Academic project lead, Dr. Leah Vosko, has joined a group of researchers and infection control and occupational health and safety experts to establish the Migrant Worker Health Expert Working Group to bring attention to the unsafe working conditions of the more than 50,000 temporary migrant workers who ensure that Canadians have food on the table every year. Due to the ways in which the labour market is structured, COVID-19 hits marginalized communities, particularly racialized communities, hard. This is particularly true of migrant agricultural workers, the vast majority of whom come from the Global South.
The group provides evidence-based guidance to federal and provincial government agencies to ensure the health and safety of migrant agricultural workers is taken seriously.
Dr. Vosko, drawing on the work done in the Closing the Employment Standards Enforcement Gap project, as well as related work on employment standards enforcement among migrant agricultural workers with Eric Tucker (York University) and Rebecca Casey (Acadia University), argues that inspections of farms (in person) are a crucial piece of protecting farm workers, as well as live and ongoing translation and accompaniment for workers who become sick and larger changes to temporary migrant programs to make it easier for workers to refuse unsafe work and safeguard their health and livelihood.
See migrantworker.ca for more information on the expert working group, as well as the recommendations made to provincial and federal governments during its COVID-19 response.
See Y-File for more information on Dr. Leah Vosko’s involvement.
See the Toronto Star for a letter to the editor published on Labour Day calling for better protections.