Canada farm workers review Meeting ends on successful note in Saint Lucia

The annual Canada seasonal agriculture worker review meeting that was held in St Lucia was declared a success by the country’s labour minister Stephenson King.

The meeting saw officials from Canada, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in attendance.

King reportedly said they considered amendments to existing agreements related to the programme under which thousands of workers from the Caribbean are employed as agriculture workers in Canada.

He also told reporters that several amendments were considered, with one being deferred for further consideration.

 “If an employee were to fall ill, not as a consequence of work injury but through natural causes and declared unfit to travel, then the consideration before us is to determine how they can facilitate an extension of the insurance, work permit etc. That is now being facilitated by the Canadian government,” King was quoted as saying.

Among the issues raised at the meeting were the early cessation of termination of employment, compensation prior to departure  following termination of employment, guarantees that when workers arrive in Canada they receive their social insurance number and matters relating to lodging, meals and rest periods, as well as deductions to be made by employers.

The seasonal agriculture workers programme in Canada started in 1966 with Jamaican nationals and ten years later, spread to other Caribbean Islands.