Letter to the Editor: ‘No live-in slavery in Canada’

Community News & Features Feb 1, 2005 at 4:07 pm

I am a Filipino writing about your article “Caregivers ask Canadian government: ‘Stop treating us like slaves’” which appeared on The Philippine Reporter dated January 16-31, 2005. I find the article defamatory of Canada’s Live-in Caregiver Program!

The article didn’t present the benefits of the Live-in Caregiver Program. Instead, it showed the worst that could happen to someone under the Live-in Cargeiver Program!

I am a Filipino and I find it utterly disgusting to read an article written by a fellow Filipino, Edwin C. Mercurio, with statements by a fellow Filipino, Cecilia Diocson, saying that “the mandatory live-in requirement is Canada’s 20th century modern-day slavery”. I cannot accept the statements presented in the article as it did not show the other side of the picture. How many Filipino caregivers feel that the LCP is a blessing to them and their families? How many of these Filipino cargeivers continue to pass the good word about the LCP to their friends and relatives? How many of these Filipino caregivers have graduated to better jobs outside of caregiving? How many of these Filipino caregivers are now owners of nanny/caregiver agencies recruiting fellow Filipinos to come to Canada under the LCP?

If what the article is saying is all true, why is there a lot of Filipinos applying as caregivers under the LCP? In fact, the LCP is giving a lot of business to the Philippines in terms of the caregiver training centers established specifically for the LCP. Canada is not forcing Filipinos to go to Canada under the LCP. It is the Filipinos who want to come here, sometimes, desperately, under the LCP.

I am grateful to Canada for what it has done to me and my family. Painting the Canadian government as a government who treats people like slaves is totally not true! And please, if you would let an article be published in your magazine, please ensure that you present a fair picture of the situation and that the facts of the situation are accurate – caregivers have medical, welfare and retirement benefits as well as wages are in accordance with the law.

I feel ashamed that this article was published and that your newspaper is supporting the Community Alliance for Social Justice in its fallacious reports on Filipinos under the LCP. There may be a few bad employers, but I am sure, this is not the general picture of Filipinos who are under the LCP.

What damages the reputation of Filipinos here and abroad are fellow Filipinos who get succumbed to publicity, accurate or not, and who don’t look at the bigger picture but just focus on the worst side of everything and anything!

Teodora Alonzo
A Filipino living in Canada