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Migrant and Temporary Foreign Worker Initiatives

After more than a decade engaging stakeholders around newcomer services, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has expanded the mandate of the Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership (WE LIP) to officially include community efforts focusing on Migrant and Temporary Foreign Workers in our region.

Building on the work of WE LIP council member organizations, such as the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG), WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation, the municipalities of Kingsville and Leamington, and the Migrant Workers Community Program, WE LIP will engage in a number of initiatives that meet the mandate of improving services, promoting collaboration, strengthening social integration, and encouraging social and cultural connection.

Migrant and Temporary Foreign Worker Partners

TeaMWork Project Logo

The TeaMWork Project

As a result of the successful migrant and temporary foreign worker initiatives, in 2022, Workforce WindsorEssex and the Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership (WE LIP) were invited to apply to hold the funding for the Migrant Worker Support Program in Essex, Kent and Lambton counties. On December 19th, 2022, Workforce WindsorEssex and WE LIP were proud to launch the TeaMWork Project: Together Empowering Access for Migrant Worker Outreach, Resources, and Knowledge.

Funded by Employment and Social Development Canada, TeaMWork is a project under the Migrant Worker Support Program. The purpose of the program is to provide migrant workers with accurate information and access to available services and supports, and to assist them in learning about and exercising their rights while in Canada. The funding will serve the best interests of Migrant Workers in Essex, Kent, and Lambton counties. More specifically, the MWSP and TeaMWork Project objectives aim to:

  • Increase migrant workers’ awareness and understanding of their rights and responsibilities through educational activities and/or educational material;
  • Empower migrant workers to exercise their rights by providing or assisting in accessing services available to them;
  • Foster inclusion and welcoming of migrant workers through social, cultural, and/or recreational events;
  • Support migrant workers during emergency situations;
  • Foster new partnerships or leverage existing partnerships/networks to support migrant workers;
  • Develop and implement coordinated approaches among community organizations, and/or build their capacity and knowledge to provide resources and services to migrant workers.

For more details, visit the TeaMWork Project website here: www.TeaMWorkProject.ca

Community Conversation: The Economic & Social Impact of Temporary Foreign Workers in Windsor-Essex

On November 12th, 2020, WE LIP was proud to hold the first Community Conversation on the Economic and Social Impact of Temporary Foreign Workers in Windsor-Essex. The planning of this unique event was informed by a steering committee made up of WE LIP council members, and was the first of what we hope will be many conversations focused on the needs, challenges, outcomes, and successes of our temporary foreign worker population, and all the service providers and community partners that work hard to support them.

The community conversation was supported and co-chaired by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Windsor-Tecumseh MP, Irek Kusmierczyk, along with WE LIP’s Community Connector, Michelle Suchiu. Over the two-and-a-half-hour event, 135 unique participants representing over 70 different stakeholders and service providers joined the conversation to learn about local community engagement work, hear details about the Migrant Worker Support Network pilot project from British Columbia, and hear from panelists representing Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and Employment and Social Development Canada.

During the conversation, as well as through outreach that followed, WE LIP asked partners to help identify priorities for next steps in our Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) initiatives. Planning partners had the opportunity to review draft results, and worked together to craft an Action Plan for Temporary Foreign Worker Engagement. Included are potential ways in which WE LIP can continue working with current and future partners to help advance this very important work.

For more details please see the November 2020 Success Story

View the feedback from the conversation on our Community Conversation Twitter Moment


“We as a community, as a municipality, need to put our arms around everyone who lives here, who works here, who plays here, and that is how we are looking going forward.”

– Mayor Hilda MacDonald

Research: Get to Know Your Neighbours

In 2021-2022 the Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership partnered with the University of Windsor on a Temporary Foreign Worker research project: Get to Know Your Neighbours.

About the project: Lead by Dr. Glynis George, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology at the University of Windsor, the goal of the project was to add to our knowledge of Temporary Foreign Workers in the Kingsville, Leamington and surrounding areas to better understand the ways they contribute to the local economies, how they learn about the community, what services they use, and why they choose to work in Canada.

Dr. George and her team of Research Assistants, Erika Borrelli and Jemimah Amos, conducted interviews and outreach to a number of stakeholders in the community, including healthcare providers, towns and municipalities, industry representatives, community groups and workers themselves. The scope of the project was expended by the addition of a MITACS grant.

Outcomes of this research were presented on March 30th by Dr. George and her team.

You can watch a recording of the event here:



You can download a copy of the PowerPoint presentation here:

You can read the full report here: 

Workplace Wellness for Agri-Food Workers Task Force

As part of a stakeholder engagement strategy, WE LIP Council member organizations, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, and Ontario Health West (formerly the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (ESC LHIN)) expressed an interest in creating a task force with the goal to co-develop a cross-sector collaboration in the community focused on improving health system response to Agri-Food worker health needs. The result was the development of the Workplace Wellness for Agri-Food Workers Task Force (WWAW). As an extension of the Health Working Group brought together by the OGVG during their Building a Stronger, More Connected Kingsville-Leamington”  community engagement, as well as the engagements done by WE LIP, Ontario Health West, and the subsequent Health Equity for Newcomer/Immigrant Committee (HENI), this task force comprises members from across Windsor-Essex who have important roles to play in Agri-Food worker health.

The Workplace Wellness for Agri-Workers Task Force is chaired by Sarah May Garcia, the Health System Strategy and Implementation Planner with Ontario Health West. The Task Force members representing 24+ different service providers, government bodies, and community groups, and involves the sharing of information and best practices, promoting partner programs, and co-ordinating on shared initiatives in support of the Agri-Food sector and Agri-Food worker communities.

Recent coordination efforts have centered around vaccination education and outreach for workers, and supports for Agri-food vaccination clinics. BPOA

Outcomes of the Workplace Wellness for Agri-Food Workers Task Force includes the formation of a HUB Connect Sub-Committee, connecting Windsor-Essex County Health Unit staff and other partners with OGVG to help grow and develop their HUB Connect App; the Transportation Sub-committee, connecting stakeholders engaged in ensuring safe active transportation for TFWs, as well as the support and sharing of a number of partner initiatives, including the We Speak Initiative, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s Healthy Workplace Awards, the Canadian Mental Health Association’s On the Front Lines project.

Workplace Wellness for Agri-Workers Task Force

“Our communities are inclusive. We welcome, support, and appreciate the contributions of all residents—international and local. Our success is only possible because each person is supported by the workforce, organizations, and other residents to contribute their diverse gifts to create a thriving community for all.”

– OGVG, Building a Stronger, More Connected Kingsville-Leamington

In the Media:

Healthy Minds Series

After a review by the WE LIP council members of the Mental Health Roundtable report produced in fiscal year one, WE LIP partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association – Windsor (CMHA) and the Migrant Worker Community Program (MWCP) to produce the mental wellness sessions, Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body. The initial session was offered virtually in four (4) languages through Facebook Live. These languages were Spanish, French, Arabic and English.

After the success of the initial presentations, the partnership expanded to include Pozitive Pathways and the Consulate of Mexico in Leamington, and produced five (5) additional sessions in Spanish and English. Topics include: Sexual Health, LGBTQ2S+ Basics, Coping Strategies, Bereavement, and Addiction and Harm Reduction.

We Speak was used for the Spanish presentation.

Below you will find the link to VIDEOS and SLIDES related to each presentations:

Workplace Wellness for Agri-Food Workers: HUB Connect Sub-Committee

The outcome of the Workplace Wellness for Agri-Food Workers Task Force is the connection of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) with three staff members of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) to help develop and update OGVG’s HUB Connect App for International Agri-Food Workers.

The HUB Connect App is a “network of community resources to help international farm workers and newcomers alike to navigate our rural communities. The App contains information on regional services such as: health care providers, community events, transportation services, local news and weather, consular information and important contacts, in addition to agriculture specific guidelines.”

In order to help track progress and maintain momentum, a sub-committee was formed with participants from OGVG, WECHU, Access Alliance, and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers. The first meeting took place November 30th where WECHU shared current updates, and discussion focused around ways to improve uptake of the app and what content was needed to make it invaluable to the end user.

You can download the HUB Connect App here:

To learn more, click the images below:


Economic & Social Impact of Temporary Foreign Workers Task Force

As part of WE LIP’s Community Engagement Strategy the team has re-engaged the Economic Impact working group from the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers’ 2018-2019 community engagement “Building a Stronger, More Connected Kingsville-Leamington.” Now named the Economic and Social Impact of Temporary Foreign Workers Task Force, this group will continue the work of collecting data on the economic and social contributions Migrant and Temporary Foreign Workers make to Windsor-Essex.

After the initial 2019 collaboration between Invest WIndsorEssex (formerly the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation), the University of Windsor, and Workforce WindsorEssex, a preliminary Impact Report was written from which the Task Force will continue to update and expand. The data has informed a positive messaging social media campaign in 2021-2022.

The Task Force is chaired by Invest WindsorEssex Business Ombudsman, Marion Fantetti, and is made up of members from Workforce WindsorEssex, the Migrant Worker Community Program, OGVG, and the City of Windsor.

You can read the updated 2021-2022 report here:



Positive Messaging Campaign

WE LIP Council members organizations will partner to create a positive messaging social media campaign to help reinforce the social and economic contributions that Migrant and Temporary Foreign Workers make to the local economy and to the fabric of the community.

The Economic and Social Impact of Temporary Foreign Workers Task Force was formed to continue the engagement work started by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers. In 2019, the original collaboration of the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation, the University of Windsor, and Workforce WindsorEssex resulted in a preliminary impact report on Migrant and Temporary Foreign Workers in our community.

The current Task Force, made up of members from Workforce WindsorEssex, Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation, the Migrant Worker Community Program, the City of Windsor, and Service Canada, have used these findings as a foundation to develop and expand on the many contributions Temporary Foreign Workers make to the community.

WE LIP developed the campaign with a commitment from partners to help amplify the message. Migrant workers contribute to the economic, social, and cultural fabric of the community and it is important that these positive impacts be highlighted and shared widely.

Follow us on Twitter to see and share the campaign!

You can see a selection of positive messages here (don’t forget to share!): https://twitter.com/i/events/1357038010236366851


We Speak

An early success of the Migrant and Temporary Foreign Worker initiative was the important role the newly established We Speak interpretation initiative played for health partners operating the Agri-Food Worker COVID-19 Testing Centre in Leamington and Essex-Windsor EMS at the Isolation and Recovery Centre.

The We Speak initiative was born out of work completed by Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership (WE LIP) in collaboration with the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (now Ontario Health West). Through engagement with newcomers and health service providers, the need to address language barriers within the health care system was identified.

The project team worked with Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services (MHCS) to develop a group purchase plan, allowing providers to access translation services at a discounted rate based on the group’s usage. A central number was established, giving providers the ability to register their organization and gain access to scheduled or on demand translation services (in-person, by phone or video).

This initiative played an important role when COVID-19 started to effect migrant worker communities, and testing and healthcare outreach became paramount. As Stacy Shepley of Essex-Windsor EMS confirms, “[d]uring complex times We Speak has provided our service the ability to effectively communicate with clients where English was not their firs language. In the past, language barriers created a large challenge during health assessments and hindered our ability to appropriately meet clients’ needs in a timely manner. The translators are professional, easy to understand, patient, and very supportive.”

You can find more information about We Speak here.