Contending With Precarity: Health and Multi-Sectoral Supports for Migrant Agricultural Workers in Southern Ontario

Research has long-documented how Canada’s temporary foreign worker programs (TFWP) foster workers’ precarity through their status as non-citizens and living and working conditions, ultimately, impacting their health. While studies point to limited supports and services for workers, their role in reinforcing or alleviating the precarious conditions that migrant agricultural workers experience remains largely unexplored. This paper draws on interviews with 35 service providers in three migrant-intensive regions in southwestern Ontario, to explore how service providers describe and construct support. We explore the barriers workers face in accessing services, challenges providers experience in supporting workers, and strategies employed to surmount these barriers. We argue that this multiregional analysis is important to illuminate how support shapes and is shaped by the larger structural context, namely common features of Canada’s TFWP. A more comprehensive understanding of support moreover, provides direction for sustainable interventions that can promote the health and wellbeing of this population.

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