113 Farmworkers left the island on Tuesday for Canada because of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) which is also called the Farm Work Program.
A send-off ceremony was held for them at the Ministry of Labour’s Overseas Employment Centre in downtown Kingston before their departure.
The Minister of Labour Shahine Robinson, Ahmed Hussen Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship and Laurie Peters, the Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica; all attended the ceremony.
Jamaicans have benefitted from the 53-year-old programme with Canada, but there were workers who were going for the first time among the group, 23-year-old Chevaun Thompson the youngest. He was among 11 of them who were first-timers.
Minister Robinson spoke about protecting the rights of the participants as the men waved their Jamaican and Canadian flags.
Hussen spoke about the history of the programme and said Jamaica was the first country to sign an agreement with Canada and send workers to that country. He said the both countries share a bond, because the Government, businesses, friends and family who were always working together.
One of the first-time workers was nervous but the Minister told them to stay close to the other workers who knew what to do; and encouraged them to be professional at all times. Even though they were not sure what to expect, they believed the programme offers them a good opportunity to improve their lives.