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Two Words, Two Realities The Social Experience of Seasonal Agricultural Workers in Quebec




Mélissa Dubé


This thesis explores the social experience of Mexican and Guatemalan temporary
immigrants in Quebec who are part of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP)
and the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP). Two distinct perspectives exist on
the matter: that the programs are beneficial for all parties involved (workers, employers, and
governments); and, that the programs exploit the workers involved, who must make
important sacrifices and get meagre benefits. In the literature review, a neoliberal
environment is found to be a macro factor that affected the programs substantially. This
thesis, based on qualitative research conducted with workers and other program participants,
brings new evidence to bear on these debates. Even though the workers come to Quebec
strictly to earn money for their families, the social isolation and language barrier they endure
in their host communities make their lives in Canada often very difficult. While more and
more activities for the workers are being organised, additional efforts could be made. This
thesis concludes that, overall the experience of the workers is not poor, but there is clearly
room for improvement in order to balance their significant sacrifices and the benefits they
(and Canada) get from the difficult work they perform.

Number of pages



University of Ottawa

Akademikong Department

School of Globalization and International Development


M.A. (Globalization and International Development)


Pang-ekonomiyang sektor

Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations - general

Mga Uri ng Nilalaman

Policy analysis, Dokumentado kaso ng pang-aabuso, and Current Policy

Target na mga grupo


Geographical kaugnayan

Canada, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Iba pang mga Lalawigan, Pederal, Nova Scotia, and National relevance