Filipino care workers in Canada joined other nationalities in a broad action of various migrant and care workers’ advocacy groups on Sunday, November 18 to call for permanent landed status, family unity and full recognition of their rights. Likewise, an online campaign #LandedStatusNow was launched to gather signatories for a petition addressed to Canada’s Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.
In unison with other nationalities, Filipino care workers back the petition which calls “to create a Federal Workers Program for Care Workers (FWP) as proposed by Care Workers organizations across the country to ensure that migrant Care Workers come to Canada with their families and permanent resident status (PR).” The proposed FWP will serve as a critique to the current Caregiver Program.
Despite the absence of consultation with care workers, the Caregiver Program was promulgated in 2014 and is set to expire by November 2019. Under this program, home care is labelled as a “temporary labour market need” disregarding the reality of a growing and aging Canadian population. Restrictive and complex immigration procedures have left workers and their families in limbo while others fear deportation.
“Care Workers do the critical work of raising families, caring for an elderly population and ensuring dignity for those who are sick and disabled, without us the economy doesn’t work, yet we get low wages, long work hours, unsafe housing and constant stress. Making these changes won’t just benefit migrants, it will ensure that everyone in Canada is healthy and has a better quality of life,” Cynthia Palmaria of Migrante Alberta stated.
The announcement made by the Canadian government in April stating that it will no longer accept applications for permanent residency from caregivers after that period drew strong objections from the sector which is mostly represented by Filipino migrants.
While the program is being crafted, migrant groups are demanding immediate reforms like ensuring labor mobility, family reunification, removal of the additional English test and post-secondary education requirements for PR applicants, resolving permanent residency backlogs and the enactment of other pro-labor policies.
Aimee Beboso of Migrante Ottawa said, “We are hoping for courageous support from everyday people who will join us for justice and fairness for everyone.”
The mobilizations were held across Canada in major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal and Ottawa.