‘Full Investigation’ Underway Into Reports Of Ill-Treatment Of Saint Lucian Farm Workers In Canada

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Labour Minister Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte has announced a full investigation into reports that Saint Lucian farm workers suffered ill-treatment in Canada.

“The OECS and the Labour Department that is responsible for the farm workers in Canada – they are actually carrying out a full investigation,” the former trade unionist told reporters on Monday.

Last week, Saint Lucian Latoya Ben claimed that female workers were subjected to physical and verbal abuse on a strawberry farm in Canada, including being called ‘hungry dogs’.

“I am fully aware of the situation but I cannot give you the details of what exactly transpired, to what extent what the lady said is true or not true. So when we get the report that is coming out of the investigation we will make it available to the media,” Albert-Poyotte stated.

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She disclosed that the OECS will also issue a press statement.

“I leave the departments responsible for the workers that went to Canada to speak very forcefully and in detail in giving the public the necessary information that they need,” the Minister stated.

Forty Saint Lucian women made history earlier this year as the first batch of females to enroll in the seasonal farm workers programme in Nova Scotia, Canada.

But Jamaica is reported to have withdrawn its workers from four Canadian farms since the start of this year due to unacceptable conditions.

Migrants and migrant-led organizations in Canada are urging equal rights, benefits and essential services for migrants.

One of them is the grassroots movement for migrant workers’ rights – ‘No One Is Illegal’ (NOII).

On its Facebook page, NOII said it regularly receives reports of abuse from migrant farm workers throughout the province and is supporting workers to organise.

According to the group, temporary immigration status in Canada makes it difficult for migrant workers to speak out about the abuse they are experiencing.

NOII explained that those who speak out can be fired, sent back to their home country, and not called back again.

Headline photo: Stock image

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Investigation from this ministry is just code for doing nothing and beating their gums with no actions with never representing any actual employees grievances. Let’s just be honest the Labour Department in St. Lucia does not or will not represent any labour unions or disgruntled employees about any grievances or liabilities they face. They should rename it Ministry of Labpur Department for Employers to Benefit.

  2. @ Vladimir Puting If you read an earlier comment about this issue, you may have noticed that 90% of strawberry farms in Canada are owned by Indians, NOT white Canadians… This is about poor human behaviour and lack of policy and oversight NOT race!

  3. Who will listen to small island people? chops! do you think that lucians are the only people who suffer injustice? Mexican, Jamaican, Haitians and others. They form unity groups on all ends and work strategies to mold themselves into the inner circle so they can have some level of representations and most of them are well educated as well but because of poverity back into their home country they work, save thier money and moved on. We lucians have zero unity with it comes to situation like this.

    • so true about the unity cause we busy backstabbing and back biting our very own people. you dont see this is what happens when even in the island of saint lucia when you try to organize a Union to help represent the workers there is always a soucer kiss ass employee

  4. The Minister Should have been Communicating with The Workers and also.pay them a Visit .The White men Saw that our own Black people Don’t give a Damm so they did what they wanted

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