Jamaican man in vineyard

Meet Barrington, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica

My name is Barrington Blake. I am from the Parish of St. Elizabeth, in Jamaica. I started this program in 2001. I had an accident and I was back home on a break for four years and then came back. People may not know that with the program we have a health card and an insurance card that we can use to get medication if we are ill and go to the doctors so we don’t have to pay any money.

Originally I was given a card to come and do an interview with a Member of Parliament. There were people from Canada and the Jamaican Ministry that interviewed us. They interviewed about 4,000 of us and then if you were chosen, you’d get your pass and wait to do your medical at the Ministry of Labour in Kingston, Jamaica. If you passed your medical, you wait to get your flight process and flight date to come to Canada. It was pretty smooth sailing and that was how I got here.

This program has done lots for me, I could afford to school my kids, give them education that I never really got. My wife Althea and I have been together for 30 odd years now. We have five beautiful girls and two boys. I talk to my family every day; most breaks, evenings and nights. We talk and video call so we can see each other.

Back home I am a sport person .I played a lot of cricket, I used to run and play a lot of soccer games. If I am not playing it, I am watching it. I was at the BMO field recently for a Toronto FC game against the New England Revolution. My friend from Ontario has season’s tickets and asked me if I wanted to go. Obviously I said yes because I always talk about it. When we got there it was amazing! I love watching soccer because it is 90 minutes of excitement. There are lots of Jamaicans that play in the major leagues here so it is fun for me. We also have some Canadians friends with kids and we will go and watch their hockey or baseball games too.