Jamaica
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Cabinet okays team to probe farm work conditions for J’cans in Canada Loop Jamaica

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is reporting that the Cabinet has approved the appointment of a seven-member fact-finding team to conduct investigations into the working conditions of Jamaican workers under the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers (farm work) Programme.

A release from the ministry said the development comes after Portfolio Minister Karl Samuda recently announced the appointment of a tripartite team.

That move followed a correspondence to Samuda, purportedly on behalf of some Jamaican farm workers in Canada who were said to be concerned about several aspects of their seasonal working arrangements and conditions.

Samuda himself visited a number of farms in Canada where Jamaican workers are employed, earlier this year after the complaint, and later said he saw no evidence of any justifiable basis for the expressed concerns.

However, the issues and concerns have not died down since then.

The members of the fact-finding team now appointed to look deeper into the matter are as follows:

1. Helene Davis-Whyte (Chair) – President, Jamaica Confederation of Trade Union (JCTU)

2. Donald (Danny) Roberts – Deputy Chairman, Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT)

3. Wayne Chen – President, Caribbean Employers’ Federation

4. Raymond Eytle – Second Vice-President, Jamaican Employers’ Federation s

5. Wayne Jones – Deputy Financial Secretary, Strategic Human Resource Management, Ministry of Finance and Public Service

6. Sidia Madden – Chief Internal Auditor, Ministry of Labour and Social Security

7. Kandre Leveridge – Researcher/Community Development Specialist

The fact-finding team is to:

See also

o Conduct random selection of Canadian farms covering all provinces to which Jamaican farmworkers are employed;

o Collect data on the working conditions of Jamaican workers employed under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SAWP);

o Interview workers who have been injured to assess the level of care and responsiveness to their needs by the Jamaica Liaison Service in Canada and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security;

o Speak to employers and other interested groups to hear concerns;

o Provide a report outlining the team’s findings, with recommendations to improve the Jamaican Overseas Employment Programme in Canada.

The team is to visit all provinces where Jamaican farmworkers are employed over a two-week period, following which a comprehensive report is to be provided to the portfolio minister.

The report is to be presented to Cabinet and subsequently tabled in Parliament.