Out of the Loop: (In)access to Health Care for Migrant Workers in Canada

Abstract

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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Notes

  1. 1.

    See Foucault et al. (1991) on this concept.

  2. 2.

    This study was funded by CERIS Ontario Metropolis Centre for Excellence in Immigration and Settlement.

  3. 3.

    The research team administered questionnaires to the migrant populations, taking issues of trust, accessibility, language and literacy into consideration. The principal investigator and coinvestigator, the university and community research assistants and International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) staff administered these questionnaires. All assistants were given appropriate training prior to survey administration. Ethical approval was granted for this research through the Wilfrid Laurier University Research Ethics Board.

  4. 4.

    FARMS is a private incorporated body comprised of growers association representatives which manages the SAWP employment, placements and transportation in Ontario. For more information, see www.farmsontario.ca

  5. 5.

    Using simple hypothesis tests, the incidence of these health problems are all different from zero with a 95 % confidence interval.

  6. 6.

    Some migrants from the Caribbean face language barriers owing to their accents and use of English or Patois vocabulary.

  7. 7.

    This relationship was determined to be statistically significant with chi-square test at .05.

  8. 8.

    For example, some 32 % of Jamaican workers reported a long-term illness as a result of illness/injury experienced while in Canada (Russell 2003).

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS) Ontario Metropolis Centre, which funded this work. The authors also acknowledge the contributions of Gabriel Williams and IMRC staff throughout the editing process.

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Correspondence to Jenna Hennebry.

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Hennebry, J., McLaughlin, J. & Preibisch, K. Out of the Loop: (In)access to Health Care for Migrant Workers in Canada. Int. Migration & Integration 17, 521–538 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-015-0417-1

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Keywords

  • Health care
  • Temporary foreign workers
  • Agriculture
  • Canada