Media Contact: Anna Malla, Caregivers’ Action Centre, 647-782-6633
Caregiver mothers separated from families appeal for change
Toronto, September 8, 2016 – A week before Parliament returns with recommendations on changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program, migrant caregivers are appealing for change. Several migrant workers denied permanent residency based on their children’s diagnosed disabilities will be speaking out against the discrimination they are facing, and the devastating emotional and financial impacts family separation has had on them. These caregivers and their supporters are calling for permanent status upon arrival.
WHAT: Caregivers and supporters calling for permanent immigration status, and an end to discriminatory rules preventing caregivers from sponsoring children with disabilities
WHEN: 11am, September 11, 2016
WHERE: Suite 223, 720 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Ontario
WHO: Luvy Alicbusan, Live-In-Caregiver denied status, GABRIELA Ontario member; Josarie Danieles, Live-In Caregiver denied status, Caregivers’ Action Centre member; Kristina Torres, Live-In Caregiver, Caregivers’ Action Centre member; Mithi Esguerra, GABRIELA Ontario Chair;
VISUALS: Caregivers telling their stories, with videos and photographs of their children from whom they have been separated
Migrant workers come to Canada through a variety of programs including the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (which includes the Caregiver Program and the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program) and the International Mobility Program. Migrant workers in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program come to Canada on closed work permits, which means they are unable to change jobs.
Unlike temporary foreign workers in the ‘high-waged category’, the bulk of temporary foreign workers are not allowed to come to Canada with their spouses or children. Years of family separation causes well-documented detrimental health impacts on migrant workers and their families.
Caregivers are the only group of low-waged migrant workers that can apply for permanent residence after living precariously and on temporary permits inside Canada – a so-called two-step path: first temporary, then permanent. The Caregiver Program was modified in 2014, and relevant changes in immigration law will begin to affect caregivers starting November 2016. In the new program, caregivers are likely to experience further undue hardship in getting permanent residency due to new language and licensing requirements, and a new quota system that limits the numbers of caregivers who can get permanent residency in a given year.
Caregivers who entered under the previous program (the Live-in Caregiver Program or LCP) are already experiencing difficulties in their applications for permanent residency because of stringent requirements, including the need to complete their term of work within four years (the 4-and-4 rule).
Among the many problems faced by migrant workers is the “medical inadmissibility” of family members. Many caregivers are being denied permanent residency if either a dependent or the primary applicant has a disability. This provision exacerbates family separation, and unfairly punishes migrants with disabilities in contravention of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other Canadian laws and International Treaties.
The Federal Government has concluded a review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in its previous sitting and its findings are expected to be tabled on September 19. New laws and regulations are expected soon after.
Migrant caregivers and their supporters are calling on the the Federal Government to:
Immediately grant permanent residency to Luvy Alicbusan, Josarie Danieles, and their families, as well as other migrant workers who have been denied permanent residency on disability grounds.
Grant access to permanent residency status to migrant workers currently in Canada, including undocumented workers, with specific provisions to allow their families to join them.
Ensure that all migrant workers are allowed to come to Canada with their families, and with permanent residency status, which is the norm for applicants in the Canadian Express Entry system.
Ensure all migrant workers have access to all public services, have their basic rights ensured and have the ability to change jobs through open work permits.
- Eliminate Section 38(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which allows for discriminating against people with disabilities.