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(According to Kelowna.com or follow the link: http://www.kelowna.com/2009/12/24/ottawa-urged-to-scrap-live-in-caregiver-program/)
“Advocates for immigrant nannies are calling on Ottawa to scrap a program that has allowed tens of thousands of women to immigrate to Canada.
In a bid to address problems of overwork and underpayment in the field, Ottawa is proposing changes to the live-in caregiver program, which allows the mostly Filipina workers to apply for permanent residence after working as domestic help for two years. Changes include a mandatory contract with duties, benefits, hours and holidays, having employers pay for travel to Canada and increasing the time to complete the two-year requirement to four years.
The program traps Filipina women in low-pay jobs where they’re vulnerable to abuse and exploitation and keeps women separated from their families, advocates from the Philippine Women Centre of B.C. said Wednesday.
Gloria Remirata, who became a live-in caregiver in 2000, was separated from her three children for six years after leaving them in the Philippines with her sister, which she called “the most difficult decision I made in my life.”
At a conference Wednesday, she wept recalling how she had missed their birthdays and graduations.
Ayex Bathan, separated from her mother for six years, said the program isn’t worth the toll it has on families, calling it exploitative, anti-woman and racist.
Advocate Leah Diana said Ottawa should remove the requirements that caregivers live at their employers’ home, work for two years before applying for residence and be contracted to a specific employer. Caregivers should be allowed to immigrate as permanent residents with their families to fill shortages in domestic work in the same way other immigrant workers can to work in other fields, they said.
But Paragon Personnel owner Ed Carmona said killing the program would put an end to a fast-track immigration process for unskilled workers who couldn’t otherwise qualify to immigrate to Canada and deprive Canadians of nannies.
“You tell me how many Canadians would be willing to be a live-in nanny for minimum wage of $8 an hour?” he said.
He said if they didn’t live in, they couldn’t afford the rent on minimum wage, and a $15 hourly wage would make nannies prohibitively expensive for average families.
Email reporter Susan Lazaruk at firstname.lastname@example.org”