The McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4) recently announced funding for 20 more projects in Round 2 of the MI4 Emergency COVID-19 Research Funding (ECRF) program, including projects from Arts professors Leonardo Baccini, Delphine Collin-Vezina, Charles Gladhill, and Jennifer Elrick. Read on to learn more about their timely research.
"The Political Economy of Governments' Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic"
Leonardo Baccini is an Associate Professor of Political Science at McGill University. Co-researching his project with Professor Abel Brodeur, University of Ottawa, he will explore the response of US governors to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the determinants of implementing stay-at-home orders, focusing on governors’ characteristics. In their most conservative estimate, Professors Baccini and Brodeur predict that being a Democratic governor increases the probability of implementing a stay-at-home order by more than 50 percent. Moreover, they find that the probability of implementing a statewide stay-at-home order is about 40 percent more likely for governors without a term limit than governors with a term limit. They also find that Democratic governors and governors without a term limit are significantly faster to adopt statewide orders than Republican governors and governors with a term limit. There is evidence of politics as usual in these unusual times.
"Responding to Child Protection-Involved Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic"
Delphine Collin-Vézina is an Associate Professor in the McGill School of Social Work and the Director of the McGill Centre for Research on Children and Families (CRCF). Her research project aims to document the challenges faced by frontline service-seeking and child protection-involved families during the COVID-19 pandemic. UNICEF has identified several potential negative consequences of the pandemic for children and adolescents due to the loss of school, community, and social aid resources, and the imperative to offer services to support vulnerable families and to provide targeted and effective services to meet their needs. This initiative is funded by the McGill’s SSHRC Institutional Grant with support from the MI4 Emergency COVID-19 Research Funding and the Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services and will take place from May 2020 to April 2021.
In collaboration with partners from the University of Toronto and front-line workers in Quebec and Ontario, she has developed online clinical checklists to facilitate worker conversations with families served by child protection and social services during the pandemic. These checklists include a set of questions regarding health and mental health challenges families might be facing. Resources accompany each item in the checklists to provide workers with quick, web-based access to current information, practices and protocols, to share with families to support optimal outcomes. These tools will be implemented in several provinces in Canada and, hopefully, across other countries that have expressed interest in adapting these tools to their social contexts. The data generated by the checklists will provide timely information that can directly influence practices and policies.
“Changing the Social Value of Work? The Effects of Covid-19 on Canada's Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)”
Jennifer Elrick is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at McGill University. Her project seeks to document how agricultural producers are managing the presence of seasonal agricultural workers during the first growing season of the Covid-19 pandemic. The aim is to assess whether the health crisis will lead to any changes to employment in a sector that is notorious for the exploitation of temporary foreign workers through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). Since the start of the pandemic, governments at different levels in Canada have started re-considering how some occupations like agriculture and care work are valued and remunerated; in the course of these discussions, jobs generally considered to be “low-skilled” have been re-branded as “essential.” But what, if any, effects will this re-branding have on the material situation of workers? Combining a survey of agricultural producers with a media analysis of the evolving discourse on “essential workers”, the project addresses the following questions: To what extent will the COVID-19 pandemic lead agricultural producers and immigration policymakers to experiment with changes to the conditions under which agricultural work is carried out, particularly by SAWP migrants? Could any changes perhaps pave the way for a revaluation of agricultural labour, and, relatedly, a renegotiation of the SAWP policy to bring agricultural migrants’ rights in line with those accorded to other immigrants to Canada?