Migrant Workers in the Canadian Maritimes

Migrant Workers in the Canadian Maritimes is a research and knowledge dissemination platform coordinated between Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia), St. Thomas University (Fredericton, New Brunswick) and Cooper Institute (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island). It involves the establishment of a collaboration amongst community allies: Tatamagouche Centre (Nova Scotia); The Filipino-Canadian CommUNITY of New Brunswick (FCNB); KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives (New Brunswick); and United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) and intends to examine the health and safety of temporary foreign workers (TFWs).

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COVID-19 and the health and safety of migrant workers in Maritime Canada

COVID-19 and the health and safety of migrant workers in Maritime Canada is the first project of the current partnership. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, TFWs have continued to form an important part of the workforce in Maritime Canada. While public attention has been focused on impacts of the TFW program on food productivity and continuity during the pandemic, there was little concern about the working and living conditions of the workers themselves.

This project fills this gap by documenting the social impact of COVID-19 on the occupational conditions of TFWs, while paying attention to how access to services and protections for migrants vary across the Maritimes. Further, it aims to increase local capacity for advocacy by generating strategic solidarity between migrant justice organizations in the region.

RESEARCH SITES

  • Prince Edward Island
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
Cooper Institute is the partner organization on the project for Prince Edward Island. Cooper Institute is a popular education and community development collective which combines research, community organizing and frontline support to enhance the health and safety of TFWs.

Cooper Institute anchors the current project while working in collaboration with KAIROS, Tatamagouche Centre, the national office of the UFCW as well as Dalhousie University and St. Thomas University.

Ann Wheatley, the Project Manager from Cooper Institute will work closely with Paola Flores (Project Coordinator) in managing recruitment and data collection for Prince Edward Island.
KAIROS, a Canadian faith-based social justice organization, has formerly supported diasporic communities in the Maritimes, particularly Filipino TFWs working in the seafood plants. KAIROS co-organized the 2016 Migrant Workers’ Forum in Fredericton that brought together 75 Filipino migrant workers as well as labour union representatives, students and community organizers.

The Filipino-Canadian CommUNITY of New Brunswick (FCNB) is a not-for-profit organization engaged in multicultural, social, civic, educational and charitable activities for the betterment of the Filipinos and Filipino-Canadians in the province of New Brunswick.

Connie Sorio, Migrant Justice Coordinator at KAIROS and Roland Moreno, Founding President and current Board of Director of FCNB, will work closely with Tracy Glynn (Project Coordinator) in managing recruitment and data collection in New Brunswick.

St. Thomas University is based in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Kristi Allain, Co-Investigator, will work closely with KAIROS, FCNB and Tracy Glynn in coordinating the project for the region.
The Tatamagouche Centre is a six-decade-old adult education and retreat centre rooted in Freirian radical education. It has long been a learning and gathering space for those committed to right relations, spiritual leadership and anti-oppression work including migrant justice.

Nanci Lee, Executive Director of Tatamagouche Centre, will work closely with Paola Flores in managing recruitment and data collection for Nova Scotia.

Dalhousie University is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Raluca Bejan, Principle Investigator, will work closely with Tatamagouche Centre and Paola Flores in coordinating the project for the region.

National
The UFCW is the largest union in Canada for agricultural workers and has been strongly involved in advocating for seasonal migrant workers’ rights to unionize. In Québec, for instance, UFCW helped migrant farm workers in signing collective agreements at several agricultural sites.

Derek Johnston, Special Assistant to the National President at UFCW, will support this project in guiding the research team with formulating policy recommendations and disseminating the research findings.