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Gendered citizenship and migrant work in Canada




Alexandra Law


The Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program and the Live-In Caregiver Program facilitate migrant work in farming and home care, respectively. Though their industries differ, the programs are built upon similar assumptions about worker autonomy, transnational citizenship and the public-private distinction. This has consequences for migrating worker resistance in Canada. Workers first exercise transnational civil citizenship by signing an overseas contract. Conceived in law as autonomous contracting parties, they are nevertheless motivated by family relationships. In Canada, worker citizenship is managed through the work permit, a framework which enables workplace injustice. This injustice is maintained through a blurred line between 'just like family' and 'employee' status, and the public discourse of the 'family farm'. Using court cases as evidence, I conclude that worker disruption of the artificial line between public and private may result in positive legal change, including concrete gains in pay, benefits and labour protections.


Carleton University (Canada)

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Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers and Occupations in services - Domestic work

Content types

Policy analysis and Documented cases of abuse

Geographical focuses

Canada, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Other provinces, Federal, Nova Scotia, and National relevance