Living at Work and Intra-worker Sociality Among Migrant Farm Workers in Canada

Abstract

This article examines how the dormitory labour system as it is employed in the agricultural streams of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) affects workers’ everyday sociality. In the article, I demonstrate how the physical compression of home and work into a singular geographic site shapes workers’ identities and everyday relationships. Drawing on findings gathered from interviews with migrant farm workers from Mexico and Guatemala working in Southern Ontario, I explore how the requirement to warehouse temporary foreign workers directly on employer property collides with workers’ ability to establish an autonomous and dignified life in Canada. In particular, I demonstrate how the TFWP agricultural dormitory system produces inter-generational dynamics that intensify worker self-discipline and generates gender dynamics that support the development of a hyper-productive transnational workforce.

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Correspondence to J. Adam Perry.

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Perry, J.A. Living at Work and Intra-worker Sociality Among Migrant Farm Workers in Canada. Int. Migration & Integration 19, 1021–1036 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-018-0583-z

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Keywords

  • Temporary foreign worker program
  • Migrant workers
  • Canada
  • Dormitories
  • Precarious work