Temporary Foreign Work, Precarious Migrant Labor and Advocacy in Canada: A Critical Exploratory Case Study

  • Author / Creator
    Brown-McLaughlin, Simone
  • Over the past forty-seven years, thousands of temporary foreign migrant workers have been arriving in Canada annually, to labor in sectors of precarious work including farming, caregiving and the service sector given the demand from employers seeking cheaper sources of labor or for work that Canadians are not available to do or are unwilling to do. Given the context of 21st century neoliberal capitalist globalization which has transformed the international division of labor, there has been an increase in the demand for migrants as a flexible source of cheap labor. Canada’s dependence on migrant workers has been facilitated through bilateral and unilateral programs with countries of the Global South to provide a steady stream of workers for its workforce.
    The purpose of this research was to critically explore and develop an understanding of precarious migrant worker exploitation and concerns pertaining to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) in Canada to inform advocacy undertaken by migrant organizations. Utilizing a race-gendered neo-Marxist perspective on capital and migrant labor a case study strategy was adopted and developed pertaining to the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and the Caregivers Program. Data collection included in-depth and focus group interviews with 17 farm and caregiver migrant workers and advocates, document reviews and analysis of web materials. Thematic analysis suggests temporary migrant work is marked by coercion, misrepresentation of contracts and bonded contractual arrangements. Migrant work and living in Canada are characterized by increasing levels of labor unfreedom experienced as domination, subordination, and race-gendered exploitation. Temporary foreign migrant workers are being driven further into debt, endure substandard working conditions and a social experience in Canada marred by prejudice, discrimination, and oppression. These preliminary critical exploratory findings inform advocacy work for migrant workers by contributing to new ways of "knowing and doing” and to challenge existing predatory precarious migrant work policies, processes, and experiences in Canada and internationally.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2020
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
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