Blog > 2014 > Next on the Government’s Hit List

Next on the Government’s Hit List

July 3rd, 2014

First, it was the 280,000 Federal Skilled Worker applicants, most of them from Africa and Asia, whose files were terminated. Next, it was the 50,000 plus Federal Investor applicants, most of them from China, whose files were terminated. It appears that live-in caregivers are next in line.

Let’s be very clear. When you denigrate Canada’s Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP), you attack Canada’s Filipino community.  The LCP has been around for 22 years and 90% of primary applicants are women from the Philippines. Most of the 625,000 Filipinos now in Canada can trace their arrival back to the LCP. You cannot separate the LCP from Canada’s Filipino community.

Recently, there has been a spate of national newspaper articles that have called into question both the value of the LCP and the bona fides of the Canadian Filipino community. The impetus for this negativity does not emanate from ordinary Canadians but rather from the Canadian government in the form of statements by cabinet ministers and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) reports.

Government-sourced information of a disparaging nature has been pushed out to the public-at-large at a fast and furious pace. The first news story I came across claimed that a CIC internal report showed that 40% of all LCP job offers were being made by Canadian Filipinos to their extended family members overseas. The take-away from this article is that the LCP is less about genuine Canadian employment and more about family re-unification. A few days later, another news story appeared, which raised the ante by claiming that up to 70% of LCP applicants were extended family members of their supposed Canadian employers. The final word on this matter came from Jason Kenney, current Employment Minister and former Immigration Minister. Minister Kenney let Canadians know about the time he went to Manila a few years back to give a seminar on nannies’ rights. According to the Minister, each and every one of the 70 caregivers in attendance was going to work for a relative in Canada. To boot, all they wanted to know about was the penalty they would be subjected to for working outside the employer’s home illegally. Really, Mr. Kenney? You want us to believe that caregivers would ask that question to the Immigration Minister before departing to Canada?

As if this propaganda weren’t enough to poison the minds of Canadians, we have also recently been informed that according to internal documents, fraud is an ongoing problem in the LCP and that the absence of mothers was causing infidelity in the Philippines. I am not making this up.

The problem with this unfavorable publicity is that it just doesn’t fit with Canadians’ perception of the Canadian Filipino community. The fact of the matter is that I have never met anyone in Canada, who had a bad word to say about Filipinos in our country, especially caregivers.

Live-in Caregivers are dedicated, hard-working individuals. They not only serve as nannies but also look after the elderly and disabled among us. The type of work they do would never be done by Canadian workers, no matter what the wage offered. We may call their work low-skilled but that is only because of the meager wages they earn. Just ask any Canadian whose elderly parent is being taken care of by a compassionate live-in caregiver if the work being done is low-skilled.

The main reason Filipino women caregivers are willing to work long hours for low pay in Canada is to gain Canadian Citizenship and sponsor loved ones to immigrate to Canada. That is the quid pro quo and it was never a problem until the government chose to make it one.

So what is behind the negativism and the not so veiled threat to do away with the LCP? I am not sure, but it is interesting that a suggestion being floated is that we ought to replace the LCP with an au pair program. This would allow mainly young European women to enter Canada temporarily and join the thousands of other Europeans already here under the International Experience Class (IEC).

Is the real issue then about identity?



 
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22 Responses to “Next on the Government’s Hit List”

  • On July 3rd, 2014, Golam mohammed chowdhury said ...

    i am agree

  • On July 3rd, 2014, shantilal said ...

    Live in caregivers are domestic engineers and they are skilled workers n not low skilled workers

  • On July 3rd, 2014, Sean said ...

    Definitely doesn’t seem fair. The last suggestion on the table to shift to focus to European women is especially troubling. It’s hard not to see it as anything other than racial bias. Thanks for getting the facts out in the open David!

  • On July 3rd, 2014, Larsen Parris said ...

    I am seeing a lot of sympathy for the temporary foreign workers, the Filipino LCP workers but I do not see any effort being put in place to assist the thousands of family sponsored people who are waiting years while here in Canada with their spouses, waiting to get Permanent residency. It is amazing that these workers from the Philippines can come into Canada with a work permit and then bring their spouses and get a work permit and social services, but a born Canadian citizen bringing their spouse to Canada, the spouse has to wait, sometimes for years for permanent residency, without having the possibility of the social services here. I find this amazing. The Philippinos live together and send all their money back to the Philippines but I think that a Canadian sponsoring their spouse, that spouse being able to work would be assisting a Canadian household and the economy. I would like to see someone exposing the hardships of the family class sponsorship program. Thank you.

  • On July 4th, 2014, Bryan said ...

    The government had better take notice of the cost of seniors homes .It is better to import a Philippian care giver .My wife came over as a nanny in 1980 .After that job ended she worked at the hospital in Grande Prairie as an OR cleaner .She became a citizen .She has never been on welfare or UIC or lived on the government dole as we Canadians have. These people are so happy to be here working .The Philippines does NOT have welfare or UIC so they don’t know of that ,but we will teach them . We would love to have a live in care giver but the government interferes to much with it’s stupid policy’s .The politicians also have the money to hire these care givers, with out a thought of us low income pensioners who need the LCP. So wake up to the our needs and stop thinking of your selves . Lawyers should NOT be in politics. Thank you .

  • On July 4th, 2014, Anonymous said ...

    Is the caregiver affected In this new changes that already in canada (February 2013)

  • On July 4th, 2014, Anonymous said ...

    How about if the caregiver job offer is not being made by a Filipino relatives in canada are they also affected??

  • On July 4th, 2014, Anonymous said ...

    Not all Filipino is doing a rotten job,dishonest,mean to somebody

  • On July 4th, 2014, Anonymous said ...

    Canada exhibits similar behavior as regards foreign corporations. It is insular, like Japan.

  • On July 5th, 2014, Anonymous said ...

    It seems unfair to those caregiver who got the opportunity to come to the dream country by their own effort,a lot of hardship to get through not like those setting pretty sponsored by relatives.

  • On July 7th, 2014, nors said ...

    I am filipino and im so sad about the news.caregiver is next in line.we love canadians and love the country Canada.i hope it’s not too late i wish someone hire me there as a Caregiver.I love to serve Canadians .you bring us hope and change to better life.

  • On July 9th, 2014, Stuart said ...

    Once again the government has no idea what it is talking about. 4 years ago they made tremendous changes to the LCP making it more costly for employers to sponsor from overseas. The fact that employers have to pay for airfare without having a guarantee of employment is resulting in the decreased numbers in this program. Employers have to pay recruitment fees, airfare, and private medical insurance until the provincial plan kicks in. The monetary differential between these costs and hiring a local live out nanny has decreased. This is causing the market shortage of live-in caregivers. I think the overseas worker should pay their own airfare. Perhaps the employer can reimburse the airfare if the worker stays with the family for the term of the contract. Call it ” a completion bonus”.

  • On July 9th, 2014, Stuart said ...

    Minister Kenney years ago wanted to harmonize all TFW programs. He increased LCP time from 3 years to 4years. I don’t see any other TFW program where the worker resides in the home of the President of a company! Does a welder from Russia live with the owner of the company he comes to work for.?
    While I am on this topic. Corporate Canada is permitted to deduct all expenses relating to bringing in a TFW yet families are subjected to childcare expense maximums imposed by the government re amount per child based on their age, to a max age of 16. Generally where a company can deduct the full cost of a worker, a family cannot deduct the full cost of a caregiver. Similarly with Eldercare whereby seniors are capped by how they claim the deduction of a caregiver. If the govt wishes to make intellectual changes it should consult the many different groups invloved in the program from lawyers, ICCRC members, Agencies and Filipino workers, and not just Filipino workers like they did pr April 2010 changes.

  • On July 9th, 2014, TIRED of READING said ...

    Agree on both comments from Stuart – especially on the cost to bring them in and having to provide for the insurance and repatriation for the first 3months… the LCP program can be easily abused… so what if the government hikes the application cost — agencies just pass that on the the caregiver coming in from overseas… there’s women here that are paying agencies half their monthly wages for the first two years to the agencies… no paper trail…. who checks to see if the family really did buy the airfare?

  • On July 10th, 2014, Anonymous said ...

    it’s still in the plan though…. although it would be a big mistake if they will stop bringing live caregivers in Canada since Filipinos are the most hardworking, loving and caring people. They even don’t complain even heavy or hard the job is….They always do their work with sincerity…

  • On July 14th, 2014, Ahmed S. Elhaj said ...

    I agree

  • On July 19th, 2014, Donna said ...

    Dear Atty. David:
    I have recently read your article on Next on Gov’t Hit List, and in behalf of the Filipino people, we are so grateful to you for defending our caregivers in your country. I feel tremendously happy that an immigration lawyer like you can vouch the genuineness & pure heart working attitude of all Filipinos. I strongly agree that not a single Canadian employer have complains of low-skilled or incompetent Filipino care givers. We truly treasure our jobs since it is our bread and butter most especially working abroad. We are hardworking, peace loving, compassionate, flexible & loyal in nature because we consider our job as hard earned and away from our loved ones.
    Once again, we salute you for your stand and for uplifting our image as overseas contract workers. May you continue to be a blessing to other people.
    Good luck and more power. GOD bless.

  • On July 29th, 2014, Katrina said ...

    Can’t agree more… Very sad!

  • On August 2nd, 2014, taiwo sulaimon said ...

    i agree wth you

  • On August 8th, 2014, Anonymous said ...

    Thanks atty david for jumping into conclusions that filipinos are really sincere in their jobs!! Taking care of somebody’s family is not an easy task while you are away with your own family like leaving your kids shen they are still toddlers and when you get back to visit then the feeling of being away with them for so many years is really hard especially when your kids isn’t close to you, you need to see them for just a couple of days isnt enough for them to realize why you need to go back and work for their future..the time passes by as you see your childen growing, you missed half of their lives, some kids eill blame us for being away with them since they were little, we did this for their future and it is our bread and butter. Our job being a nanny is not easy..we thank you from the bottom of our heart attorney david for defending our job aa caregiver..sincaregivers

  • On September 20th, 2014, Anonymous said ...

    I agree as one of the aspiring applicant to go to Canada, we Filipinos have the perseverance, dedication at work, loyalty, honesty and credibility that’s why we excel in everything we do and wherever we will be. I hope your country will see that characteristics in us because as what we always say this is our bread and butter and we will sacrifice everything just to provide food on our plate and be able to give our family a good future. So please dont descriminate us for we are all humans here and we are just a surviving specie. Thank you.

  • On October 3rd, 2014, AshleyRose said ...

    My mother came here as a Live-in caregiver almost 26 years ago and without the opportunity to become a permanent resident, she wouldn’t have been able to sponsor my father to come to Canada and I wouldn’t have the life I do in Canada without that opportunity. It absolutely breaks my heart to see these accusations and assumptions being made toward the LCP program and to Filipinos. As a Filipina-Canadian, I am outraged that such profiling exists in a country that boasts that our multi-culturalism is what makes us one of the best countries to live in.
    Data and research can be twisted to suit any institutions agenda just as the government has targeted Filipino Caregivers for abusing the system by comprising of more than half of the current live-in caregiver population. I too can twist statistics and data to how I want to interpret that said data. Has the government ever stopped to think that maybe they comprise of more than half the hired live-in caregiver program because they are the main nationality that are willing to endure such hard working conditions? It is unfair and quite racially bias to strictly target Filipino Canadians for abusing the system. I am not saying that it doesn’t happen because it does but it is not ONLY Filipino Canadians but many other ethnicities as well.
    For me there is nothing wrong with opening the stream to European women who are qualified to be caregivers. There should be EQUAL opportunity. What is wrong is closing off the LCP and denying Filipino caregivers and assuming that European au pair workers and their families won’t abuse the system either.
    I hope the government will really consider the implications of their decision if they are to make drastic changes not only to the LCP but to the TFWP in general. This country is built on foreign workers. And that is something we, as a country should never forget.

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