“All of This Happens Here?”: Diminishing Perceptions of Canada through Immigrants’ Precarious Work in Ontario

  • Mary Jean HandeEmail author
  • Ayesha Mian Akram
  • Shelley Condratto


Prior to entering Canadian workplaces, immigrants generally expect strong legislative protections based on Canada’s global reputation for equity and equality as reported by Hardwick and Mansfield (Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 99(2), 383-405, 2009). However, after exposure to poor working conditions, employment standards (ES) violations, and challenges with filing claims for recompense, immigrant workers’ perceptions of work in Canada often diminish significantly. Although scholars have explored Canadian immigrants’ experiences with unemployment and poor working conditions, little research has uncovered the effects of these experiences on their shifting perceptions of Canada and their overall experience of adjusting to a new life in Canada. Our narrative data, collected in Ontario, Canada, reveals (1) the exploitation of immigrant workers’ perceived limited access to and knowledge of workplace rights and (2) limited access to employment opportunities and protections for immigrant workers. These two factors lead to workers’ diminishing perceptions of Canada as they navigate poor working conditions on the precarity track according to Goldring and Landolt (Goldring and Landolt 2013). This analysis offers insight into the everyday experiences of immigrant workers and the impacts of precarious employment on perceptions of Canada.


Worker perceptions Employment standards Immigration and settlement Precarious work Working conditions Canada 



This research emanates from the authors’ participation as student researchers in the Closing the Employment Standards Enforcement Gap Research Partnership, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada. The authors give special thanks to Justin Kong, Kiran Mirchandani, J. Adam Perry, and Leah F. Vosko for their intellectual contributions to this analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nova Scotia Centre on AgingMount Saint Vincent UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and CriminologyUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  3. 3.Department of Human Studies / Labour StudiesLaurentian UniversitySudburyCanada

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