Every year, The Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation offers scholarships to outstanding doctoral candidates addressing themes of particular relevance to Canadian society. Trudeau scholars are PhD students who have shown that they are committed to academic excellence, contributing to public dialogue, and advancing interdisciplinary research.
Anelyse Weiler received the Trudeau Fellowship award for her research and advocacy, which focus on advancing health equity and dignity with migrant workers in Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry, while simultaneously advancing economic viability and ecological sustainability. Weiler’s doctoral research is supervised by Professor Josée Johnston, and she is continuing to work with her MA co-supervisor Dr. Hannah Wittman at the University of British Columbia.
Due to their social location and precarious citizenship status, migrant farmworkers face a range of equity issues, including exposure to toxic agrochemicals and the threat of repatriation. They also face barriers to participating in food system decisions that affect their lives. Through mixed-methods comparative research in Canada, the United States and farmworkers’ countries of origin, Weiler’s research will unearth the farmworkers’ perspectives on food justice and food sovereignty. Paradoxically, farmworkers often face food insecurity themselves. Weiler’s research will shed light on how migrant farmworkers’ knowledge can inform local and transnational efforts toward a more equitable, ecologically resilient food system.
Very much committed to community-engaged scholarship, Weiler is involved in a range of initiatives focused on advancing sustainable agriculture, migrant justice and farmworker health. This has included a collaborative research project with Sustain Ontario, along with volunteer advocacy with Justicia for Migrant Workers and the BC Employment Standards Coalition. In addition, she is helping to coordinate a research project to formally train BC physicians on addressing health barriers faced by migrant farmworkers.
The Trudeau Scholarship provides Weiler with a stipend and travel funding for three years to support original fieldwork and knowledge exchange. It also provides her with the opportunity to work with the vibrant intellectual community that the Trudeau Foundation has developed since its establishment in 2001. This includes formal mentoring by Canadians with extensive experience in public life, who support Trudeau Scholars in contributing to public policy and ensuring their research remains relevant to contemporary societal needs and concerns.