International Migration Research Centre

Document Type

Policy Points

Publication Date



Department of Health Studies


Department of Geography and Environmental Studies


Annually, approximately 30,000 migrant farmworkers come to work across Canada from countries such as Mexico, Jamaica, Guatemala, the Philippines and Thailand through Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and the Pilot Project for Occupations Requiring Lower Levels of Formal Training (NOC C and D). Their health and safety has long been a neglected area of research, but several recent studies have now shed light on some important issues of concern. Despite these studies’ diverse contexts (Ontario and British Columbia) and methods (quantitative questionnaires and qualitative ethnography) the similar findings in each study demonstrate consistent patterns. The purpose of this backgrounder is to summarize the main findings of this recent research: (1) Hennebry, Preibisch and McLaughlin 2010; (2) McLaughlin 2009; and (3) Otero and Preibisch 2009. More detailed information on the studies is included on page 5, followed by a list of recommendations.