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Ethics and the Compensation of Immigrant Workers for Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

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This paper examines the compensation process for work-related injuries and illnesses by assessing the trajectories of a sample of immigrant and non-immigrant workers (n = 104) in Montreal. Workers were interviewed to analyze the complexity associated with the compensation process. Experts specialized in compensation issues assessed the difficulty of the interviewees’ compensation process. Immigrant workers faced greater difficulties with medical, legal, and administrative issues than non-immigrants did. While immigrant workers’ claim forms tended to be written more often by employers or friends (58% vs. 8%), the claims were still more often contested by employers (64% vs. 24%). Immigrant workers were less likely to obtain a precise diagnosis (64% vs. 42%) and upon returning to work were more likely to face sub-optimal conditions. Such results throw into relief issues of ethics and equity in host societies that are building their economy with migrant workers.

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Preparation of this article was made possible by financial support from the Centre Léa-Roback sur les inégalités sociales de santé. The study was carried out with financial support from the Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC no. 9455775R-4668).

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Correspondence to Sylvie Gravel.

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Gravel, S., Vissandjée, B., Lippel, K. et al. Ethics and the Compensation of Immigrant Workers for Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. J Immigrant Minority Health 12, 707–714 (2010).

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