In the absence of adequate long term social protections many workers and their

In the absence of adequate long term social

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In the absence of adequate long-term social protections, many workers and their families have no way to replace or supplement their income, and therefore to support themselves. In such cases the effects on family dynamics and the sense of self-worth and dignity among workers can be profound. Health-Related InitiativesThe long-standing nature of the SAWP has led to some innovations and initiatives in health edu-cation and care for workers, though often in an inconsistent and ad hoc manner. In both Mexico and Jamaica, workers receive some basic training on health-related issues before departure, the main topic of which is sexual health (with a focus on HIV prevention). Pamphlets on health issues prepared for Mexican migrants bound for the United States have been adapted and provided for SAWP participants, dealing with issues such as tobacco and alcohol use, basic hygiene and con-dom use. Some workers have also received tips on bicycle safety. Occupational health and safety issues, however, are notably lacking in the workers’ training.In Canada, civil society and labour groups have become involved with education and support efforts regarding migrant health. A bilingual health and safety manual is distributed to work-ers primarily out of support centres run by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. Various advocacy and support groups have provided workshops on health and safety. Volunteers have helped to support workers’ transportation and in language interpretation to aid them in seeking medical attention. Relationships built in Canada often extend after workers return to countries of origin. Several organizations, including the UFCW, Justicia for Migrant Workers, and the Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario, have sought to provide assis-tance to workers after they have been repatriated. For example, they have assisted them in ap-plying for workers’ compensation and other benefits.OHCOW, with funding from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario, has been holding regular specialized occupational health clinics for migrant workers in rural Ontario since 2007. In the 2009 season, bi-weekly clinics have been held in Simcoe, with satellite clinics occa-sionally taking place elsewhere. The clinics are offered in accessible locations and times, typically near the grocery stores frequented by workers on Friday nights. Medical services are provided by occupational health specialists aided by interpreters and targeted information pamphlets. No health cards are required. If a worker has a workplace injury or illness, volunteers and staff are #10
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on hand to help fill out a workers’ compensation application. When needed, communication with workers may continue even when they are repatriated to their countries of origin. The project also provides workshops and safety interventions to migrant workers. In response to a high number of patients reporting ocular symptoms, workshops on eye safety, including the free provision of safety glasses, were provided at clinics, community events and on farms in the 2009 season. Despite the limited nature of the project, and challenges such as workers’ ongoing
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