The key Health and Safety protocols were as follows:
- Covid-19 testing prior to departure so that test results can be presented on arrival in Canada;
- Workers provided with travel kits containing face masks, disposable gloves and hand sanitiser;
- Workers to be quarantined for 14 days on arrival in Canada - WITH FULL PAY;
- Additional supplementary insurance to cover workers for all eventualities, including with COVID-19;
- Farm accommodations have been sanitised under the supervision of Canadian Health authorities and the ECLS; and
- Each farm has an appointed worker representative and is part of a WhatsApp group with the ECLS team in Canada with 24-hour hotline support.
The OECS Commission via the ECLS, ensured that all 180 workers were welcomed and assisted on arrival in Canada, by the Head, ECLS, Mr. Olaf Fontenelle and the ECLS team – who will ensure the wellbeing of all OECS farm workers while employed in Canada.
OECS Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules, commended all parties involved on the success of this initial charter flight stating,
“Healthy multilateral collaboration between the OECS Commission, the Government of Canada and the Governments of participating OECS Member States made it possible for these seasonal agricultural workers to benefit from their annual contracts, at a time when OECS economies are most vulnerable and sustaining employment is essential.”
“On behalf of the OECS Commission, I wish to thank the Canadian High Commission in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, the Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (FARMS), Global Affairs Canada and the Temporary Foreign Worker Directorate of the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, for the valuable support provided to transition to work these 180 OECS workers on this initial charter flight – amid COVID-19. I also express gratitude to our Member States, recognising cooperation with Ministries of Labour, for diligently adhering to the stringent health and safety measures put in place for the wellbeing of all.”
“Finally, I also wish to thank OECS farm workers for their continued commitment to the programme and their contribution to our economies.”