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Researcher / Research team

Jah-Hon Koo


ah-Hon Koo is a PhD student in Social Work at McGill University. Born and raised in South Korea, he earned his BA in Social Welfare from Yonsei University while actively involved in a volunteer group working with impoverished people in a shanty town in Seoul. In order to expand his understanding of social problems and change at the global level, he moved to Montreal to attend McGill University and conducted a case study on an international social movement coalition for his master’s thesis. After completing his MSW, he returned to his home country and worked several years as a community organizer at a local migrant workers center as a way to link grassroots practice with broader global issues. Before commencing his doctoral study back at McGill, he also gained teaching experience in Social Welfare and Community Practice at a few colleges as well as research experience at a public labor institute in Korea. Currently, he is studying the process of and the extent to which Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada, under unequal power relations, make decisions that affect their living and working conditions through socio-political participation.

Jah-Hon Koo’s research interests include: power and inequality; participation and community organizing; migrant workers; and structural (critical/anti-oppressive) social work. As a research assistant, he has been involved in research teams investigating “Access to health rights for migrants” and “Access to health and social services for temporary foreign workers.” He has contributed to studies on the health and occupational safety of domestic workers and the unionization and community organizing among temporary foreign workers.
His current research is focused on socio-political participation of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in Canada under unequal power relations. More specifically, he is examining, on one hand, how TFWs’ restrictive and vulnerable living and working conditions affect their participation in the activities promoting their working conditions as well as building collective power. On the other hand, he is investigating in what context TFWs’ workplace decisions are made and to what extent these so-called “powerless” and “low-skilled” migrant workers can determine their working conditions through their socio-political participation.





Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers, Occupations in services - Domestic work, Sales and service occupations - general, Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations - general, Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations - general, Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing, Dancers, and Other

Target groups

(Im)migrants workers, Policymakers, Journalists, Public awareness, Researchers, Unions, and NGOs/community groups/solidarity networks

Geographical focuses


Spheres of activity

Social work