More Caribbean migrant farm workers hired in Ontario this year

More  than 8,000  migrant workers from the Caribbean were hired  on Ontario farms  this year through the Canada- Caribbean Seasonal Agricultural Workers program – an increase  of more than 600 over  2015.

An  official of the Mississauga-based Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Service s (FARMS) which co-ordinates the   processing of requests from farmers for foreign seasonal agricultural workers,  attributes  the   lower total recruitment  figures  in Ontario last year mainly to unfavourable weather conditions.

From Jamaica,   the largest supplier  of  Caribbean  migrant  farm workers  to Ontario , 6,812  were hired this year , as compared with  6,235  last year,

Barbados supplied 143 workers this year as compared  with138 last year and from Trinidad and Tobago 768  workers were hired this year – an increase  of 88 over last year.

However, the Eastern  Caribbean ( Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines)  recorded a drop in the total number of workers  hired this year – 529 as compared with  591 last year.

The Canada-Caribbean Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program was launched in 1966 with the recruitment of  several hundred workers from Jamaica. It was later expanded  to include workers  from other Commonwealth  Caribbean countries.

Worker on the program are hired  for several months each year  and on completion of their contracts , they are required to leave Canada.

Last summer, Justicia for  Migrant Worker, an activist  group, petitioned the federal   government for permanent residenct status for the workers.