he told JIS News, adding that the orientations are ongoing. In terms of remuneration, Mr. Bailey informed that the workers start at 50 hours per week and are being paid approximately CDN$20 per hour. “They started off working 50 hours per week, normally they start at 40 hours per week.it will fluctuate a little bit but should not go below 40 hours any week,” he informed, noting that they are allowed to work on weekends.
Turning to challenges, he told JIS News that, “housing is a challenge, in that people don’t rent houses, they sell it so it is almost impossible to get houses to rent.”
In the meantime, he informed that arrangements have been made for the workers to continue their education. “We have discussed with the employer prior to them coming and he (the employer) reminded me that the provisions are there where they can get paid time off to go to school at least one day per week, so they have all registered and will be starting classes as soon as they are settled,” he said.
He informed that at the end of 24 months, the workers may apply for resident status in Canada. “These guys are very intelligent and they understand that at the end of 24 months if they perform well, conduct themselves well, they can apply for resident status,” he said.
The 11 workers, who left the island on September 17, are the first batch to be dispatched to work in the construction industry in the Canadian province. The second batch will be chosen from the job fair, which concludes today (Oct. 20).

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