ABOUT THE EXPERT WORKING GROUP

The Migrant Worker Health Expert Working Group (MWH-EWG) was formed in April 2020 to address the needs of migrant agricultural workers (MAWs) in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. The MWH-EWG includes participation from academic and medical experts as well as clinical and social service leaders representing various key regions where MAWs are living and working.

The objectives of the MWH-EWG are to provide timely evidence-based guidance to both federal and provincial government agencies so that they establish adequate national standards, regulations and practices that ensure the health and safety of MAWs within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide support to federal agencies to ensure coordination and standardization of health service provision for this at-risk population across jurisdictions.

The MWH-EWG supports and advises governments in the development and implementation of standards that ensure the working and living conditions of MAWs enable necessary public health measures to be effectively implemented (including self-isolation, physical distancing and enhanced hygiene standards) to prevent COVID-19 virus transmission while working on Canadian farms and while residing in employer-provided accommodation.

The expert working group seeks to strengthen coordination and communication across governments (with Employment and Social Development and Immigration, Refugee and Canadian Citizenship at the federal level, and provincial ministries of labour and health, particularly in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia) and stakeholders engaged in health and social care provision for this population.

The MWH-EWG aims to support the development of standards and procedures for health care coordination that are designed to prevent and mitigate health and social challenges that MAWs are likely to face (or are currently facing) within the context of the current pandemic, and reduce barriers to accessing health information and medical care.

This group also aims to strengthen communication and information dissemination to MAWs. The MWH-EWG advises governments, agencies and health care providers in outreach and communication with migrant agricultural workers, health care providers, and community organizations to ensure that migrant workers can access medical care and adequate information about their health and legal rights.

a woman working in the field
people working in a strawberry field
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Co-Founders

Susana

C. Susana Caxaj

Assistant Professor, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Western University
Jenna L. Hennebry

Jenna L. Hennebry

Associate Professor, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University
Janet

Janet McLaughlin

Associate Professor, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Wilfrid Laurier University

Core Members

Tanya Basok
Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Windsor

C. Susana Caxaj
Assistant Professor, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Western University

Donald Cole
Emeritus Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Jill Hanley
Associate Professor, School of Social Work, McGill University

Jenna L. Hennebry
Associate Professor, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University

Eduardo Huesca
Migrant Farmworker Program Coordinator, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) 

Stephanie Mayell
PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto

Janet McLaughlin
Associate Professor, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Wilfrid Laurier University

Michelle Tew
Occupational Health Nurse, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) Hamilton Clinic

Anelyse Weiler
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Victoria

Leah F. Vosko
Professor of Politics and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Gender & Work, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University

Consultative Members

Bob Barneston
Associate Professor, Labour Relations, Athabasca University

Deon Castello
PhD Student, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University

Amy Cohen
Professor, Department of Anthropology, Okanagan College

Carlos Colindres
Independent Public Health Emergency Consultant, Complex Health, Disaster and Emergency Consulting Group

Aaraón Díaz Mendiburo
Professor of Anthropology, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Centro de Investigacions sobre América del Norte (CISAN)

Natalie Drolet
Executive Director/ Staff Lawyer, Migrant Workers Centre BC

Jason Foster
Associate Professor, Human Resources and Labour Relations, Athabasca University

Eric M. Tucker
Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Note:  The above names are listed in alphabetical order. The perspectives expressed on this website do not necessarily represent views of all members of the expert working group nor the organizations that they work.