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Many N.S. immigrant women suffered with jobs they held during COVID-19: report

March 6, 2024
The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. Nova Scotia is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Immigrant and migrant women in Nova Scotia were an important part of the essential worker labour force during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their physical and mental health suffered as a result.

That’s the conclusion of a new report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, whose researchers interviewed 27 newcomer women who worked in sectors such as food service, cleaning, grocery and care giving between 2020 and 2022 in the province.

Report co-author Catherine Bryan says labour data is scarce for immigrant women and migrant women — defined as people who worked in the province but who were not settled there.

But she says her research indicates there was a high number of newcomer women working jobs during the pandemic that put them at a high risk of contracting COVID-19.


Bryan, who’s a Dalhousie University associate professor of social work, says the women interviewed for the study described experiencing extreme stress at work.

Many highlighted the challenge of enforcing COVID-19 restrictions on the job, which they said sometimes resulted in violent or angry outbursts from the public.

The think tank’s report says immigrant and migrant women and their families are struggling to recover from the financial and emotional strain they experienced during the pandemic.

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