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Foreign Affairs Minister Milner Tozaka has confirmed the Solomon Islands Government’s interest to engage in labour mobility opportunities with Canada.

A statement from the Foreign Affairs and External Trade quoted Minister Tozaka as saying plans are underway for Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to make a historical visit to Canada and hold talks on a number of important bilateral issues including labour mobility arrangements, clean energy and also to seek export opportunities for the people of Solomon Islands.

Minister Tozaka expressed these commitments at a recent meeting in Honiara with the visiting Chair of the Canadian International Training and Education (CITREC) and Solomon Islands Honorary Consul General Ashwant Dwivedi.

Mr Tozaka said Canada is considered a strong partner and they strongly believe that there is an opportunity in Canada that the government can take advantage of not limited to labour mobility.

Meanwhile, Mr Dwivedi met Prime Minister Sogavare who welcomed the opportunity with Canada, saying as members of the commonwealth, both countries share strong partnerships and he further looks forward to his proposed visit to Canada.



A High Level meeting to discuss remittances for foreign workers from Solomon Islands who plan to be working in Canada is taking place in Canada’s capital Ottawa.

The Remittances Commission consists of Senior Vice President of one of Canada’s largest banks, Accountants, lawyers and government officials who are discussing policy for CITREC-Guadalcanal Graduates and remittances that workers will be remitting.

One of the major arrangements that CITREC wants all stake holders to consider is that GP workers should be able to return home with more money and that the cost for them remitting funds to Solomon Islands be reduced to benefit and reflect savings.

CITREC Chairman Ashwant Dwivedi has asked that Canadian financial institutions introduce a low bank fee package for the GP workers so that Workers don’t pay large fees when they are sending their hard earned dollars back to the Solomon Islands.

Also there are discussions on what percent of withholding revenue should benefit the provincial government of Guadalcanal allowing GP to be a major beneficiary of the partnership.

In his opening remarks at the meeting Chairman Dwivedi praised Minister of Education for Guadalcanal Province Hon Lazarus Rinnah for his continued support to the CITREC project.

He also praised Guadalcanal Chief Education officer Mesac Suia and his staff for their efforts in making CITREC program a success.

The meeting held in Canada’s capital city also includes representatives of Settlement agencies that will be responsible to help workers find suitable accommodation and help workers establish themselves when they arrive from Solomon Islands.

Chairman Dwivedi said that he remains optimistic that the Remittances Commission will draw a conclusion that will benefit all the parties before he returns to Solomon islands in November to brief the Executive of the Guadalcanal government of the plan to consider and implement the recommendations of the commission.

“We are looking at the remittances model of that from Philippines, India and China. We are trying to see which model out of all three will best fit the benefiting criteria for the province of Guadalcanal,” Chairman Dwivedi said.

Chairman Dwivedi said that “given the fact that GP will begin to send workers in much larger numbers next year we need to sure that we establish a benefit package by early as January 2017”.

He said that there are Canadian government regulations that must be followed when remitting funds overseas and based on his discussions with Canadian authorities Solomon Islands nationals will not face any issues remitting funds back home provided their paper work as required by the Canadian banks and authorities are all in order.

Two Guadalcanal CITREC graduates have successfully arrived in Canada as part of a foreign worker partnership between Guadalcanal Province and CITREC Canada.

On July 7 (Solomon Islands Independence Day)   the   Canadian government’s Service Canada, approved the hiring of workers from Guadalcanal Province.

Under Canadian law before an employer can hire a seasonal worker to work from outside of Canada it must first enter into an agreement with the Canadian government.

This agreement ensures that the foreign worker entering Canada is paid the same benefits and compensation as a Canadian hired to do the same job.

“Canada does not discriminate foreign workers from benefits that Canadians will enjoy at the workplace. Under Canadian law if a job is paying a Canadian citizen $15 an hour, that is the same rate that the seasonal worker will benefit from and this is strictly enforced by the authorities,” Chairman Dwivedi said.

He said in this case the foreign workers are winning as the employer pays for most of their expenses.

Canadian officials have praised the partnership calling it a success and a right step in the area of Human Resource Development that will grow in the months and years to come and help boost foreign remittances into Solomon Islands economy.

The partnership between Guadalcanal Province and CITREC was at a standstill after previous GP governments had breached the financial aspect of the contract which had resulted in students not being able to travel for work opportunities to Canada.

Canada employs approximately 289,000 workers each year who are brought from other countries   to fill the labour shortage.


GP Praises CITREC Partnership


TWO Solomon Islands CITREC  students are set to travel to Saskatchewan province in Canada to work as part of the labour mobility scheme between Guadalcanal province and the Canadian International Training and Education Corp (CITREC).

Following two successful interviews, first of which was conducted by Guadalcanal Province Ministry of Education and Tourism with the students on Monday 19 July and the second on Wednesday 21 via skype with Canadian employers.

The two students Mr Careka Volly and Amelia Muse on Friday 22 signed their employment contract with the employer, witnessed by Premier Anthony Veke, his executive and Guadalcanal province .

Following the sealing of the contract document, Premier Veke congratulated MrVolly and Ms Muse for being selected and first to take on employment in Canada. “Go to Canada, work hard, be good ambassadors of Guadalcanal province and uphold the trust vested in you and what the province expects of you” Hon Veke told them.

He further stressed to the students that “your success is not for yourself, know that your family, the province and country expects a lot from you, you two are opening the door for lot more Guadalcanal students to follow suit, therefore be good, enjoy your time and work good knowing the future of the programme is in your hands” Veke said.

The two students are employed by in Saskatchewan province.

Some of the conditions agreed upon and signed by the students includes; work schedule, wages and deduction, reviewing of wages, travel expenses, accommodation, hospital and medical insurance, workplace safety insurance (Worker’s Compensation), notice of resignation and notice of termination of employment.

The employee (Guadalcanal Students) shall work 40 hours per week. Workday shall begin at 8:00am and ends at 5:00pm, with a 60 minutes break time that includes lunch and coffee breaks. Shifts and weekend work maybe required. The employees are entitled to two days off per week and 15 days of vacation.

The employer agrees to pay the employee a gross wages of (USD)$440 per week or $11 per hour on a bimonthly interval basis. All deductions payable as prescribed by relevant national and provincial laws of Canada are subjected to the employer. Further the employer agrees to review and adjust(if necessary) the employee’s wages after 12 months of employment to ensure they meet the prevailing wages rate for the occupation in the region.

The employer also assumes a non-recoverable cost of two-way ticket for the employee to and from Solomon Islands and Canada.

The employer will not provide accommodation but will ensure that the employee receive reasonable and proper accommodation. Hospital, medical and workplace safety Insurance shall be covered for by the employer at no cost to the employee nor deduction from their gross wages.

Should the employee wishes to terminate his/her contract, a written notice of one week must be submitted to the employer. Likewise the employer must give a one week written notice before terminating contract of the employee after he/she has completed three months of uninterrupted service with the company.

Guadalcanal provincial government is proud of this milestone and the province is also set to benefit from the scheme through remittances.



(L-R) His Excellency Collin Beck, Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Canada, His Honour Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Honourable Steven Point, Solomon Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Peter Agovaka, CITREC CEO Ashwant Dwivedi and Solomon Islands Minister for Education,Hon. Dick Ha’amori during official lunch  fucntion at the Government House. The lunch was hosted by Government House in honour of the Solomon Islands delegations visit to British Columbia.

Office of Prime Minister, Honiara: The Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade Hon Peter Shanel Agovaka and the Minister for Education and Human Resources Hon Dick Ha’amori completed a weeklong visit to Canada in partnership with CITREC last week.

The Ministers introduced Solomon Islands and followed up with the three Canadian Provinces, namely British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan on Labour, Trade, Education and Tourism Opportunities.

The delegation met and spoke with potential buyers of Cassava and Taro in British Columbia, held discussion with Canadian Federal Food Inspection Authority and met with educational institutions and the provincial tourism Bureau.

The delegation also explored labour markets in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Discussions were held with various Provincial Governments Ministers and authorities. Offers of long term arrangements were heard of which the Government is looking into the details in partnership with CITREC.

The visit was considered a success with visits now being planned by the Canadian Private sector to the country by potential buyers and more talks in country.

The two Ministers are expected to hold a press conference in Honiara on Friday 9th March, 2011.

The Ministers are pleased to return last Friday after touring in sub zero temperatures.

The temperature in Alberta was minus twenty-nine degrees Celsius and in Saskatchewan was below forty-one degrees Celsius.