Occupational Health and Safety for Migrant Domestic Workers in Canada: Dimensions of (Im)mobility

Nicole S. Hill, Sara Dorow, Bob Barnetson, Javier F. Martinez, Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the occupational health and safety experiences of migrant workers employed as live-in caregivers in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Interviews with and surveys of caregivers identify four categories of common occupational hazards, including fatigue, psychosocial stress, physical hazards, and exposure to harassment and abuse. These hazards are systemically perpetuated, made invisible, and rendered irremediable by intertwined (im)mobilities. At the macrolevel, they include highly circumscribed and precarious conditions of transnational care migration such as indenturing to private and underregulated recruiters, federal policies that tie status to employers and employment, and changeable, rule-bound pathways to permanent residency. At the mesolevel, we find a volatile mix of mobilities and immobilities associated with employment in the oil economy of Fort McMurray, such as high population mobility and turnover, long work and commuting hours, and remoteness. And, at the microlevel, we find the everyday immobilities and highly circumscribed conditions and complexities of working and living with employers in private homes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-421
Number of pages25
JournalNew Solutions
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov. 2019


  • Alberta
  • Canada
  • domestic work
  • migrant workers
  • occupational health and safety


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