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Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme: 300 Farmworkers Leave for Canada

Jamaica News, January 5, 2018

Kingston, Jamaica (JIS) – Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme: Forty-three new persons are among the first batch of 300 farmworkers who will take up employment opportunities this year under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SAWP).

The SAWP, which is part of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’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.

The workers, who will be employed in greenhouse crop production, food processing, tobacco planting, vegetable farming and fruit tree cultivation, will depart the island beginning today (January 4), while another group will leave on Friday (January 5). The majority of them will be deployed to the Ontario region of Canada.

A send-off ceremony was held at the Ministry’s Overseas Employment Services Centre in downtown Kingston on January 3.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson, in her address to the workers, encouraged them to be good ambassadors by carrying out their duties diligently and conducting themselves appropriately at all times.

“For those of you who are making the journey yet another season, I hope that you will continue to perform well, so that your employer will see it fit to request your services again. First-timers, you have a legacy to carry on. You must learn from this first experience, so that you too will be requested over and over. You have to continue to fly the name of the Jamaican worker high,” she said.

Mrs. Robinson noted that Jamaican workers are known to be hard-working, disciplined, dedicated, committed to their tasks and self-motivated, which are qualities that are “not lost on Canadian employers”.

The Minister said the Government is committed to the creation of jobs for all Jamaicans, noting that for 52 years, the SAWP has steadily provided employment opportunities for Jamaican workers.

“As a government, we are seeking to expand the overseas employment programme, both in the low skill and unskilled categories, whilst at the same time, we are seeking to increase the number of females on the overseas programme,” she said.

She noted that for the 2017 calendar year, a total of 9,367 workers travelled to Canada, both under the SAWP and the Low Skill Programme.

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