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A Bifurcated Welcome? Examining the Willingness to Include Seasonal Agricultural Workers in the Host Community

Sat, August 12, 10:30 to 11:30am, Palais des congrès de Montréal, Level 5, 517B

Abstract

Temporary migrants have become a permanent feature of Canada’s social and economic landscape. Yet, while a substantial body of public opinion research suggests that newcomers to Canada receive a ‘warm welcome’ in terms of Canadians’ open and positive attitudes toward immigrants and immigration, our understanding of the warmth of the Canadian welcome to non-citizens is extremely limited. This paper contributes to existing research by examining attitudes toward a specific group of non-citizens—seasonal agricultural workers—in a small farming community in Nova Scotia. The increasing presence of seasonal agricultural workers over the last 10-15 years is part of a broader transformation of Nova Scotia’s rural social landscape in terms of its changing sociodemographic composition. Studying the warmth in attitudes with which SAWP workers are received provides a unique opportunity to examine the reception of a relatively new minority group in the context of increasing ethnic and racial diversity. Drawing from an original telephone survey of 90 residents, this paper investigates whether local attitudes toward SAWP workers reflect a willingness for inclusion in the host community and broader society or whether the presence of social distance signals a bifurcated welcome. It then examines which social factors contribute to variations in the warmth of the welcome.

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