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Seasonal ag workers heading north

Seasonal ag workers heading north

More than 200 farmworkers from Jamaica will arrive in Canada this week

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Some Canadian farmers will welcome some extra help this week.

A total of 228 Jamaican farmworkers will arrive in Canada this week as part of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP).

The program allows employers to hire temporary international workers when Canadians and permanent residents aren’t available to fill the roles.

Jamaicans have come to work on Canadian farms for more than 50 years, and more than 10,000 people come from the country each year.

“Canada has benefitted from the skills and hard work of workers who come to Canada from all parishes across Jamaica – and we are grateful to you,” Candace Brooks, a migration counsellor at the High Commission of Canada in Jamaica, said in a Jan. 6 statement. “As you prepare to come, and in some cases, return to work in Canada, we want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for helping our agriculture and for putting food on Canadian tables.”

The SAWP is open to residents of multiple countries in the Caribbean and Mexico.

Francisco Trejo, a swine sales consultant with Jones Feed Mills Ltd., has been the chair of the international workers committee with the Ontario Pork Congress for the last four years.

International workers are excited to come to Canada and get an opportunity to provide for their families, he said.

“They are always so eager to come in and get started,” he told Farms.com. “It means a lot for them to be able to come here and make good money that they can send home to their families.”

In 2015, 310,000 temporary foreign workers came to Canada for employment, Statistics Canada reported in January 2018.

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