News Detail

MLSS PR Unit October 11, 2023

Addressing Concerns and Ensuring Clarity on the Farmwork Programme

labour ministry with coat of arms

Communication Unit

1F North Street, Kingston

Tel: (876) 967-5484

Fax: (876) 948-2831



Tuesday, October 10, 2023



Addressing Concerns and Ensuring Clarity on the Farmwork Programme


The Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS) reiterates its steadfast commitment to safeguarding the rights, interests, and well-being of all Jamaican workers, participating in the Farmwork programme. In doing so, the Ministry acknowledges the concerns and criticisms that have been raised regarding the Farmwork Programme. We understand the importance of open dialogue and constructive feedback in shaping policies and programme that benefit all stakeholders involved.

At the heart of our commitment to the Farmwork Programme is the well-being and welfare of Jamaican workers who participate, the farmers who host them, and the reputation of our nation and partners.

Protecting farmworkers who are injured on the job

The welfare of Jamaican farmworkers is safeguarded by instituted frameworks and other systems established by both governments of Jamaica and Canada.

Once a farmworker sustains an injury on the job, a report is submitted to the Workers Compensation Board by the treating physician, the worker, and the employer. This report initiates a series of processes to assess the severity of the injury and to determine the level and type of support needed by the worker.

In the case of workers who are permanently injured the medical report is submitted to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). This report assists them in making a decision on the amount, if any, that is to be paid to the worker.

There is an appeal process that is available to workers who are dissatisfied with the decision of the WSIB. The Liaison Service assists in filing appeals and attends the Board Appeals Tribunal hearings with the workers.

Legal Representation and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

As part of our ongoing thrust to improve the protection of our workers, free legal representation is provided to bring their concerns before the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Notwithstanding, workers also have the option to secure their own legal representation.

The WSIB makes awards based on the loss of function and/or the degree of impairment sustained by a worker injured on the job.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security welcomes the recent ruling by Canada’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal in September 2023, which now enables migrant farmworkers who have been permanently injured because of the job, to be provided with compensation beyond the twelve (12) weeks which had been the precedent by the WSIB.

Additionally in cases where an injured farmworker is repatriated to Jamaica, the following services are provided by the MLSS:

  1. The transfer of all the required medical reports and other relevant documents to the local medical service provider so that the transition to medical care at home is seamless.
  2. Continued contact with the MLSS Welfare Unit who liaises with the local medical service provider and the injured worker to ensure that all appointments are kept. Further the unit ensures that reports are sent back to the Liaison Service so that costs incurred by the worker to access medical services can be reimbursed.
  3. The welfare unit also submits claims for payment by the medical service provider on behalf of the injured worker, and follow-up to ensure that payments are affected in a timely manner.

If farmworkers have concerns, complaints, or questions about their medical care they are encouraged to share these with the welfare unit to be addressed in collaboration with the Liaison Service.

While we acknowledge that no program is without its challenges, we are dedicated to addressing concerns and ensuring that accurate information is presented to the public.

To this end:

1. We commit to enhancing the transparency of the Farmwork Programme, providing clear information about the rights and responsibilities of both workers and host employers.

2. We will continue to engage in open and constructive dialogue with stakeholders, including Jamaican workers, host farmers, and our international partners, to identify areas for improvement.

3. We are actively working to strengthen the support systems available to Farmwork Programme participants, ensuring their well-being, safety, and access to essential services.

4. We will collaborate with relevant agencies and organizations to offer training and education to empower workers with the skills needed to thrive in their host countries.

5. We will investigate and address any reports of exploitation, unfair treatment, or inadequate working conditions promptly and decisively.

The Farmwork Programme remains a valuable avenue for employment and economic growth, and the Ministry is committed to its continued success.


Contact: MLSS Communication Unit (876) 967-5484|Email:
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