Undocumented Workers in Ontario

About the Pilot

Gender and Migration as Social Determinants of Health: The Case of Latin American Undocumented Workers in the Greater Toronto Area

This pilot research project was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) in 2007, and aimed to engage in qualitative research that was relevant to and driven by the priorities of undocumented migrants themselves as well as those identified by health care professionals and allied service providers working with this population. At the time this research was proposed, only a few agencies in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) offered services to this population, and were the only ones to generate knowledge related to undocumented workers’ access and health needs. The situation has not changed much. Thus this pilot project was developed to address the need for more extensive research about undocumented migrant workers in Ontario and for knowledge to foster social change.

The main goal of this qualitative project was to explore the intersection of multiple determinants of health for both sexes, such as gender relations for men and women in the context of precarious work and disempowerment. The study specifically targeted Latin American undocumented workers performing jobs “typically” assigned to this population: construction for men and cleaning for women. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, a socio-demographic questionnaire, journal exercises, and observation notes. We anticipate that upcoming findings from this pilot will increase understanding in the areas of working conditions, health promotion strategies, access to services, and how these relate to gender and health within this population.

Please click here to read the full proposal of this research project.