Guadalcanal workers empowering Canada’s dairy sector

CANADA’s Dairy Industry Workforce was further strengthened yesterday following the arrival of two more workers under the Canadian International Training & Education Corp (CITREC) Guadalcanal Province (GP) partnership.

GP -CITREC Worker’s Peter Sagaru & Paul Labukode touched down at Vancouver International Airport where they received a two-year work permit to be employed as Dairy farm workers in Chilliwack, British Columbia.

“We are so pleased to be in Canada. We just can’t get to start working and sending money back home,” both Sagaru and Labukode said.

CITREC Chairman Ashwant Dwivedi hands over work permit to the newly
arrived GP-CITREC workers at the Vancouver International airport. Showing
off their work permits are Paul Labukode (Left) and Peter Sagaru.

CITREC Chairman Ashwant Dwivedi announced that the number of workers from GP into Canada is set to grow.

Dwivedi told a Canadian media conference that “We at CITREC strongly believe that the best way we can fight unemployment and poverty in parts of Solomon Islands is by empowering people of the Solomon Islands, and creating employment opportunities for the people in country such as Canada where foreign workers make significant part of Canadian workforce”.

“This is something we have been successfully doing through our partnership between Guadalcanal province and CITREC and soon we will include other provinces of the Solomon Islands that will be benefiting from the same arrangements.”

Sagaru and Labukode, while being granted their work permits, were greeted into Canada by Immigration and Border officials.

“We welcome you both from Guadalcanal province into Canada and we are pleased to see that you are here to work. I hereby under Canada’s Immigration act grant you a work permit for 24-months to work for your employer named hereto in your work permit,” Immigration official said.

Soon after receiving their work permit both workers were handed over their Canadian medical insurance which immediately covers them for their medical insurance in Canada.

Sagaru told CITREC Chairman Dwivedi that he is excited to be in Canada.

“Just like my other colleagues who are already in Canada, I will always work hard and make my province and Solomon Islands proud,” Sagaru said.

Labukode said that he is also looking forward to the opportunity especially when salary paid in Canada is much higher then what people in Solomon Islands receive.

“I have been waiting for this opportunity. I would always be checking with the Guadalcanal education office as to when I will be travelling. Finally, my dream has come true. I thank the province of GP and CITREC for this opportunity,” Labukode said.

Dwivedi reminded the newly admitted workers that while in Canada they must be on their best behaviour and they must always perform beyond the expectations of their employers.

“You must always remember that your actions will have immediate and long-term effect on the people of Guadalcanal and Solomon Islands. You have been issued with a 24-month work permit, this should tell you that your employer has confidence in your ability.

“You must maintain this confidence and the expectations of your employer and perform to the best of your ability,” Dwivedi said.

Dwivedi further told the workers that drug and alcohol use has no place during their employment term in Canada.

“I remain confident that you will work to the best of your ability and prove to your employer that their choice of having you as their employees was the right choice,” Dwivedi said.

“I must also remind that as part of remittances accord each month from your net pay you will be sending money back to the Province of Guadalcanal.

“These funds you will be sending will be used to further build province. You must remain committed,” Dwivedi said.

Paul Labukode [R] and Peter Sagaru walk out of Vancouver International Airport after receiving their 24 month’s work permit under GP-CITREC partnership. Photos from Canadian Government Communications
Dwivedi also encouraged the workers to send money back to their family in the Solomon Islands.

“When you send money back to your family in the Solomon Islands you are just not helping your family but the economy of Solomon Islands as well. I encourage you to use your funds wisely. Save and share with your family in the Solomon Islands,” Dwivedi urged the newly arrived workers

Dwivedi further said that he believes that by the end of next year the number of Solomon Islands nationals that are expected to work in Canada will significantly grow as more provinces are joining the programme.

“Canada’s foreign worker benefit is one of the best that is enjoyed by Guadalcanal workers. We in Canada treat our workers as family. And so far, our Guadalcanal workers have continued to show their dedication and commitment to their Canadian employers,” Dwivedi said.

Canada has started to issue Guadalcanal workers with 24-month work permits. Canada’s employment opportunity comes with Canadian standard wages, medical and housing, where a significant cost, housing is paid for by the Canadian employer. Employees under the contract only pay $30 a week in rental cost.

Also, employers pay for return air fare for the workers as part of their arrangement under Canada’s employment regulation. The airline ticket cost is not deducted from employee salaries.

“Our Canadian benefit under the foreign worker program is something that is widely talked about. When we have our workers from Solomon Islands they are also covered under the Workers Compensation insurance.

“This gives both the employer and employee a piece of mind that should worst ever happen there is workers compensation that will ensure that the employee is fairly compensated,” Dwivedi said.

He further said that Canada’s medical insurance also provided full medical coverage to these workers.

“As long as these workers remain in Canada they are covered under the medical insurance which ensures they have access to medical care that may arise,” Dwivedi said.

Last week it was announced that Solomon Islands National’s who are Job Ready graduates of the Canadian International Training & Education Corp (CITREC) programme from Guadalcanal have been included in a new stream of employment which includes employment in Canada’s Food Processing sector.

Also included in the pilot project will be the province of Makira-Ulawa, which has recently been added to list of eligible provinces alongside the Province of Guadalcanal as part of the labour mobility partnership with Canada.

Furthermore, this opportunity will also be extended to any province that will partner with CITREC.

Speaking on the achievement, Dwivedi said that “Solomon Islands and the people of Guadalcanal have created a very strong trust among Canadian employers through their performance that is helping to create more opportunity among many sectors across Canada.

“Guadalcanal people and province must be congratulated for their leadership in area of creating partnership with Canadian employers”.

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

During the presentation of documents to the two workers bound for Canada last week in a statement Guadalcanal Province’s Minister for Education Lazarus Rima had also reminded the two Canada bound workers that when they arrive in Canada his province only expects the best from them and that they must uphold their commitment to the Canadian employer.

“I want to remind you that you both represent your families, community, province and Solomon Islands as a whole. I only expect the best from both of you. Remain committed and dedicated and make Guadalcanal and Solomon Islands proud,” Rima said.

Rima has also reminded the two Canada bound workers to be good ambassadors and display their identity as responsible Guadalcanal people.

“Also let me remind you that when you touch down on Canadian soil you must be willing and ready to be follow Canadian law. You must always uphold the laws of Canada to your benefit and interest,” Minister Rina said.

Guadalcanal Finance Minister Amaziah Keith Rubo said that the GP-CITREC partnership is growing and that he wants to see the programme grow further.

“Therefore, you all act as important persons towards our partnership with Canada. As our partnership has already started to yield financial benefit we at the Guadalcanal government remain committed to see the human resources aspect of the program grow as well,” Rubo said.


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