Time to Change the Rules
I never knew Edna Aldovino. She passed away last August in Toronto. Nonetheless, this blog is dedicated to her memory because Edna’s determination and motherly love are deserving of tribute.
Edna was from the Philippines and she came to Canada in 2009, under the Live-In Caregiver Program. This particular Canadian immigration program is different from other programs in that live-in caregivers are not granted permanent resident visas upon arrival in Canada. They first have to complete two years of full-time employment in Canada before becoming eligible to apply for permanent residency status.
This often means leaving behind children, who can only rejoin their live-in caregiver parent at the end of the permanent residency application. Edna, like many other live-in caregivers, was willing to put in long hours and withstand being without her child in the near-term so that her child would eventually have an opportunity to join her and make a better life for himself in Canada.
After a year in Canada, Edna was diagnosed with breast cancer. She knew it would be a race against time to accumulate the two years of employment and become a permanent resident, along with her only child Kenneth, before cancer got the better of her. So desperate was Edna that she put off her medical treatment until she completed her two years of work in early 2013. By then it was too late.
As sad as this story is, it gets sadder. The application process takes time and at the time of Edna’s death she had not yet received her permanent resident visa. When a principal applicant is deceased, the entire application is terminated. Though her son, now 20, was visiting her in Canada, he had only been granted temporary status. So not only has Kenneth lost his mother, but also his chance to make a life for himself in Canada, which was what Edna’s hard work and sacrifice was all about in the first place.
I understand that as a general rule it makes sense to terminate a permanent resident application if the principal applicant dies before a decision is made. However, live-in caregivers should be the exception to this rule.
We know how important live-in caregivers are to the families who employ them. We understand the quid pro quo – put in two years of hard work and you and your immediate family can call Canada your home forever after. We know in Canada that a handshake is a handshake. Edna completed her end of the bargain. We should now complete our end and allow Edna’s son to become a Canadian permanent resident.
Edna deserves to rest in peace.