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Drawing on a survey of nearly 600 migrant farm workers in Ontario, Canada, we investigate the ways in which the liminality of temporary migrants is both conditioning and consequential in terms of health for these migrants. In particular, we demonstrate how the liminality inherent in managed temporary migration programmes creates the conditions for heightened vulnerability, which also have consequences for the health of migrant workers and their access to care. We discuss common barriers to health care access experienced by migrant workers, including employer mediation, language differences, and hours of work.
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... Notably, according to a study of physician examinations in the United States, there was a 35% prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among Latino migrant farmworkers [7]. Moreover, Latino migrant farmworkers have been facing language barriers [8] which have impacted their levels of risk in terms of occupational health and safety [9]. Furthermore, they have been unlikely to report their poor working conditions [10]. ...
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In North America, Hispanic migrant farmworkers are being exposed to occupational ergonomic risks. Due to cultural differences in the perception and reporting of effort and pain, it was unknown whether standardized subjective ergonomic assessment tools could accurately estimate the directly measured their physical effort. This study investigated whether the subjective scales widely used in exercise physiology were associated with the direct measures of metabolic load and muscle fatigue in this population. Twenty-four migrant apple harvesters participated in this study. The Borg RPE in Spanish and the Omni RPE with pictures of tree-fruit harvesters were used for assessing overall effort at four time points during a full-day 8-h work shift. The Borg CR10 was used for assessing local discomfort at the shoulders. To determine whether there were associations between the subjective and direct measures of overall exertion measures, we conducted linear regressions of the percentage of heart rate reserve (% HRR) on the Borg RPE and Omni RPE. In terms of local discomfort, the median power frequency (MPF) of trapezius electromyography (EMG) was used for representing muscle fatigue. Then full-day measurements of muscle fatigue were regressed on the Borg CR10 changes from the beginning to the end of the work shift. The Omni RPE were found to be correlated with the % HRR. In addition, the Borg RPE were correlated to the % HRR after the break but not after the work. These scales might be useful for certain situations. In terms of local discomfort, the Borg CR10 were not correlated with the MPF of EMG and, therefore, could not replace direct measurement.
... Although all provinces and territories receive migrants (Hennebry 2012), the largest proportions work in Ontario and British Columbia, where labor-intensive crops are most prevalent (Caxaj and Cohen 2019). While some features of Canada's labor migration policies are considered successful (Basok 2007), many also recognize Canadian policies' negative impact on migrant agricultural workers (Caxaj and Cohen 2019;Hennebry et al. 2016;Preibisch and Otero 2014;Vosko, 2015). While Canada's policies are strong in minimizing irregular migration, the structure of the policies creates a state of precarity and vulnerability to potential abuse for migrants (Caxaj and Cohen 2019;Gabriel and MacDonald 2011;Horgan and Liinamaa 2017). ...
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International migrant workers play an increasingly important role in the global economy and labor markets. As of 2017, there were 164 million migrant workers around the world, representing 4.7% of all workers. Although found in a variety of sectors, both the Global North and South rely heavily on migrant agricultural workers to fulfill domestic labor shortages in the agricultural sector. This paper explores migrant agricultural worker policies and demand in Thailand, Italy, and Canada and compares the policy responses to COVID-19 and the subsequent treatment of migrant agricultural workers in these three countries. Using the documentary method, we first develop detailed cases of each country’s migrant agricultural worker policies, demand, and response to COVID-19. Then a comparative analysis is conducted between Thailand, Italy, and Canada to identify emerging themes in policy, COVID responses, and migrant agricultural worker treatment. Despite the critical importance of migrant agricultural workers to each country to agricultural economies and food security, many workers still face policy challenges and mistreatment that were exacerbated by COVID-19. This work highlights the need for governments and policymakers to create new inclusive policies that guarantee improved labor, health, and safety standards and quality of living for all migrant agricultural workers, guaranteeing their basic human rights.
... PNG nationals who live across this border are 'liminal'-existing in the space betweenwith both rights and restrictions placed on them by Australia [36]. There are, however universal human rights that apply regardless of political agreements, and it is contingent on these services to provide emergency care consistent with human rights. ...
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The international border between Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) serves as a gateway for the delivery of primary and tertiary healthcare for PNG patients presenting to Australian health facilities with presumptive tuberculosis (TB). An audit of all PNG nationals with presumptive TB who presented to clinics in the Torres Strait between 2016 and 2019 was conducted to evaluate outcomes for PNG patients and to consider the consistency and equity of decision-making regarding aeromedical evacuation. We also reviewed the current aeromedical retrieval policy and the outcomes of patients referred back to Daru General Hospital in PNG. During the study period, 213 PNG nationals presented with presumptive TB to primary health centres (PHC) in the Torres Strait. In total, 44 (21%) patients were medically evacuated to Australian hospitals; 26 met the evacuation criteria of whom 3 died, and 18 did not meet the criteria of whom 1 died. A further 22 patients who met the medical evacuation criteria into Australia were referred to Daru General Hospital of whom 2 died and 10 were lost to follow-up. The cross-border movement of people from PNG into Australia is associated with an emergent duty of care. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of patient outcomes are necessary for transparency and justice.
Chapter
This chapter introduces the theoretical framework adopted in this book and applied to the case of migrant farmworkers. It begins by elaborating the conception of transnational employment strain among precarious status workers—a holistic framework accounting for relations of social reproduction and production, citizenship status, and transnational relations—that builds on, yet departs from, foregoing scholarship on employment strain. To situate this new conceptual model, the chapter also describes the institutional framework guiding the employment of migrant farmworkers in Canada by offering an overview of the nature, operation, and growth of temporary migrant work programs in agriculture, with attention to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) and Agricultural Stream (AS) of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and source country dynamics therein.
Chapter
In this chapter, we utilize the transnational employment strain model, outlined in Chapter 2, to examine working and living conditions of migrant farmworkers in two Canadian provinces, Ontario and Quebec, before the COVID-19 pandemic. We demonstrate that well-prior to the pandemic migrant farmworkers faced employment demands such as occupational health hazards, including workplace harassment, and workplace pressure to increase productivity and extend their working hours. Separated from their households and communities across transnational space, migrant farmworkers have long been placed in employer-provided housing, often located on farm or adjacent to the worksite and shared with their co-workers. Under these circumstances, housing can be regarded as an extension of worksite, and housing conditions, particularly the overcrowding and substandard conditions, constitute another employment strain. Furthermore, tensions between co-workers flowing from this cohabitation increase employment demands for these migrants. At the same time, we illustrate that the employment resources available to migrant farmworkers to buffer employment demands, such as control over the working environment, broadly conceived, fair remuneration, and employers’ expressions of appreciation, are extremely limited. Finally, government initiatives to address migrant farmworkers’ employment demands in the 2000s and 2010s have a limited impact in light of migrants’ precarious residency status and transnational lives.
Conference Paper
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Farming is a dangerous and stressful occupation. A recent study demonstrates that Canadian farmers experience higher levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and emotional exhaustion than other groups. In 2017, approximately 50,000 migrant agricultural workers (MAWs) from Mexico and various Caribbean countries travelled to Canada on temporary work permits, yet little attention has been given to the mental health experiences of this population. Although they generally arrive in Canada healthy, the social determinants of health associated with seasonal farm work in Canada render MAWs structurally vulnerable to a variety of poor health outcomes, including poor mental health. In 2018, the federal government revealed a pilot initiative aimed at supporting the mental health of Canadian farmers and their families; but, the program does not include MAWs. Drawing on ethnographic research with Jamaican farm workers, five seasons of clinical observations, and anthropological data, this presentation details the stressors MAWs encounter in Canada, and situates these experiences within the broader context of mental health in Canadian agriculture. Because workers’ experiences, expressions, and communication of poor mental health symptomatology are shaped by socio-cultural factors, insights surrounding cultural conceptions of mental health as well as idioms of distress will be discussed. To conclude, the importance of accessible primary health care and social support will be presented, and practical suggestions aimed at improving the mental health of MAWs will be advanced.
Chapter
Similarities and differences exist between contemporary temporary migration schemes in Australia and much earlier schemes, notably nineteenth-century blackbirding, and present-day schemes in Canada, New Zealand and elsewhere. Contemporary schemes are better regulated with superior wages, accommodation and conditions, with less overt racism, but few workers in both eras were able to convert the immediate gains from temporary employment into longer-term sustainable development. Contemporary schemes all demonstrate the precarity of employment, wage theft, difficult and exploitative social conditions and uneven benefits. The principal beneficiaries are the employers despite the substantial economic gains of migrant workers and the wider development benefits. Temporary migration produced a ‘triple-win’ for workers, their home and destination countries, but without equity and at some social cost, amidst an elusive development.KeywordsBlackbirdingSustainable developmentCanadaAustraliaSeasonal Worker ProgramRegulation
Technical Report
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This project was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), and took place from May 2021 to March 2022.. The main goal of the project was to create an inventory of available mental health and psychosocial wellbeing supports and services available to Latinx and Caribbean International Agricultural Workers (IAWs) in Ontario. The report includes literature review and interviews with workers and key stakeholders. It is available at OHCOW's webpage <https://www.ohcow.on.ca/posts/mental-health-psychosocial-supports-iaw-workers-ontario-2022/>
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Growing numbers of migrant workers worldwide face human rights violations, exploitation and mistreatment, and lack broader social protections granted to permanent residents in countries where they work. Protecting migrant labour was an objective at the founding of the International Labour Organization (ILO), documented within the Declaration of Philadelphia in 1944. Yet, more than 60 years on, despite numerous United Nations (UN) conventions, declarations and frameworks aimed at protecting their rights, migrant workers remain marginalized. In the context of globalizing labour markets and economic crises, migrant workers are a particularly vulnerable group. This article will discuss the extent to which the Global Social Protection Floor Initiative (SPF) has addressed this group, and will assess how well existing international, bilateral and national frameworks for social protection extend to migrant workers.
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