Photo: Migrants working in Canada suffer from a number of ailments
Two new research papers have revealed that migrants working in Canada often develop health problems as a result of their grueling jobs, and unfit housing.
The papers say that migrants from Mexico, Jamaica, the Philippines and other countries are not given proper safety training and often live in hot, cramped quarters. Some don’t even have access to clean water, causing health issues, such as persistent back pain, eye and skin disorders, and mental health problems.
One of the papers, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, was co-written by Jenna Hennerby, a social scientist with the International Migration Research Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., who said over-crowded housing, 12-hour work days, and lack of knowledge about their health care rights, and the pain of being away from loved ones take a toll on the migrant workers.
It was written that those with health problems do not seek medical care because either they don’t know they are entitled to it, cannot get away from work to go to a doctor, or are simply worried about losing their jobs.
Hennerby said, “One of the most disturbing things we found were the barriers to accessing health care and compensation,” and “forty-five percent of those surveyed indicated they were fearful of reporting concerns to employers.”
The report authors all state that there needs to be more stringent federal regulations on housing, and that safety training and free protective gear need to be given. The workers need to know their rights to health care.
Hennerby points to the 193,000 migrant workers admitted into Canada on temporary work permits in 2008, and says a changes need to be made soon,
“As we have these growing numbers, we’re going to have more and more vulnerable workers and more and more tragic and disturbing things happen.”