Plight of caregivers, refugees tackled in Canada

By Merfa Yap-Bataclan

Posted at Sep 25 2010 03:21 PM | Updated as of Sep 25 2010 11:21 PM

CANADA – Filipino caregivers were recently enlightened with rich discussions on the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP), followed by a closed door roundtable consultation on the plight of refugees in Canada.

Sunday’s first event was the second Breakfast Meeting of the Information/Study Discussion Sessions at the Cusina Lounge. Immigration and Citizenship Regional Director Geraldine Nerdjivania and lawyer Ma. Deanna Santos were invited as its resource speakers.

The changes in the Federal Government’s LCP and its implications were discussed vis-a-vis the new regulations for temporary foreign workers which also affected the live-in caregivers.

Through the discussions, many fears and confusion from among the caregivers were clarified. For one, the misinformation that live-in caregivers can no longer apply for permanent residency after 4 years was dispelled.

It was clarified that the 4-year limit is for temporary foreign workers, who by nature of their classification/work contract, cannot apply as permanent residents unless they apply through other programs such as independent immigrant category and others.

These temporary workers also cannot renew their work permit after 4 years. This 4-year limit will bar temporary foreign workers from renewing their work permits. The live-in caregivers, as provided by law, are entitled to apply for permanent residency after achieving their 3,900 work hours or 24 months live-in requirements within 4 years time.

Under the LCP, caregivers and their families can apply for permanent residents’ status.

Another clarification that was made was that live-in caregivers are hired employees of their employers and are not sponsored by their employers.

Caregivers are also grateful that the second medical examination was eliminated as a requirement for permanent resident application. However, the medical examination of family members is still a requirement. In case of ailment or illness deemed inadmissible to Canada, an appeal may be made under humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

To date, Minister Jason Kenney has granted permanent resident status to special critical cases advocated by the Caregivers Resource Center (CRC) and the Filipino Canadian Community House (FCCH).

The event was a success because of the presence and active participation of caregivers who are members of the Fil-Core Support Group of the Durham Region (Fil-CORE) and also the members of the Association of Caregivers in Thornhill (ACT).

Caregivers', refugee’s plight

Terry Olayta of the CRC and this author participated in the roundtable consultations with Vic Toews, the Minister for Public Safety.

The special meeting was in connection with the recent refugee issues that resulted when some Tamil “refugees” were deported. Comments and proposed resolutions were gathered from among the panelists that represented the multicultural community of Toronto.

Olayta meanwhile brought onto the table the plight of some caregivers who were illegally recruited into Canada.

She also shared with Toews that she appreciated Immigration and Citizenship Minister J Kenney’s positive response to caregivers needing his ministerial action. She openly thanked Kenney for listening and accepting the requests that the FCCH and CRC laid on his table. This was a surprise to all other members of the panelists.
Before closing, Toews called on this author to share her views as a Community Action and Social Development Specialist with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) 2 major projects.

As a solution to the security and public safety concern of the Canadian Government, the author proposed that a holding area, a transit community, be established for incoming “refugees” that need to be verified; illegal entrants that need to be checked; legitimate refugees that need to be processed; and all other non-status victims of human trafficking that need protection too.

The boats bringing in these “aliens” should be pre-checked before allowing these ships to dock.

The author also mentioned that some Fil-Canadians are involved as human smugglers and that many Filipinos (particularly more women) have become victims of human trafficking.

The author believes that Canada, as destination country, has a great responsibility to help solve the problem. Foremost too is the security and safety of the residents of Canada. Taxpayers would not want to have their tax money spent in supporting criminals, terrorists and aliens in disguise as refugees.

(The author is connected with the Filipino Canadian Community House (FCCH) and volunteers as counselor at the CRC. Both CRC and FCCH are nonprofit organizations managed by Filipino Canadian volunteers.)