PR chances for farm workers in Canada - Solomon Star News

PR chances for farm workers in Canada

13 September 2018
CITREC Chairman Mr. Ashwant Dwivedi (L) with Raymond Togovi at the Customs and Immigration office in Canada. [Photo Supplied]

CANADIAN businesses are considering piloting a project that will see a Permanent Residency Nomination opportunity for Solomon Islands agriculture workers in Canada.

"Canadian employers have agreed to pilot a project that will allow workers under the agriculture stream to be eligible to apply for Permanent Residency under Canada's Immigration nomination program," CITREC Chairman Ashwant Dwivedi announced.

Mr Dwivedi said that the pilot project will be discussed in more detail with relevant Canadian authorities in the coming weeks and will be opened to provinces of Guadalcanal, Malaita and Makira Ulawa under special provisions of this pilot project.

He confirmed that he will be holding one on one discussion with Canadian ministries to see the project expedited and that pilot project launched at the earliest to the benefit of the Solomon Islands workforce in Canada and for those bound for Canada under agriculture stream.

In a media conference Mr Dwivedi further confirmed that any province in the Solomon Islands that joins the program will have the benefit of being included in the pilot project.

"The intention of this pilot project is to include agriculture workers and have them convert their status from Agriculture stream temporary workers to Permanent Residents of Canada,” Mr Dwivedi explained.

“We want to see them live, work and permanently call Canada their home,” he added.

“This is an opportunity we want the employers to provide to Solomon Islands nationals presently in Canada as agriculture and dairy workers and to those in future who will arrive in Canada under this criteria.”

Mr Dwivedi said that Canadian agriculture employers have agreed in principle that they want to consider this opportunity for Solomon Islands nationals and we are confident that we will have this program implemented in the coming months.

He added that he will be meeting with Canada's Immigration officials to further discuss this opportunity and seek the assistance of relevant government departments to help implement the program.

"Canadian International Training & Education Corp [CITREC] partnership with the Province of Guadalcanal has resulted in permanent residence nominations for over 23 Solomon Islands nationals in Canada's tourism and hospitality sector which include principal applicants and their dependents," Mr Dwivedi said.

"For many in Solomon Islands this opportunity of Permanent Residence was not possible.

“But we have turned this into a reality.

“Our numbers for permanent residency from Guadalcanal Province into Canada are witnessing an increase in number of approvals for Guadalcanal-CITREC graduates.

“We are very pleased with these achievements.

“The numbers are only going to get stronger," Mr Dwivedi said.

Yesterday, Guadalcanal also witnessed another of its CITREC-GP graduates arrive in Canada and was issued with a 24-month temporary work permit to be employed in Canada's dairy sector.

Raymond Togovi was greeted by Canadian immigration officials and his employer.

In a statement Mr Togovi said that he is very pleased to be in Canada.

"I thank God and CITREC and the Guadalcanal Government for providing me with the opportunity to be in Canada today,” Mr Togovi said.

“It is an opportunity I have been waiting for many months,” he added.

“There was hardly a week when I would not call into the GP education office to see if they had any news for me.

“Finally, I am here in Canada. I thank God for making my dream come true. Thank you God.”

 Mr Togovi also thanked the provincial government of Guadalcanal for the opportunity it is providing to the people and youths of Guadalcanal through the CITREC program.

"I want to thank the Premier of Guadalcanal Anthony Veke, his executives and staff of Guadalcanal education authority for this great opportunity.

“Especially to CITREC for this opportunity as well," MrTogovi said. 

 While meeting his Canadian employer Mr Togovi assured his employer of the best of his work.

"I look forward to getting to work. And I will do so with the best of my ability," he added.

Guadalcanal Premier Anthony Veke has welcomed the news that Agriculture workers are being considered to be part of the Permanent Resident nomination process.

"I welcome this development and the benefit it will have on our people," Mr Veke said.

Two weeks ago, three more GP-CITREC graduates arrived in Canada to be employed in Canada's Dairy sector.

Maureen Savi, Hamilton Sala and Timotheus Tovosia have been given a 24-month work permit upon their arrival in Canada.

They have been granted with a 24-month work visa and they will begin to enjoy the new wage increase that Canada had announced where they will be paid Canadian $12.65 an hour.

However, they will receive an automatic salary increase to $13.85 next June and in 2019 they will be paid $14.60 cents an hour.

The three new Canada-bound workers will also benefit from other employer benefits which includes insurance coverage, housing and medical care benefits.

Canadian employers also pay for the airfare to bring workers to Canada. This airfare under Canadian law is not recovered from the workers’ salary.

In another development, late last week as part of empowerment of women project, three more Guadalcanal-CITREC women graduates have signed Labour Mobility Agreements with their Canadian employers and will be soon leaving for Canada to be employed in Canada's retail and food processing sector.

Mr Dwivedi announced that as part of strengthening the Canadian workforce and providing equal opportunity to the Women of Solomon Islands he is delivering on his promise by providing women with equal opportunity to be part of Labour mobility.

"To my dear sisters I look forward to welcoming you to Canada because I know that you all will make Solomon Islands proud with your work," Mr Dwivedi said.

He further said that empowering women will help build a strong democracy in the Solomon Islands and will further develop the nation.

"In some of the world’s largest democracies women in the workforce are leading contributors to the economy.

“Women have become the added pillars to economy.

“They are great daughters. Great sisters and mothers and great business women.

"I am all about empowering women.

“I see in them the dedication and commitment, dedication that when combined with CITREC education and training result in having the ideal candidate for job opportunities in Canada," Mr Dwivedi said.

The signing of the agreement was also attended by Alice Anthonia, President of Guadalcanal Province Women's Association and was witnessed by Guadalcanal Chief Education officer Maesac Suia, Minister for Finance Josiah Rubo, Education minister Lazarus Rima and Minister for Women and Youth Alice Anthonia of the Guadalcanal provincial government.

Nawin Saronga, Rebecca Embi and Isabella Roro are the three female CITREC graduates who signed their employment contracts.

Mr  Dwivedi believes that by the end of this year the number of Solomon Islanders that will be employed into Canada's various employment sectors are expected to significantly grow as more provinces are joining the program.

He also announced inclusion of more women into labour mobility programs.

"This is the first time that we are including a woman into Canada's dairy sector. This is welcoming news for us as we are committed to empowering women of Solomon Islands. We are committed to creating equal opportunity for our women and the results of such commitment and vision has just started," Chairman Dwivedi said.

Mr Dwivedi said that previously CITREC had hired two women as part of permanent residency program and they have settled well into their jobs and new community and home where they are calling Canada their new home.

He also said that Solomon Islanders dedication, good nature and work ethic are very well credited for by the Guadalcanal workers who are presently in Canada under GP-CITREC partnership which is resulting in more employers seeking workers from Solomon Islands.

During the delivery of the document Guadalcanal Premier Anthony Veke said that he is very pleased to witness the success GP-CITREC partnership has contributed to towards development of skills for the people of Guadalcanal.

"When we launched this program, I was always being asked a question. When are the students expected to travel.

“Today I am asked the question how many people are travelling to Canada this week Premier.

“I have lost count. What I know is that on average people from Guadalcanal are travelling to Canada each month.

“It's a major achievement and a dream comes true," Premier Veke said.

He added that CITREC program has become an integral part of Guadalcanal Province a partnership that people and government of Guadalcanal view as the best investment province could have made for its people.

"We have issues affecting the province of Guadalcanal. We have recorded highest rate of poverty.

“We have issues of malnutrition. We have significant issue of unemployment where our youths cannot find opportunities to earn.

“Therefore, CITREC partnership with GP is our beacon of hope. Its gods gift to the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal.

“We therefore cherish our partnership and achievement through CITREC," Premier Veke said.

CITREC Chairman Mr Dwivedi said that Canadian employers are hiring more GP-CITREC graduates and Canada's foreign worker policy is also becoming an attractive part of the partnership.

"Canada's foreign worker benefit is one of the best that is enjoyed by Guadalcanal workers.

“We in Canada treat our workers as families. And so far, our Guadalcanal workers have continued to show their dedication and commitment to their Canadian employers," M. Dwivedi said.

He said that given the Canadian governments strong policy on women, the CITREC program strongly promotes inclusion of women in its program.