Is COVID-19 Reshaping North America? An Online Conference on the Borders, Boundaries and Mobility in the United States, Canada and Mexico

May 22, 2020 - 11:00 am (EDT) – Online Conference

North America’s economic success is very closely tied to the movement of people and goods across secure borders. The spread of COVID-19 has seen unprecedented measures aimed at curtailing cross border travel as well as a virtual halt to international migration. Sharing some of the longest international borders on the planet, the close ties between many North American cities have been profoundly impacted by COVID-19. Our ability to work together to combat the economic and social ramifications of the contagion have been impaired by varying national approaches and a strong desire to distance ourselves from the perceived geographic centers of the virus.

Metropolis North America and the COVID-19 Social Impacts Network will be holding an online conference on May 22nd from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm (EDT) to look at the impact of COVID-19 on migration and mobility in the United States, Canada and Mexico and examine possibilities for cooperation between researchers, policy-makers and civil society across our three countries.

The Social Impacts of COVID-19 Online Conference Series is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.


Note: The presentations available below are the property of their authors. We encourage you to contact the concerned authors directly for permission to make use of their material. If the presentation you are looking for is missing, it is because it has not been sent to us.


  • Tasha Kheiriddin, Media Commentator / Public Policy Analyst
  • Marina Jimenez, Global Media Relations Strategist, University of Toronto

Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • Charles Slowey, Vice-President, Strategic Policy and Planning, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Julián Escutia Rodríguez, General Director, de Protección a Mexicanos en el Exterior, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Denice Garcia, Director of International Affairs, Office of Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, City of San Diego, California, USA

Plenary 1:

Us Them and US: How Canadians, Americans and Mexicans currently view the crisis and how they respectively envision the path forward

  • Chair: Robert Greenhill, Executive Chairman of the Global Canada Initiative, Montreal, Quebec, Canada   
  • Dr. Mark Hugo Lopez, Director of Global Migration & Demography, Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C, USA
  • Jack Jedwab, Chair, COVID-19 Social Impacts Network, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (View the presentation)
  • Graciela Teruel Belismelis, Research Institute for Equitable Development (EQUIDE), Ibero-American University, Mexico City, Mexico (View the presentation)

Plenary 2:

Borders and Boundaries. Impacts of Closing, Prospects of Opening

  • Chair: Sue Saarnio, Council General, Consulate of the United States of America in Tijuana, Mexico
  • David Heurtel, Counsel, Fasken Law, Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness with the government of Quebec from 2017 to 2018, Public Administration scholar-in-residence, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Dr. Ietza Bojorquez, Department of Population Studies at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico (View the presentation)
  • Jake Hirsch-Allen, VP, International Council on Badges and Credentials and North America Higher Ed & Workforce Dev Lead, LinkedIn, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Plenary 3:

Migrant Exceptions:  The Case of Seasonal Workers

  • Chair: Professor Anna Triandafyllidou, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada     
  • Professor Tanya Basok, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada (View the presentation)
  • Professor Emeritus Philip Martin, University of California, USA (View the presentation)
  • Professor Agustin Escobar Latapi, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, Mexico City, Mexico (View the presentation)

Closing remarks:

  • Tasha Kheiriddin, Media Commentator / Public Policy Analyst

The COVID-19 crisis has been rightly focused on medical intervention, containment, and the creation of vaccines. There are economic, social and cultural consequences arising from the virus which affect us all.

The Association for Canadian Studies, the Vanier Institute of the Family and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO established the Social Impacts Network in response to the needs for empirically based insight into key issues around COVID-19. The Network has partnered around weekly national surveys that have shown widening socio-economic differences gaps among Canadians and especially for recent immigrants.

For information regarding the network go to: