GABRIELA Ontario on Jason Kenney’s ‘announcement’

Community News & Features Jul 11, 2014 at 6:07 pm

It is a grave allegation that a minister makes when he calls Filipino employers of nannies as abusers of the LCP when they hire relatives. The implications about the rights of Filipinos in Canada are just a little short of horrid.

It implies firstly, that Filipinos, though they are citizens, don’t have the same right to be employers as other Canadians do. Secondly, a nastier implication, is that Filipinos should be barred from any benefit of Canada’s family reunification policy outside of the conditional terms set in the LCP. That is, the only Filipino who can aspire to benefit from Canada’s family reunification policy is she who must go through the two years of indentured service in order to deserve it.  Again, this means that the Filipino who is a Canadian citizen has limited rights in pursuing efforts for family reunification.  Outside of the Family Class sponsorship process, such a pursuit is looked at as shady.

Minister’s Kenney’s profiling of Filipinos is obviously to be a new ploy to grind back the LCP into the Temporary Foreign Worker ghetto. That ghetto has long been in anomalous existence, where abuse by employers and recruiters are rampant, and where the protection promised by monitoring of the workplace has not gone through in the past. Safeguards for the protection of temporary workers, and LCP workers are just a special category, are unlikely to happen, as Professor Salimah Valiana observes, given federal cuts to the budget for services.

This kind of profiling of Filipinos has been obvious for a long time. Many researchers will agree with Professor Valiani that this belies that distinction government makes between low-skilled Filipino workers and high-skilled Filipino workers. Such profiling is profitably used to maneuver in the lowering of wages and salaries for all Filipinos and other people of colour.

Again, why are there only a few non-coloured people in domestic work, farm work and food services? The income from such work has been brought down precisely because they have been connected with people of colour.  These jobs now belong to the ghetto. A government that has denied its mothers a decent day-care system, and has made the farm industry and food industry dependent on the exploitation of foreign workers has successfully completed another maneuver. Now when other workers take these jobs, they have to bend low. But how long can workers stay blind to this?

Petronila Cleto
Secretary-General, GABRIELA Ontario