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Philip Kelly

Philip Kelly


Associate Dean (Research, Graduate & Global Affair)


PhD Geography, University of British Columbia

MA Geography, McGill University

BA Hons Geography, Oxford University

Research Keywords

Labour Migration; Transnationalism; Economic Geography; Global Economy; Canada, Philippines, Southeast Asia.

Graduate Supervision

I supervise students in the graduate program in Geography.

Philip Francis Kelly

Contact Information

HNES 139D, 4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

416 736 2100 x66199 

Research Interests

My research revolves around questions of migration and labour, within broader contexts of uneven economic geographies and class-based inequalities. I have a longstanding commitment to research in the Philippines and Southeast Asia and have also worked extensively with the Filipino community in Canada. My recent research has included projects focused on: inter-generational class mobility among Filipino youth in Canada; Filipino immigrant integration in Canada, especially in the context of the caregiver program; and, the ways in which transnational ties between Canada and the Philippines foster alternative economic and political practices in both places. My research and mobilization work has usually been in collaboration with community organizations – including the development of Filipino-centric curriculum with a school board in Toronto, and engaging in ‘data liberation’ for community agencies working on immigrant employment issues. Most recently, I am working with collaborators on a project that studies the role of migrant labour in the global fisheries and seafood supply chains. More generally, my work focuses on social justice for migrants and immigrants in changing urban labour markets, and the ways in which labour processes are configured in global industries.

Research Projects

Canada-Philippines Alternative Transnational Economies (SSHRC Insight Grant, 2015-22; Principal Investigator: Philip Kelly)

Collaborators: Leonora Angeles (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Lynne Milgram (OCAD University, Toronto), Marla Asis (Scalabrini Migration Centre, Quezon City), Jeff Ducanes (University of the Philippines, Quezon City) and Andre Ortega (University of the Philippines, Quezon City; now, Syracuse University, NY)

In this collaborative research project, we are interested in transnational economic practices that fall outside either the mainstream economy of corporate trade and investment or the private flows of remittances between family members. We are instead seeking those linkages that depend on the social networks created by migration and which generate or promote collectivized or non-monetized forms of well-being. This includes: humanitarian fundraising for typhoon victims; collective financing of social infrastructure such as school or clinics; the donation of volunteer skilled labour by members of the Filipino diaspora who return to the Philippines; networks of unpaid labour to care for children and the elderly; the fostering of alternative economic imaginaries through activism; the creation of channels to export products from small-scale and sustainable enterprises in the Philippines. Our research profiles these kinds of practices, assesses them critically, and seeks to foster the expansion of socially beneficial transnational economic practices. The project is based at the York Centre for Asian Research and our core research team includes. Melissa Gibson is the Manila-based coordinator and research assistant.

Work at Sea: Explaining Labour Relations in the Global Fishing Industry (SSHRC Insight Grant, 2020-24; Principal Investigator: Peter Vandergeest)

Collaborators: Elizabeth Havice (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)Melissa Marschke (University of Ottawa), Peter Vandergeest (York University)

This research sets out to examine marine fisheries work, focusing on fisheries identified as having large numbers of migrant workers and instances of labour abuse. We aim, in particular, to understand labour issues as experienced by workers and worker support organizations. We place these experiences in the context of both the global seafood supply chains (or production networks) and the 'reproduction networks' that link migrant workers with their families and communities in source areas. The central objective for our research is to explain the social, technological, ecological and economic processes that produce differences in working conditions across space and time, and to identify the reasons that make fishing working conditions unacceptable by most standards that would be applied to terrestrial work. Our research contributes to wider public understandings of labour relations in global food supply chains that include Canadian seafood companies, retailers and consumers.

Cultural Production as Collective Response to Precarious Employment

As part of the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) project, Conely de Leon and I examined the role of artistic production and performance in solidarity formation and mobilization among Filipina live-caregivers

Gabriela Transitions Survey

In collaboration with Gabriela-Ontario and Migrante-Canada (both Philippines-based rights organizations with chapters in Canada), this project examined the employment trajectories and social well-being of Filipina women who have settled in Canada through the Live-In Caregiver Program. The core research team included Rupa Banerjee (Ryerson) and Ethel Tungohan (York).

Filipino Youth Transitions in Canada

The Filipino Youth Transitions in Canada (FYTiC) project was started in 2010. We initiated the project because data showed that Filipino-Canadian youth were not, on average, doing well in education and employment after they leave high school. The research helps us understand how Filipino identity is related to economic opportunities, how parental employment is reproduced in the life chances of their children, and how different immigrant settlement sites shape the next generation in important ways. This broad program of research continued with further studies in collaboration with a suburban school board in Ontario (the Halton Pinoy Project) with Don Wells (McMaster) and Jennilee Austria, and through the PASSOC Project, which developed Filipino-centric curriculum with the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Research Output

Aulakh, P. and Kelly, P.F (eds.) (2020) Mobilities of Labor and Capital in Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Coe, N., Kelly, P.F., Yeung, H. (2020) Economic Geography: A Contemporary Introduction. Third Edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Lightman, N., R.Banerjee, E.Tungohan, C. de Leon, P.F. Kelly (2022) “An Intersectional Pathway Penalty: Filipina Immigrant Women Inside and Outside Canada’s Live‐In Caregiver Program.” International Migration 60.2 (2022): 29–48.

Kelly, P.F and C.Maharaj (2022) Immigration Pathways and Next Generation Outcomes: Caribbean and Filipino Children of Caregivers. In Monica Hwang, Edward Grabb, and Jeffrey G. Reitz Social Inequality in Canada: Dimensions of Disadvantage. Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Cardenas, K. and Kelly, P.F. (2022) Shifting Urban Contours: Understanding a World of Growing and Shrinking Cities. Pages 26-43 in Bain, A. & Peake, L. (Eds.) Urbanization in a Global Context: A Canadian Perspective. Second Edition. Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Kelly, P.F (2021) Immigration, employment precarity and masculinity in Filipino-Canadian families. Pages 211-229 in J.Horton, H.Pimlott-Wilson and S.M.Hall eds Growing up and getting by: poverty, precarity and the changing nature of childhood and youth. Bristol: Policy Press / Bristol University Press.

Aulakh, P. and P.F.Kelly (2020) Conceptualizing Labour and Capital Mobilities in and out of Asia. In Aulakh, P. and Kelly, P.F (eds.) Asian Connections: Linking Mobilities of Labor and Capital. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kelly, P.F. (2020) Transnationalism and labour geography. In International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Second Edition, edited by A. Kobayashi. London: Elsevier.

Kelly, P.F. and C.Maharaj (2019) Geographies of the Next Generation: Outcomes for the Children of Immigrants through a Spatial Lens. Pages 315-26 in K.Mitchell, R.Jones, and J.L.Fluri eds Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Kelly, P.F. (2018) Migration, Remittances and Development. In A.McGregor, L.Law and F.Miller (eds) Handbook of Southeast Asian Development. London: Routledge. Pp.198-210.

Banerjee, R., P.F.Kelly, E.Tungohan, P.Cleto, Leon, M.Garcia, M.Luciano, C.Palmaria, C.Sorio (2018). From “Migrant” to “Citizen”: Labor Market Integration of Former Live-In Caregivers in Canada. ILR Review, 1-29.

Kelly, P.F., E.Kramer, E.Tungohan, C.Go, J.Morris-Jung & D.Caouette (2017) Expertise, embodiment, and the dilemmas of activist research in Southeast Asia. Critical Asian Studies 49:3, 428-36.

Cardenas, K. and Kelly, P.F. (2017) Shifting Urban Contours: Understanding a World of Growing and Shrinking Cities. In Bain, A. & Peake, L. (Eds.) Urbanization in a Global Context: A Canadian Perspective. Toronto: Oxford University Press. pp19-35.

Austria, J., P.F.Kelly and D.Wells (2017) Precarious Students and Families in Halton, Ontario: Linking Citizenship, Employment and Filipino Student Success. Pages 57-73 in S.Procyk, W.Lewchuk and J.Shields (eds) Precarious Employment: Causes, Consequences and Remedies. Winnipeg: Fernwood.

Kelly, P.F. and C. de Leon (2017) Rescripting Care Work: Collaborative Cultural Production and Caregiver Advocacy in Toronto. Pages 91-108 in S.Procyk, W.Lewchuk and J.Shields (eds) Precarious Employment: Causes, Consequences and Remedies. Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.

Kelly, P.F. (2016) Remittances. In D.Richardson (ed) The International Encyclopedia of Geography. New Jersey: Wiley, and Washington: Association of American Geographers.

Kelly, P.F. (2015) Transnationalism, Emotion and Second Generation Social Mobility in the Filipino-Canadian Diaspora. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 36(3) 280-99.

Tungohan, E., R.Banerjee, W.Chu, P.Cleto, C. de Leon, M. Garcia, P.F.Kelly, M. Luciano, C. Palmaria, C. Sorio (2015). After the Live-In Caregiver Program: Filipina Caregivers’ Experiences of Graduated and Uneven Citizenship. Canadian Ethnic Studies 47 (1), 87-105.

Kelly, P.F. (2014) Understanding Intergenerational Social Mobility: Filipino Youth in Canada. IRPP Study 45. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy.

Recognition & Awards

  • Canadian Association of Geographers, Julian M. Szeicz Award


Course CodeTitle
GEOG 4190Migrant Economies
GEOG 5209Masters Seminar in Critical Human Geography