Action Research for the Health and Safety of Domestic Workers in Montreal: Using Numbers to Tell Stories and Effect Change
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In 2007, a Filipina organization in Quebec (PINAY) sought the help of university researchers to document the workplace health and safety experiences of domestic workers. Together, they surveyed 150 domestic workers and produced a report that generated interest from community groups, policy-makers, and the media. In this article, we-the university researchers-offer a case study of community-university action research. We share the story of how one project contributed to academic knowledge of domestic workers' health and safety experiences and also to a related policy campaign. We describe how Quebec workers' compensation legislation excludes domestic workers, and we analyze the occupational health literature related to domestic work. Striking data related to workplace accidents and illnesses emerged from the survey, and interesting lessons were learned about how occupational health questions should be posed. We conclude with a description of the successful policy advocacy that was possible as an outcome of this project.
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