Migrant agricultural workers' deaths in Ontario from January 2020 to June 2021: a qualitative descriptive study

Int J Equity Health. 2022 Jul 16;21(1):98. doi: 10.1186/s12939-022-01692-7.


Background: Nine migrant agricultural workers died in Ontario, Canada, between January 2020 and June 2021.

Methods: To better understand the factors that contributed to the deaths of these migrant agricultural workers, we used a modified qualitative descriptive approach. A research team of clinical and academic experts reviewed coroner files of the nine deceased workers and undertook an accompanying media scan. A minimum of two reviewers read each file using a standardized data extraction tool.

Results: We identified four domains of risk, each of which encompassed various factors that likely exacerbated the risk of poor health outcomes: (1) recruitment and travel risks; (2) missed steps and substandard conditions of healthcare monitoring, quarantine, and isolation; (3) barriers to accessing healthcare; and (4) missing information and broader issues of concern.

Conclusion: Migrant agricultural workers have been disproportionately harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Greater attention to the unique needs of this population is required to avoid further preventable deaths.

Keywords: COVID-19; Canada; Death; Health risks; Migrant agricultural workers; Mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Farmers
  • Humans
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Pandemics
  • Transients and Migrants*