Canadian Gov’t gives Jamaica support for team to probe working conditions of farm workers
Labour and Social Security Minister Karl Samuda, has received the support of the Canadian government for the commissioning of a fact-finding team, to investigate the working conditions of Jamaican farm workers in Canada.
It was announced yesterday (September 1), that a six member team is to travel to Canada to observe operations and speak with workers, then provide a report to the minister.
This follows claims of mistreatment on some farms, by workers.
Mr. Samuda has come under pressure, following a statement that ministry officials observed no evidence of mistreatment during a recent visit to Canadian farms. However, some farm workers continue to highlight their dissatisfaction with conditions.
During a courtesy call on Minister Samuda yesterday, Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Emina Tudakovic noted that the Canadian Government shares Jamaica’s concern for the safety and security of the Jamaican workers.
The High Commissioner further noted that the Jamaican workers in Canada have maintained a solid reputation as good workers, and gave her government’s commitment to support tactical solutions identified by the task force to improve conditions where necessary.
In the meantime, Mr. Samuda indicated that it is essential for both governments to work closely together to strengthen the bilateral partnership to protect the interests of both the Jamaican farm workers and their employers in Canada, as well as the value and integrity of the programme.
He added that, although the farm work programme had improved significantly over the decades, there is room for continuous improvement.
The minister assured the high commissioner that the ministry’s liaison service has been tasked with redoubling its efforts at ensuring that workers have easy access to existing mechanisms to facilitate confidentiality in reporting issues of poor working conditions and other concerns.
The ministry is inviting farm workers, advocate groups and members of the public to report known incidents of mistreatment, poor working conditions and other concerns to the liaison service via its toll-free line at 1-888-898-3951, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reports may also be made confidentially to the Canadian authorities’ integrity services branch online.