Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications


Emerging best practices for supporting temporary migrant farmworkers in Western Canada

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Summer 7-11-2021


Health and Social Care in the Community





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The aim of this study was to examine the role of support persons in determining migrant agricultural workers’ access to, or ability to navigate, public spaces and services. While the role of support networks for this population is still in its infancy, much can be gained from understanding the emerging best practices for helping this group. To refine our research design, we first carried out public consultations with hundreds of migrant agricultural workers (n = 234) and a community scan with various front-facing service agencies (n = 28) in 2018. Then, using a situational analysis research approach, we carried out 4 focus groups and 25 one-on-one interviews, recruiting a total of 35 informal and formal support persons as study participants between 2018 and 2019. Data analysis occurred over a 2-year period largely simultaneously with data collection. Developing analytic maps as outlined by Clarke’s approach to situational analysis, we reviewed texts and preliminary codes by organizing them in terms of situations, social worlds, and discursive positions. Ultimately, we identified 4 best practices: (1) Anticipating and addressing barriers; building trust and community; (3) acknowledging rights and system accountability; (4) bearing witness and looking to the future. Underlying these best practices was the need for support persons to display ‘support readiness,’ or specialized skills, motivation and a personal connection to migrant farmworkers. While these practices have the potential to improve migrant workers’ ability to fully participate in public spaces and access public services, until systemic constraints are addressed, support persons will be unable to fill the gaps in support for this population.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Citation of this paper:

Caxaj, C. S., & Cohen, A. (2021a). Emerging best practices for supporting temporary migrant farmworkers in Western Canada. Health & Social Care in the Community, 29(1), 250-258.

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