Research and Policy Knowledge Exchange Forum on Immigration, Work and Health in British Columbia

Welcome to the web page of the Research and Policy Knowledge Exchange Forum on Immigration, Work and Health in British Columbia. The forum was held on February 12, 2009, at Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre, Vancouver.

This site provides information about the forum, a report from the forum and presentations by some of the guest speakers.

Purpose of the forum

Immigrant workers are important to the Canadian labour force, and most of the country's future labour force growth will depend on immigration. However, immigrant workers are more likely to work in poor-quality, low-paying jobs than Canadian-born workers. When injured at work, there may be challenges for immigrants with low job security, poor English language skills and limited familiarity with Canadian health-care or workers’ compensation systems. They may not report injuries if they have poor knowledge of their rights or fear losing their job and they may have trouble accessing and navigating the compensation and health-care systems.

These issues are often magnified for temporary foreign workers. These workers may grapple with the barriers mentioned above, as well as with work permits that tie them to specific employers, difficulty accessing health care and a lack of knowledge about their rights and responsibilities in Canadian workplaces.

A team of researchers, led by Dr. Agnieszka Kosny from the Institute for Work & Health in Toronto, has been exploring immigrant workers’ experiences after a work-related injury in Ontario. This research and policy knowledge exchange forum was held to begin examining similar issues in British Columbia. Individuals and organizations working in immigration/migration and occupational health, safety and rights were invited to share their understanding of immigrants’ labour market experiences and health outcomes.

We believe that the information exchange and networking opportunities that took place at the forum will ultimately strengthen the development of research, policy and advocacy around work-related disability prevention and immigration/migration.

Reports and presentations

The final report from the forum is available:

Selected presentations by guest speakers are also available: