July 19th, 2024

Invest in Caribbean, leaders urge, as Trudeau promises new temporary worker program

By Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press on October 19, 2023.

Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take part in a bilateral meeting during the Canada-CARICOM Summit in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Caribbean leaders gathered in Ottawa for a two-day summit this week are urging the Canadian private sector to invest more in the region.

Their pleas came as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Thursday that Canada is creating a new temporary worker program for the fisheries industry.

“We want the Canadian private sector to come and be part of the opportunity, outside of the traditional areas of investment,” Guyanese President Irfaan Ali said Thursday, on the sidelines of an Ottawa summit of the Caribbean Community.

“Why this meeting is so critical is to send a signal to the Canadian private sector that they have to be more aggressive.”

Trudeau invited the group, known as CARICOM, to Ottawa to touch base on Canadian co-operation with the region. Canada has traditionally helped relay the region’s concerns at other international forums.

In Wednesday’s meetings, leaders from across the Caribbean spoke about how Canada can help create a safer, greener world, with a focus on climate change, reforming financial institutions and securing Haiti from a gang crisis.

Thursday’s meetings are focused on opportunities for Canadian investments in Caribbean countries, as well as boosting trade. Trudeau said Canadian industries can partner with countries in the region for green infrastructure, “smart agriculture” and renewable energy.

“Now it’s time to really dig in, on further concretizing and expanding on more ambition,” Trudeau said.

He added that Ottawa will be seeking more labour from regions like the Caribbean to work in fisheries.

“Canada is committed to implementing a new foreign labour program for aquaculture and fish processing under our temporary foreign worker program,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau is scheduled to take questions from reporters on Thursday afternoon, as the summit wraps up.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2023.

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