We are grateful to the many people who contributed to this study in diverse ways. In particular, we thankfully acknowledge funding from WorkSafeBC (the Workers Compensation Board of British Columbia); the research assistance of Pat Burnett, Sarb Gill, Christina Hanson, Hayley Jones, Ruman Kang, and Jasmeet Mangat; the intellectual contributions of our collaborators on the Community University Research Alliance “Economic Security,” Marjorie Cohen, Seth Klein, David Fairey, Erika Fuchs, Christina Hanson, Arlene McLaren, Adriana Paz, and Mark Thompson; the access to workers facilitated by Gurcharan Dhillon, Lucy Luna, Stan Raper, Abbotsford Community Services, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union; the invaluable contributions of our research participants; and the critical feedback we received on this article, both from Luin Golding and our anonymous Rural Sociology reviewers. We dedicate this article to the farmworkers who inspired our study.
Does Citizenship Status Matter in Canadian Agriculture? Workplace Health and Safety for Migrant and Immigrant Laborers†
Version of Record online: 3 APR 2014
Copyright © 2014, by the Rural Sociological Society
Volume 79, Issue 2, pages 174–199, June 2014
How to Cite
Preibisch, K. and Otero, G. (2014), Does Citizenship Status Matter in Canadian Agriculture? Workplace Health and Safety for Migrant and Immigrant Laborers. Rural Sociology, 79: 174–199. doi: 10.1111/ruso.12043
- Issue online: 11 JUN 2014
- Version of Record online: 3 APR 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 20 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 15 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Received: 13 FEB 2013
- WorkSafeBC (the Workers Compensation Board of British Columbia)
This article explores how precarious legal status circumscribes differential inclusion in the agricultural labor market and affects workers' lives through a comparative study of workplace health and safety among temporary migrant guest workers and immigrants in Canada. Original, multimethod research with South Asian immigrant and Mexican migrant farmworkers examines employment practices, working conditions, and health-care access. We find that both groups engage in precarious work, with consequences for their health and safety, including immigrant workers with citizenship. Nevertheless, migrant guest workers are subject to more coercive forms of labor discipline and a narrower range of social protection than immigrants. We argue that while formal citizenship can mitigate some dimensions of precariousness for farmworkers racialized as non-white, achieving a more just, safer food system will require broader policies to improve employer compliance and address legislative shortcomings that only weakly protect agricultural labor.