Migrant and precarious workers

IAVGO has prioritized the WSIB cases of migrant farmworkers since 2005. We prioritize these cases because the WSIB refuses to correct the systemic barriers and discriminatory policies that prevent migrant workers from obtaining equal access to Ontario’s workers compensation system.

Migrant farmworkers do some of the most dangerous work in Ontario yet they are heavily precluded from obtaining their rights to workers’ compensation. Migrant workers are required to return to their home country almost immediately following a workplace accident. In our legal clinic’s experience, repatriation (being sent home) occurs before the WSIB fully investigates the extent of a worker’s injuries. Even if migrant workers are able to establish their injuries with the WSIB, there are a host of practical barriers and discriminatory policies that prevent migrant workers from receiving fair compensation. With limited exceptions, the WSIB systemically “disposes” of injured migrant workers to a life of poverty and ill health even though they were injured as a result of their labour in Ontario.

IAVGO strongly supports the recommendations by the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change:  everyone must be included in the “universal healthcare” system; farmworkers need strong health and safety protection at work including compulsory Coroner’s Inquests in the case of deaths; caregivers must be included in occupational health and safety laws; the WSIB must give injured migrant workers the choice and means to stay in Ontario for health care and they must end “deeming” of workers who are abroad. 

Know Your Rights Resources for Migrant Workers:

MWAC Healthy Jobs

Migrant Farmworkers

WSIB (English)

WSIB (Spanish)

WSIB (Thai)

Occupational Health and Safety (English)

Occupational Health and Safety (Spanish)

Human Rights Handout (English)

Human Rights Handout (Spanish)

Human Rights Handout (Thai)

Human Rights Workbook (English)

Human Rights Workbook (Spanish)

Human Rights Workbook (Thai)

Employment Insurance (English)

Employment Insurance (Spanish)

Live In Caregivers

WSIB for Live In Caregivers (English)


IAVGO’s Submission to the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety, July, 2010.


IAVGO works with grassroots organizations like Justicia for Migrant Workers to accept migrant worker case referrals. Their partnership has enabled our work with migrant workers.  IAVGO is a member of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change. 

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