80 more Jamaicans leave to work in Canada

Jamaica Information Service – Another 80 Jamaicans will be taking up employment opportunities in Canada under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SAWP).

The workers, who comprise 80 per cent returnees, will be deployed mainly to Ontario and Nova Scotia.

In her address to the workers at a send-off ceremony held at the Ministry of Labour’s Overseas Employment Services Centre in downtown Kingston on Friday (August 3), Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson encouraged them to be good ambassadors for Jamaica.

“Ensure that you conduct yourselves in an acceptable manner, both on and off the job, and be your brother’s keeper. Be sure to perform your duties to the best of your ability, bearing in mind the importance of productivity and accountability,” the minister urged.

Mrs Robinson further encouraged them to work hard, distinguish themselves, and ensure that they comply with the terms of their contract, and to make their family and country proud.

“This will ensure that your employer continues to request not only your services but that of other Jamaican workers,” she said.

She added that the programme represents a long-standing tradition of partnership between Jamaica and Canada and has positively impacted the lives of many Jamaicans, who have used the opportunity to improve their standard of living and that of their families.

Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson (third left), and High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica Laurie Peters (left) affix Canadian pins to the lapels of Jamaicans who will take up employment opportunities in Canada under SAWP. They are (from second left) Trevor Jackson and Damion Parkes. Waiting to be pinned (at right) is Sylvern Prince.

In the meantime, High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica Laurie Peters said the programme has been a success for both Jamaica and for Canada, “because it means such a boost to the livelihoods of Canadian farmers and Jamaican workers and, in fact, our economies”.

“It is lovely to see not only the 80 per cent returnees who make this programme so successful, but also the 20 per cent of newbies who are perhaps starting a legacy or tradition for themselves and for their families,” she said.

This was the second official send-off ceremony to be held since the start of the year. The first took place in January.

The SAWP, which is part of the Ministry’s Overseas Employment Programme, involves contractual agricultural workers who are recruited to meet the short-term demand of manual labour during planting and harvesting seasons.

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