Opportunities for Public Health to Reduce the Burden of COVID-19 among Migrant Agricultural Workers in Canada

Publication Summary

This document is a summary of reports and recommendations made by the Migrant Worker Health Expert Working Group. It provides evidence-based and concrete suggestions for public health action to mitigate the impact of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, on migrant agricultural workers in Canada. Opportunities for public health to improve housing and work conditions, health services access and navigation, and communication and education for migrant agricultural workers are discussed.

Migrant agricultural workers come to Canada annually to help farmers with planting, harvesting, and processing foods. Clusters of community-acquired COVID-19 among migrant agricultural workers in Ontario during the 2020 growing season signify that migrant agricultural workers are vulnerable to infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19. This does not mean that the men and women who come to Canada to work are inherently at increased risk for COVID-19 or other infectious diseases. It is instead their circumstances in Canada, including their legal status and their social determinants of health, including working conditions, housing provided, and inequities in obtaining appropriate health care, that create situations of increased vulnerability.

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