What Are the Impacts of Worker Housing Location on Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program Participants

Date: April 20, 2022

Author: Louis Helps, PhD Student at the University of Guelph

On March 26, 2022, Louis Helps, a PhD student in the Rural Studies program, presented at the 24th Metropolis Conference – Reopening Canada: Looking to the Future of Immigration, Settlement, and Integration in Vancouver. Metropolis is the largest national annual event gathering people from across academia, government, and the private and non-profit sectors to discuss issues pertaining to Canadian immigration.

Louis presented the results of his MSc (Rural Planning & Development) thesis. This research focused on Mexican participants in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) and investigated the impact of the location of worker housing on their access to services, their mental and physical wellbeing, and their relationship with their employer. A critical finding of this research is that migrant workers living in remote locations are more dependent on their employers to access services than those who live close to a town. This dependence reduces their access to healthcare and support services, increases their social isolation, and exposes them to an increased risk of exploitation.

Louis’ thesis can be found at the Atrium at the University of Guelph.