The on-going Covid-19 pandemic has had devastating economic effects on many industries. However, few have suffered to the same extent as full-service restaurants. Numerous studies have shown that immigrants are over-represented in precarious, hourly food-service jobs. Covid-19 has suddenly intensified the uncertain, stressful and already difficult circumstances of immigrant food service sector workers. Early reports suggest that racialized immigrants and immigrant women have been particularly affected. Indeed, policy experts are predicting that many of the lost jobs will never return. By exploring the role of social capital in helping immigrants in Toronto’s restaurant industry to cope with the industry-specific effects of government-mandated Covid-19 prevention measures (i.e. job loss, furlough, reduced hours, reduced pay) and how these interact with immigration status and settlement trajectories to influence resilience, this research seeks to inform both post-pandemic and foodservice-related policy to make sure that immigrants working in the restaurant industry are do not become the unseen casualties of the pandemic. While anecdotal evidence of home kitchens and platform work to supplement lost jobs exists, it is essential that immigrants are not replacing one precarious job for another. These already marginalized workers deserve and need more targeted training and reskilling to ensure that they are supported and that their human capital is not being wasted.
I would be interested in developing research questions with an eye towards comparative perspectives, both within Canada as well as internationally.
Please weigh in if you have a similar research focus!
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