Jamaica to Investigate Working Conditions on Canadian Farms

    Photo: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

    The Facts

    • Jamaica has appointed a special "fact finding team" to investigate working conditions of Jamaicans employed on Canadian farms, after workers in Ontario last month claimed of "seismic" levels of exploitation.

    • In a statement on Thurs., Jamaica's Minister of Labour and Social Security Karl Samuda said a six-person team would travel to Canada to observe conditions and "provide a report to the Minister".

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The Canadian govt. has sat idle watching this human rights disaster unfold. Nobody should be abused and forced into unsafe living and working conditions. With staggering numbers of injuries and deaths, coupled with the lack of rights given to them, it's time the govt. offers these workers permanent resident status.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Any reports of abuse on certain Canadian farms should be investigated and brought to an end, but the cases are far and few between. Canada's migrant worker programs offer the same rights and privileges to foreign workers as are given to citizens, and most employers follow the law and treat their employees with dignity - those who don't should be shut down and prosecuted.

    Narrative C

    While Canada must do more, this issue isn't Canada's alone: Jamaica's Ministry of Labor - which has liaised with this program - is also responsible for the well-being of the workers, whose calls for action they've so far ignored. Their recent trip to Canada's farms did nothing to address the concerns brought forward in the letter, but merely offered empty words of encouragement.

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