Cabinet appoints special fact-finding team to probe farm work conditions in Canada
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, making his contribution to the 2022/2023 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on April 26.

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Cabinet has approved the appointment of a seven-member fact-finding team to conduct investigations into the working conditions of Jamaicans under the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers (farm-work) Programme.

The members of the fact-finding team are:

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

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

3. Wayne Chen – President, Caribbean Employers Federation

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

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

According to a release on Monday, the fact-finding team will among other things, conduct random selection of Canadian farms covering all provinces to which Jamaican farm-workers are employed and collect data on the working conditions of Jamaican workers employed under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SAWP).

The special unit will also be responsible for interviewing workers who have been injured to ensure access the level of care and responsiveness to their needs by the Jamaica Liaison Service in Canada and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. They will also speak to employers and other interested groups to hear concerns of the workers.

In addition to filing reports of their findings, the team should also offer recommendations to improve the Jamaican Overseas Employment Programme in Canada. They are also expected to visit all provinces where Jamaican farm-workers are employed over a two week period, following which a comprehensive report is to be provided to the Minister. The report will be presented to Cabinet and tabled in Parliament.

Jamaican farm workers in Canada have been pulled from four farms since the start of this year because of what have been deemed unacceptable conditions.

After coming under fire earlier this month, Labour Minister Karl Samuda announced the establishment of a special fact-finding team to investigate the working condition of Jamaicans in Canada.

READ: Farm work rescue

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