Government welcomes the myriad benefits which Barbadians bring annually from working on Canadian farm labour programmes.
Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, emphasized this today as he addressed the start of a 2019 Review of the Canadian Workers Programme at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.
The aim of the meeting was to review last year’s activities and plan for the future of the programme in Canada. It was also an occasion for the Minister to share his vision with the workers while hearing their suggestions and concerns.
Addressing the labourers, who either work in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Programme or Temporary Farm Workers’ Programme, Minister Jordan said: “The programme benefits you because you earn pay – a salary or wages from those programmes and you are able to support yourselves and are able to support your relatives and other dependents through employment in these programmes. That is good because part of our responsibility as a government is to make sure that our people can support themselves and support the country.
“Government also recognizes that beyond that there is benefit in terms of skill acquisition because where you are working you are acquiring skills as well; you are learning from your work colleagues; in some cases, you are learning from your employers and supervisors; so there is the matter of transfer of skills.”
Noting that there was also the important matter of international exposure which they must not take lightly, Minister Jordan said while Barbadians carried good skills to Canada, there was also the opportunity for them to learn additional skills while there, and refine them, and bring these skills back to build the country.
Referring to the Ministry’s visit to Canada last year, Mr. Jordan said it was decided that they would keep in touch with the Barbados Liaison Service to be aware of what was happening with Barbadian workers over there.
Stating that this would be done through a monthly video conference call in Canada as well as Miami, the Minister said the intention was “to ensure the requisite energy and focus remains on this programme”.
Stressing Government’s interest in the programme remained high, the Labour Minister noted that the last visit to Canada had been in 2012, and this was too big a gap.
He gave the assurance that workers could expect more periodic visits, of less than seven years’ duration from his Ministry, and the Liaison Office would be supported to meet workers’ needs.
Mr. Jordan reminded workers that Canada was important to Barbados and the Caribbean, and pointed out that Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, as the new chair of CARICOM, was very focused on deepening the relationship with Canada.