Toronto, Ontario

Tungohan will look into government policies on temporary foreign workers

By Ted Alcuitas


Dr. Ethel Tungohan, Ph. D. , has been appointed one of four new Canada Research Chairs (CRC), York University announced today.

Tungohan will be Chair in Canadian Migration Policy, Impacts and Activism.

She will study topics ranging from the impact of government policy on migrant workers to how to improve camera images used for scientific tasks.

“The CRC program supports some of the most important and exciting research being done at York,” said Robert Haché, vice-president research & innovation.

“Tungohan will undertake an analysis of discourses that have underpinned the Canadian government’s policies towards temporary foreign workers from 1973 until 2017 and the nature of these policies and their effects on different groups of temporary foreign workers,” the announcement says.  

She will also examine the range of migrant workers’ social movement activities that have emerged as a response, in particular, to anti-migrant discourses and policies. 

An Assistant Professor at the Department of Politics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Tungohan came to Canada in 1999  with his parents and younger brother by way of Hong Kong.

“My goal is to see more Filipinos represented in different fields, whether it be in the arts, in the trades, in the civil service, and in government. Another goal is to see the Filipino community become aware and become proud of their history in Canada. More importantly, I really want members of the Filipino community to feel empowered in the country, and not merely to take as given discriminatory policies and practices. I want the Filipino community to find its political voice,” she wrote in the Passoc (Philippine Arts and Social Studies in the Ontario Curriculum) website. 

Tungohan adds that a major struggle for her is “trying to make it in an environment where Filipinas (and people and women of colour) are rare. In Canada, at my last count, there were only eight tenure-track professors of Filipino descent. Because Filipinos in academia are relatively rare, it is sometimes difficult to fit into a world where some might be confounded by your presence and some might not really get why undertaking research on Filipino migrants’ lives is a crucial undertaking.”

She holds a Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Toronto and a Masters from the London School of Economics. 

She finished her Bachelor’s degree (Honors) in Political Science from the University of British Columbia in 2003.

She has authored and co-authored books and published numerous journals including co-editing Disturbing Invisibility: Filipinos in Canada in 2012 with Professors Coloma, McElhinny, Catungal, and Davidson.