Minister King Seeks More Jobs for St. Lucians in Canada

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Press Release: Toronto, Canada, September 12th 2017:
Minister for Labour, Stephenson King has returned to Saint Lucia following a successful visit to Canada during which he continued to seek further employment opportunities for Saint Lucians, particularly in the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Farm Workers Programme.

While there he met with the proprietors of several agricultural farms in the provinces of British Colombia, Ontario and Montreal to assess the Seasonal Farm Worker Programme and the welfare and working conditions of Saint Lucians currently working on farms. He also discussed with the employers the possibilities of increasing the numbers of Saint Lucians contracted into the program.

Mr. King also paid a courtesy call on his counterpart, Minister of Labour for the province of Ontario. Hon. Kevin Flynn to express the Government of Saint Lucia’s appreciation for Canada’s long and cordial relationship with Saint Lucia.  They also discussed the Seasonal Farm Workers Program

Mr. King said he was pleased that the number of Saint Lucians on Canadian farms had increased from 234 in 2016 to 269 this year.  He attributed the increase to his face-to-face engagement with the employers, adding that it had succeeded in gaining their trust and confidence.  He said his mission was to build and strengthen bridges between the government of Saint Lucia and the employers, and to ensure that Saint Lucian workers are doing well and are satisfied with their living conditions

“My third goal is to ramp up the numbers for Saint Lucia because of the social and economic impact this is having on the country. This year we are very happy that several workers have been given the opportunity to participate in a two-year program. So now they can serve not just for eight months but they can do a two-year stint and return for another two years, which is tremendous,” said Mr. King.

While conceding that there are some issues that still needed to be ironed out, Minister King said Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Farm Workers Programme is a great initiative and that the impact and value of remittances from the Saint Lucian workers are currently being assessed by the Government of Saint Lucia.

More Saint Lucians are being employed in the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Farm Workers Programme than in any of the other islands in the OECS.