Undocumented Workers in Ontario

Research Team

PILOT 2007

Principal Investigators:

Denise Gastaldo
Lilian Magalhães

Research Officers:

Melisa Dickie, MHSc, Health Promotion, University of Toronto
Amaia Saenz de Ormijana, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain
Frederica Gomes, PhD Candidate, Policy Studies, Ryerson University

Advisory Board Members and Community Partners:

Jussara Lourenço, Brazil Angola Community Information Centre
Debbie Pacheco, Portuguese Canadian National Congress
Duberlis Ramos, Hispanic Development Council
Yogendra Shakya, Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services


Principal Investigators:

Denise Gastaldo
Associate Professor
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto

Most of Dr. Gastaldo’s academic work relates to health promotion and community health and her scholarship also focuses on qualitative and participatory methodologies, being supported by poststructuralist and critical social theories. Currently, Dr. Gastaldo is developing research projects in Canada and Spain in the areas of gender and migration as social determinants of health.

Lilian Magalhães
Assistant Professor
School of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario

For over 25 years, Dr. Magalhães was extensively involved in occupational therapy education in Brazil. Currently, her academic work is organized around five domains which aim to analyze health practices and knowledge production from a cross-cultural perspective. These are: (i) gender, migration, and occupation; (ii) cultural aspects of health assessments (iii) cultural dimension of illness and occupation, (iv) qualitative methodology and second language speakers, (v) knowledge translation and exchange in crosscultural contexts.

Research Coordinator:

Christine Carrasco
MPH, Health Promotion, University of Toronto
Christine Carrasco is a health promoter and her interests in public health research and practice focus on working conditions, migration, and access to health and social services. Her graduate research explored bargaining power among undocumented migrant workers and some of her current work focuses on occupational health and safety in temporary work contexts. She has also worked closely with community organizations and grassroots groups to address some of the issues affecting low income, multilingual, racialized immigrants, refugees, and non-status newcomers.

Research Assistants:

Hewton Tavares, PhD Candidate, OISE, University of Toronto
Mariana Duarte, PhD Candidate, Public Health Science, University of Toronto

Transcription Support:

Kathy Morales, Nursing, University of Toronto
Alberto Carneiro, PhD Candidate, University of Windsor
Cristina Kramer, MA Program, Immigration and Settlement, Ryerson University

Advisory Board Members:

Cathy Tersigni is a RN and community health officer for Toronto Public Health in the City of Toronto. Ms. Tersigni is one of the founding members of the volunteer Community Health Clinic for the Uninsured in Scarborough, and she worked at the clinic for 8 years. Currently she is a member of the Women’s College Hospital’s Network for Uninsured Clients.

Jussara Lourenço is a counsellor for women survivors of domestic abuse or gender-based violence at the St. Christopher House Community Centre and former President of the Centre for Support and Social Integration Brazil-Canada. Ms. Lourenço has several years of professional experience working as a service provider with undocumented workers in Toronto. She is also a member of the Women’s College Hospital’s Network for Uninsured Clients.

Celeste Bilbao-Joseph has been a Clinical Psychologist for over 10 years and in the last 4 years has been working at the Center for the Spanish Speaking Peoples (CSSP) as an HIV/AIDS Clinical Counsellor providing short and long term Psychotherapy, group support services, crisis counselling and HIV/STIs prevention and education on Sexual and Mental Health. Mrs. Joseph has gained extensive professional experience working with Latin American undocumented populations from over 20 Spanish-speaking countries in Toronto.

Gerardo Betancourt was born in Mexico, where he graduated from Law and Education and worked as a high school teacher for five years. In 2000 he immigrated to Canada, and in 2006 he started working as a Men’s Outreach Worker at the HIV Prevention Program at the Centre for the Spanish-Speaking Peoples (CSSP). In 2009 Gerardo completed a Masters in Adult Education and Community Development at OISE, University of Toronto. He has presented at several national and international conferences and has been in involved in several community and research initiatives, including the first national Latino HIV/Hep C campaign in Canada “Guys Like You” www.guyslikeyou.ca, OHTN University Without Walls, and a community based research (CBR) project with Barry Adam called “Mano en Mano” www.manoenmano.ca. He is currently working as an AIDS Community Educator at the HIV Prevention program at the CSSP, and in the process of preparing a CBR study on Latino and Portuguese Vulnerabilities.

Community Partners:

Centre for Support and Social Integration Brazil-Canada (CAIS), formerly Brazil-Angola Community Information Centre – BACIC, is a community agency with over 10 years of experience providing confidential services to Brazilian newcomers to Toronto to promote their integration and participation in Canadian society. CAIS also has extensive frontline experience working with Portuguese-speaking undocumented workers and offers free language, counselling, and settlement services, irrespective of immigration status.

Recruitment Lead:

Juliana Ferreira, CAIS Volunteer Coordinator, Centre for Support and Social Integration Brazil-Canada

Centre for the Spanish Speaking Peoples (CSSP) is a community organization with over 30 years of experience serving recent newcomers from over 20 Spanish-speaking countries by offering a range of services to help overcome barriers based on language, race, age, sex, and sexual orientation. The Centre also serves Spanish-speaking undocumented workers in the GTA and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise on issues that directly impact Latin American undocumented populations.

Recruitment Lead:

Laura Fajardo, Counsellor, The Centre for the Spanish Speaking Peoples