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A Critical Literature Review of the Impact of Precarious Work on the Mental Health of Immigrant Women in Canada

A Critical Literature Review of the Impact of Precarious Work on the Mental Health of Immigrant Women in Canada

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Title: A Critical Literature Review of the Impact of Precarious Work on the Mental Health of Immigrant Women in Canada
Author: Umaigba, Karina
Abstract: This critical review draws on existing literature on the discourse of precarious work within the Canadian nation-state. The goal of this research work is to critically examine the impact of precarious work on the lives, well-being and mental health of immigrants with a specific focus on immigrant women. Given that most research works have been mainly focused on the way in which precarious work creates health inequalities, this paper aims to throw light on the way in which precarious work can affect mental health. Also, the paper will examine the Canadian public policy response to this issue. The paper argues that Canada’s policy response is a reflection of the dominant political ideology within this nation-state. The dominant political ideology of neoliberalism seeks to justify minimal state intervention in policies that directly affect health and more broadly citizen’s life.
The following principal questions will guide this critical review. 1) Why are immigrants, particularly immigrant women of color disproportionately situated in precarious forms of labour within the Canadian nation-state? 2) How does precarious work affect the mental health of immigrant women? 3) How and to what extent has capitalism and neoliberalism within the Canadian nation-state helped to perpetuate precarious working conditions for racialized immigrant women? By interrogating Canada’s neoliberal policy agenda as it affects immigrants through entrenched legislations of immigrant classes, the primary goal of this paper is to advance the construction that immigrants/migrants exist for economic exploitation and gain. The main theoretical framework that will guide this analysis is based on a post-colonial feminist scholarship that analyzes how inequities grounded on gender, race, class, and migratory status intersect to create complex and diverse labour market results for racialized immigrant women in Canada.
A common theme that emerged throughout the critical review of several scholarly and grey literatures is that more women than men are situated in precarious work, and of those women in precarious forms of employment, women who identified as members of a visible minority group were even more disproportionately situated in precarious forms of work. Also, it was observed that the Canadian nation-state has to date failed to respond appropriately to this social and economic situation. Since employment and working conditions, unemployment and employment security -- described as some of the most crucial social determinants of health -- are significantly correlated to income and its security, allowing precarious work has only served to reinforce high-levels of income inequality, income insecurity and poverty within Canada.
Subject: Global North
Global South
Immigrants
Precarious Work
Neoliberalism
Gender
Political Economy
Nation-state
Mental Health
Type: Major Research Paper
Rights: The copyright for the paper content remains with the author.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/33977
Date: 2017-09-29

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