Fact finding team in Canada visits 2 farms, interviews workers so far

The fact finding team sent to Canada to look into claims of mistreatment by Jamaican farm workers, has already visited 2 farms and interviewed some workers.

More farms will be visited in the coming days.

The visit comes in the wake of complaints by workers about their living and working conditions being akin to modern day slavery.

Mission team chairperson, Helene Davis Whyte said the team members arrived in Canada last Friday, October 7, then on Monday October 10, two farms were visited and interviews conducted with some of the Jamaican workers there.

During an interview at the Jamaican liaison service in Toronto on Tuesday, Mrs Davis Whyte said that in one case, the team conducted a focus group session with the workers on that particular farm, and in the other case the team interviewed workers individually, using a survey tool that had been specially developed.

She said the team also spoke with the owners of the farm and observed the living accommodations, in a bid to ensure that they were actually seeing the conditions under which the workers were living and working.

Mrs Davis Whyte pointed out that the group’s work commenced prior to departing Jamaica, via virtual meetings with various stakeholder and advocate groups, as well as principals of the programme in Jamaica, the Jamaican liaison service in Canada, and representatives of the Canadian government, among others.

She explained that approximately 70 farms have been selected for visits by members of the team, over a two week period, via a random sampling method.

She said this methodology was used so that the team would be able to ensure that there is validity to the work that is being done and that there is no bias in the report complied, upon completion of the probe.

Mrs. Davis Whyte said the team has been mandated to deliver a report, which will ensure that the total picture is told of what exactly was found, in terms of the conditions under which Jamaican farm workers work, in Canada.

The report will also outline what was observed about the programme itself, and recommendations for improvement, where necessary.


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