(GIS) – A group of eight Saint Lucian men are now gainfully employed on farms in British Columbia, making it the first time Saint Lucians have journeyed to that province under the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Farm Workers Programme.
This opportunity was made possible following last year`s visit to Canada by Labour Minister Hon. Stephenson King, to meet with current and prospective employers in a bid to increase the number of Saint Lucians employed on the programme.
During the visit of Minister King and his delegation he impressed upon several farm owners to afford more Saint Lucians the opportunity to work in the various provinces. A few months after JM Sandher Orchards Limited responded and expressed interest in having Saint Lucian workers join their company.
With tickets in hand and having completed immigration forms and farewell to family, the delegation left the island on Saturday June 25 for British Columbia, where they will work initially for six months.
Head of the Employment Unit at the Department of Labour, Miss Nadia Pierre-Louis encouraged the eight workers to be good ambassadors for Saint Lucia, as their performance will ultimately reflect on the country and fellow Saint Lucians who will gain employment in the future.
The Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Farm Workers Programme is important to the Government of Saint Lucia, as it helps secure much needed employment for citizens. Additionally, remittances generated from the programme stimulates economic activity here and helps support many families.
Speaking prior to his departure Mr. Brian James an employee on the programme revealed that employment on the programme has helped made life a lot better for himself and his family.
The Government of Saint Lucia and the Canadian authorities and employers have come in for high praise for their efforts to facilitate the increasing number of Saint Lucians on this overseas employment initiative.
Mr. Aryton Henville who also operates a farm here, says the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Farm Workers Programme has been the “game changer” for himself and many others who are directly involved in the agriculture sector in Saint Lucia.
The eight workers were selected based on their past performance and experience working on farms in other Canadian territories.
They all gave the thumbs up for this latest opportunity and pledged to work with distinction as representatives of Saint Lucia.