Theme Lead:


Margaret Walton-Roberts is Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo in the Geography and Environmental Studies Department and affiliated to the Balsillie School of International Affairs. She is an editor with Gender, Place and Culture and Studies in Social Justice. Her research interests include global migration, gender, and social and economic integration, including the labour market integration of health workers, particularly nurses.



 Health Workforce Research in Progress

Global Nurse Migration Pathways

SSHRC Insight funded international comparative project on three nurse migration pathways (Philippines-Singapore, India-Canada, Vietnam-Germany), which offers a comparative analysis of different nursing migration models, and contributes to debates on policy convergence in selective immigration, fair migration, the increasing complexity of migration pathways, regimes of skill, and the transnationalization of health and elder care. Part of the dissemination strategy for this project is the use of story maps representing each of the pathways examined.

COVID-19 and Long Term Care Workers: Staffing Shortages and Diverse Pathways to Entry.

This SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant aims to understand the scale and nature of the diverse pathways used by temporary migrants to enter Personal Support Worker employment before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the type of training and education secured, particularly the use of ‘two-step’ migration pathways. By mapping the various pathways used to enter this sector, employers, educators and individuals can collaborate to improve training, working conditions and general knowledge of the opportunities and demands present. The project is in partnership with the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington and Dufferin.

Associated with this project is a MITACS Accelerate PDF that complements the PE grant by providing a quantitative analysis of labour market demographics in health related professions, including immigrant health workers. This will provide useful data for employers and educators and assist in understanding how the targeting, recruitment, retention and training plans of local health employers can more effectively incorporate IEHPs.

Taking a Lead: How Canada Can Model Gender Justice in the Global Governance of Health Worker Migration.

This project is developing a policy brief to promote Canada’s deeper engagement in global health worker migration issues. This policy brief is centred on health workers, specifically female health workers and is based on the premise that Canada can model and promote gender justice through a stronger global lead in migrant health worker equity. This follows from Canada’s long term engagement in the global governance of health and migration. The brief is led by graduate students at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, with the briefs presented to Global Affairs Canada and published in the summer of 2021.

Building Migrant Resilience in Cities/Immigration et résilience en milieu urbain

Dr Walton-Roberts’ involvement in this Partnership Grant is focused on the growing presence of international students in Canada, including those entering the health field and using two-step migration in order to enter the Canadian labour market.

Recent Publications: 

Walton-Roberts (2021) Global Migration, Gender and Health Professional Credentials: Transnational Value Transfers and Losses. (Edited collection). University of Toronto Press.

Oluwatobi Ogundele and Margaret Walton-Roberts (2021) “COVID-19 and health worker infections: The need for disaggregated intersectional data.” Gender ad COVID-19 working group blog for World Health Worker Week March 31st

Esses, Victoria; McRae, Jean; Alboim, Naomi; Brown, Natalya; Friesen, Chris; Hamilton, Leah; Lacassagne, Aurélie; Macklin, Audrey; Walton-Roberts, Margaret (2021) “Supporting Canada’s COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery Through Robust Immigration Policy and Programs.” FACETS: official journal of the Royal Society of Canada’s Academy of Science

Phillips, S., and *Mehta, H. Walton-Roberts, M. Esri-SDG story map competition entry, 2020 top ten finalist

Walton-Roberts, M. (2021) “Bus stops, triple wins and two steps: nurse migration in and out of Asia.” Global Networks 21,1: 84-107.

Gahwi, L., and Walton-Roberts, M., (2020) “Migrant Care Labour and the COVID-19 Long-term Care Crisis: How Did We Get Here?” Balsillie Papers June 2020

Walton-Roberts, M. (2020) “If COVID-19 is the Titanic, the economy is the iceberg.” April 22nd

Walton-Roberts, M. (2020) “COVID-19 and Global Human Health Resources.” Balsillie Papers Issue 01, April 2020

Walton-Roberts, M. and S. Irudaya Rajan (2020) “Global Demand for Medical Professionals Drives Indians Abroad Despite Acute Domestic Health-Care Worker Shortages.” Migration Policy Institute (MPI)

Research in Progress:

Gahwi, L. and Walton-Roberts, M. (submitted) “Migrant Care Labour, Covid-19, and the   Long-term Care Crisis: Achieving Solidarity for Care Providers and Recipients.” In Migration and Pandemics: Spaces of Solidarity and Spaces of Exception edited by Anna Triandafyllidou, Springer.

Walton-Roberts, M.  (Forthcoming) “COVID-19 and Health professionals.” In COVID-19 and Similar Futures: Geographical perspectives, issues and agendas. Edited by Gavin J. Andrews, Valorie Crooks, Jamie Pearce and Janey Messina, Springer.