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.