GABRIELA releases initial results of live-in caregivers transitions study

Community News & Features Apr 11, 2014 at 3:39 pm
GATES university/community researchers, from left: Bridge Cosme, Pet Cleto, Mary Parreño, Dr. Philip Kelly, Nancy Prieto, Mila Garcia, Wayne Chu, May Gene de Guzman, Fiel Salazar, Conely de Leon; (front) Mithi Esguerra, Aimee Beboso and Christopher Sorio.

GATES university/community researchers, from left: Bridge Cosme, Pet Cleto, Mary Parreño, Dr. Philip Kelly, Nancy Prieto, Mila Garcia, Wayne Chu, May Gene de Guzman, Fiel Salazar, Conely de Leon; (front) Mithi Esguerra, Aimee Beboso and Christopher Sorio.

By Mia Ondo

GABRIELA Ontario and its research partners recently released the initial results of a nationwide study about how Pinoy live-in caregivers are transitioning from the live-in caregiver (LCP) program.

At a workshop held last April 6 at Ryerson University in Toronto, the research team presented the results to some former live-in caregivers and research partners to be able to come up with data analysis of the survey results.

For more than a year now, GABRIELA Ontario has been working with community partners Migrante Canada and Community Alliance for Social Justice, and a joint research team from York University and Ryerson University for the nationwide study called GABRIELA Transitions Experience Survey (GATES).

The purpose of the survey is to gather statistical and analytical data about how live-in caregivers are moving on after they have fulfilled the two-year requirement under the LCP. From these research data, GABRIELA and its partners hope to come up with policy recommendations and advocacy campaigns to better help the Filipino caregivers.

The LCP is a federal program that allows temporary foreign workers to gain permanent residency after completing two years of full-time work under the program. It has attracted thousands of Filipinos because among the temporary foreign workers streams, it is only live-in caregivers who have the option to apply for permanent residency. In contrast, other temporary foreign workers, such as seasonal agricultural workers and low-skilled workers, cannot apply for permanent residency.

There are thousands of Filipino live-in caregivers all over Canada. The GATES study surveyed former live-in caregivers in key cities where they number the most. The cities included in the survey included the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, and Edmonton. A total of 631 respondents answered the survey, which was distributed from December 2012 to February 2014.

Rupa Banerjee, professor, Ryerson University. PHOTOS: MIA ONDO

Rupa Banerjee, professor, Ryerson University.
PHOTOS: MIA ONDO

Survey data revealed that 48.17 percent of survey respondents are still in caregiving-related jobs even though the respondents have already finished the LCP. Asked for their current occupation in Canada, many of the respondents said they are childcare workers, nannies, daycare workers, and babysitters.

Another 8.27 percent of respondents said they are in sales and customer service jobs, such as retail sales, cashiers, telephones sales, stock clerks, distribution, and call centre. Another 8.11 percent are in the healthcare industry as healthcare aides and community support workers.

When asked if they received any training or education in Canada, 52 percent said they did undergo some form of training, and training as a personal support worker was the most common type of training they got.

The research team has yet to completely analyze the statistical data, and the workshop last April 6 was organized to determine how the data will be analyzed, along with transcripts of focus group discussions held earlier.

But one of the themes discussed at the data analysis workshop last April 6 is why former live-in caregivers are still in caregiving-related jobs.

Fiel Salazar, member of PINAY Quebec, a Montreal-based Filipina migrants groups, said there are several factors why caregivers in the province are struggling with many issues even after they have hurdled the live-in caregiver program.

“Madami kaming mga issues sa Quebec … sa mga live-in caregivers. After the live-in caregiver program, nahihirapan sila sa transition (dahil) madaming factors. Isa na dun yung language barrier… and because nagbabago na din yung mga laws, it means you have to retrain also (There are many issues among live-in caregivers in Quebec. After the live-in caregiver program, they are finding it difficult to transition because of several factors. One of these is the language barrier … another is the changing laws; it means you have to retrain also),” said Salazar, who is currently taking a nursing assistant course, years after finishing the LCP.

She noted that even though some of the caregivers have other skills acquired in the Philippines or Canada to help them jump on to other challenging jobs, language is still a barrier to hurdle.

“Hindi rin talaga madaling maghanap ng trabaho sa Montreal; wala din masyadong options (It’s difficult to find work in Montreal; there are not too many options),” Salazar added. “Karamihan, ang mga miembro namin, mag-stay talaga sila as caregiver, it’s either mag live out sila, but caregiver pa rin (Most of our members are still staying on as caregivers, but they would live out of their employer’s residence).”

GABRIELA Ontario said the study results can help reshape policies that can have an impact on the well-being of live-in caregivers in Canada.
“Now that we have the data, (policy makers) should be able to use that to remake or reshape the policies so that the welfare and living and working conditions of caregivers can be made better, not only during the LCP period but also on their development as individuals and workers but also as Canadian permanent residents,” said Pet Cleto, GABRIELA Ontario.

The survey results will also be presented to other groups of caregivers outside Ontario to be able to come up with a comprehensive analysis of data.

The research team includes Rupa Banerjee, professor, Ryerson University; Philip Kelly, professor, York University; Pet Cleto, Gabriela Ontario; Mila Garcia, CASJ; Conely de Leon; Cynthia Palmaria, Christopher Sorio; Marco Luciano; Ethel Tungohan, Wayne Chu.

Community organizations at the GATES workshop were: Binnadang Migrante, Gabriela Ontario, Filipino Migrants Workers Movement, Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ), Pinay Quebec and PMSC Pilipinong Migrante Sa Canada.