Marie-Hélène Budworth

Associate Professor of Human Resource Management, specializing in learning, development & motivation.

Marie-Hélène Budworth

Migrant workers in Canada

May 11th, 2016 · No Comments · Uncategorized

I have been working on a series of studies with my co-author, Dr. Sara Mann from the University of Guelph.  Together we have had some really interesting experiences looking at migrant workers on farms in Ontario.

Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program gets a lot of bad press.  I will not review the criticisms here as I am certain you are either aware of them or a quick google search will get you up to speed.  In our relationship with the program, we are not focussed on it from a policy angle or from a immigration standpoint.  Nor are we looking at single cases where it is easy to find some pretty difficult stories.  We are hoping to look at the program more broadly in order to gain an understanding of what this type of work arrangement means for foreign workers, their families at home, and the communities wherein those families reside.  On the flip side, we are also interested in looking at the individual farmers and the communities within Ontario (where this project is based) in order to understand the impact of the work arrangement on the work and home lives of the employers.

So far, as part of this project, Sara and I have had a chance to spend time with farmers in Ontario who hire Foreign Workers, and sit through a series of meetings with Caribbean governments around the details of the program.  The experience has been nothing short of fascinating.  There are so many issues to explore – immigration versus migration, secondary economies, quality of life.  We are at the very early stages of our work so I am reluctant to share any ‘findings.’  I can say that there are many people who feel very strongly about this program and Canada’s role in supporting the movement of labour in this way.  When I tell people we are working on this project, they almost immediately reflect on the stories they have heard from the media.  These stories are certainly important, however, I am not convinced they represent a complete picture.  In today’s global marketplace, there are many models for employment and all need to be examined from many perspectives in a balanced and careful manner.  I will keep you posted on our work!


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