Holness’ administration’s inability to help citizens in Canada obtain education credentials to help with employment has been disastrous
Education is the universal language of success, and those words are always present in the minds of Jamaicans from birth to the collegiate level and into the workforce. A hallmark of Jamaicans is their commitment never to stop learning, especially for those wishing to immigrate to a country like Canada to pursue a brighter future.
It is, however, far too common when immigrants arrive in Canada from Jamaica to be fully trained with all the necessary skills in various fields to assimilate into the Canadian work environment. Sadly with all the skills and training they accumulate while in Jamaica, they will almost certainly be made to redo parts, if not all, of their education or training to continue to work within their desired field.
That is why it is highly troubling and disappointing to hear so many ex-pats in Canada feel the Holness administration has turned its back on them when seeking assistance obtaining something as simple as proof of education certificates, transcripts and credentials.
A process is as simple as going to any educational facility’s website and entering your personal information, which is standard practice. And when that is not possible, a timely phone call should suffice. Unfortunately, Holness and his administration’s sense of urgency or duty to help its citizens abroad is not a priority for many Jamaicans living in Canada.
There is a long and growing list of Jamaican Canadians that have been judiciously reaching out to various educational institutes for years to obtain official copies of their academic credentials. They are still waiting to receive a response.
One example is citizens that have completed training in the trades industry and have been offered employment in Canada in their field of trade. This is significant because trade credentials such as a Red Seal or Journeyperson certification are universal. Which means there is no requirement to be retrained. With the Jamaican government’s inability to help their citizens abroad, they lose the opportunity to be gainfully employed in their desired fields.
We reached out to Prime Minister Holness’s office and that of the Minister of Education Fayval Williams to assist in one specific case a couple of months ago, but they have yet to take the time to respond. In this case, a gentleman graduated from a trades program taught at Adelphi Skills Training Centre and was offered employment in Canada, provided he could confirm his education. He has spent years trying to get a copy of his credentials. On the other hand, we had spent several months sending multiple emails to the Adelphi management to assist, but they have yet to provide this gentleman with the help he needed. In our numerous emails to Adelphi, we received a corresponding follow-up email that they would look into the matter.
A fundamental duty of any government is to help and uplift their citizens at home and abroad. It is unrealistic to expect the Prime Minister to know every broken system, right? But does the buck pass to his Ministers and their subordinates? Ultimately, he is accountable.
His administration is doing a considerable disservice to the men and women asking for his help, and they are not getting it. He is missing an excellent opportunity to showcase Jamaica’s extraordinary teaching skills and training programs. Canada has an ambitious goal of increasing its immigration intake to 500,000 per year, which many will require skilled professionals. Without a clear path for Jamaicans entering Canada that can not obtain lost or missing credentials, they are at a significant disadvantage in being accepted into the country.
We have covered Holness many times over the years, seeing that he has formed a great bond with Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau. Until now, we have never had to write a negative story about him, which only highlights the sense of urgency of this issue and will no doubt have Ottawa asking some tough questions about his administration.
There is always time for a course correction as the Prime Minister, and his administration is only effective if they adequately serve the people who put them in power to govern. Jamaicans should never feel that their government doesn’t care about their best interests or that they are third-class citizens.
There is a significant Jamaican community in Canada, home to the third largest Jamaican diaspora outside of Jamaica. The notion of their country of birth alienating them rather than helping elevate them should never happen, especially when they are proud to tell the world that the education they received is first class from Jamaica!