By Maria Assaf
Lilia Ordinario Joaquin, the live-in caregiver who was going to get deported back to the Philippines on Aug. 22, has been allowed to stay in Canada.
After an admissibility hearing today (Aug. 21), the order to deport Ms. Joaquin was cancelled. The government will now continue to process her Permanent Residence application for her and her family.
“God has delivered miracle in my life,” Ms. Joaquin told the Toronto Star.
Ms. Joaquin came to Canada in 2007 under the Live-In Caregiver Program. After working for the two years the program requires, she applied for PR and for an open-work permit.
But due to an immigration backlog that delayed her application for about five months, the mother of five had no other choice but to work as a caregiver under the table while she waited for her papers to process.
“She didn’t try to hide it from immigration. That’s when the misrepresentation took place, because her forms did not disclose the work,” says her lawyer, Jennifer Stone.
Ms. Joaquin, who has an architecture degree, was then deemed inadmissible for misrepresenting her situation and working without a permit.
Ms. Stone filed an emergency application on Tuesday (Aug. 19) asking for Canada Border Services Agency to reconsider its decision to deport her. The lawyer claimed humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
At today’s hearing, her inadmissibility to Canada was cleared and with this, her deportation order was cancelled.
If her husband and two dependent children pass the medical examination and criminal background checks needed for their PR to be approved, they are likely to be joining Ms. Joaquin in Canada.]]>
From everything we’ve been hearing, Chris Alexander wants to turn the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) into an “Express Entry” class of immigration. “Express” sounds good, right?
Don’t believe the name. Express Entry hurts caregivers. Here’s why:
1. Caregivers come to Canada and work as a live-in caregiver.
2. After a minimum of 22 months (for those who worked overtime) / 24 months of hard work, caregivers are entitled to apply for permanent residency.
3. There is no cap on the number of caregivers who can be granted PR. Based on the most recent Citizenship and Immigration Canada statistics, 96% of PR applications through the LCP are approved.
Potential New System
Based on the information that has been released to the public, here is how the LCP could work under the new system:
1. Caregivers come to Canada and work as a live-in caregiver.
2. After working the required amount of time, caregivers will compete with a pool of candidates that includes other people, including doctors, engineers, and accountants. The number of people invited to apply for PR will be capped.
3. Only if an employer picks the caregiver out of the pool, and only if the government invites the caregiver, can she or he apply for permanent residency. Far fewer caregivers will receive permanent residency under the proposed system.
The government wants to change permanent residency from something that is earned by caregivers into something that is arbitrary and at the pleasure of the Minister of Immigration.
The number of caregivers granted permanent residency will only go down.
Many caregivers, after working hard for Canadian families will lose their status.
The restrictions on what caregivers can do during the LCP (e.g. no realistic access to training) likely means that caregivers will find it very hard to satisfy the Express Entry requirements.
Immigrants will be unfairly pitted against other immigrants.
Don’t be misled. “Express Entry” for caregivers is not a quick path to permanent residency. It’s an express path to losing status and deportation.
(Canadians for an Inclusive Canada)]]>
I am writing to express my concerns with suggestions to make it harder for persons coming to Canada through the Live-In Caregiver Program, as well as those already here, to obtain permanent residency. As explained below, this is a program that makes a significant contribution to Canada’s economy, but which puts its employees in an often precarious reality, which they accept primarily due to the promise of immigration at the end of the road. Removing the main incentive for employees to enter the program would deal a crippling blow to this economically advantageous program.
Live-In Caregivers work extremely hard to care for Canadian children and the elderly, the latter positions being particularly demanding and difficult to fill with Canadians. They offer an affordable care option for working middle class families that have few affordable care alternatives. In many cases of elderly care they enable families to provide their aging parents with care in the parents’ native language, to which they revert due to the vagaries of age. They come from all over the world – while Philipino/Philipina LICs have made the news recently, many come from other, including European, countries (I know LICs from Poland and Italy myself).
These workers face a precarious situation. I’m no activist, but have had the chance to meet several former and current LICs. While there are many decent employers, exploitation and abuse – withholding of passports, verbal abuse, forced work beyond care requirements, poor living conditions, withholding of wages – abound. Physical and sexual abuse, while not the norm, is not uncommon either, and is a constant fear for workers who work/live in the confines of a Canadian’s home and castle and away from the eyes of authorities, workers who are scarcely aware of their legal rights and protections, and who depend on their employers for their legal status in Canada.
In most cases these workers come here, separated from their families and support networks, and willing to accept this reality, due to the promise of immigration to Canada at the end of two years. Think about it – would you move to a foreign country, away from your own children/parents/spouse, to spend two years at minuscule pay and subpar living conditions daily cleaning up after an elderly person who can no longer control their urine or feces, without the prospect of full immigration for you and your loved one at the end of those two years, after proving yourself as a dedicated worker willing to contribute to your host country’s economy?
A tougher PR process for LICs would mean less of them willing to come. Those who would come are the ones most desperate in their home countries – hardly the persons to whom you’d want to entrust your kids or vulnerable aging parents. This would be a crippling blow to a program that otherwise makes it possible for many young, upwards mobile Canadian families with high earning potential to actualize that potential. The loss to our economy would outweigh other gains the move may hold.
I urge the federal government to halt changes to the LIC program that will make it harder for caregivers to receive permanent residency.
Subject: Live-in Caregiver Program
Dear Minister Alexander and Kenney,
We are writing to express our continuing concern with proposed changes to the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) and the general lack of information available. Your government keeps giving indications that changes are coming but little in the way of actual details. The consultations you are now holding largely appear to be closed door and lack the necessary transparency this program and those affected deserve.
Over the past months, my colleagues and I have been consulting with Canadians on the Live-in Caregiver Program. Many we have spoken with have expressed concern with recent comments alleging that the LCP is “out of control.” We have heard concern that important advocates and experts in the area have not been invited to be a part of your government’s consultations. We are troubled that instead of holding transparent, public and open consultations to strengthen the LCP, you have seemingly targeted specific communities for allegedly abusing the program and are conducting closed door consultations.
Canadians turn to live-in caregivers in order to provide valuable care for their children or relatives because affordable care options are increasingly difficult to find. The NDP is willing to work with your government to strengthen the LCP and to help provide affordable care to the rising number of Canadians who feel squeezed between raising their children and caring for relatives.
Throughout our consultations we have heard that the LCP needs to be strengthened to better protect live-in caregivers from potential abuse by employers. As you know, live-in caregivers are requried by the program to live with their employers. This leaves them in a position where they are vulnerable to abuse. Some are forced to work unpaid overtime or to do household chores that are not part of their contracts. Since live-in caregivers have to work for 2 years for one employer in order to qualify for permanent residency, many do not report abuse, since they fear jeopardizing their chance of obtaining permanent residency.
We are again calling on your government to strengthen the LCP to ensure that live-in caregivers are granted permanent residency as soon as they arrive. Changes to the program must be also explored to allow for caregivers to live apart from their employers thus affording better protection from a minority of employers who might abuse their postiion.
Finally, we are asking you to open your consultations to interested Canadians, front line workers, academics and experts who know firsthand the realitites of live-in caregivers. These groups and individuals must have the opportunity to hold an open and honest discussion with you and your officials and the results of these consultations should be made public at the soonest possibel opportunity.
We look forward to your response on this important issue.
Official Opposition Critic for
Citizenship and Immigration
Official Opposition Critic for
Employment and Social
CanCham organizes first outbound mission to Ontario; PCCT, Toronto Consulate host delegation
By Veronica C. Silva
Some Philippine-based companies have expressed interest in expanding their businesses, possibly with Canadian partners or clients. And that’s why Ontario was the first stop of the first outbound mission organized by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (CanCham).
Ontario hosted the trade mission in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal recently. The trade mission also visited University of Guelph, Niagara and Markham.
Cora de la Cruz, national executive director of CanCham told The Philippine Reporter that the Philippine companies chose Ontario as the first stop of the organization’s first trade mission to Canada because some of its members have expressed interest in networking with Ontario-based companies.
“The membership of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is growing and we want to increase and strengthen bilateral relations with Canada,” said de la Cruz during sidelights of the Filipinas Expo and Multicultural Trade Show organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce-Toronto (PCCT) at Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
PCCT hosted the CanCham delegation at the trade show last August 16.
De la Cruz added that the trade mission was the first outbound mission organized by the CanCham owing to increasing interests from its members.
She added: “It’s about time (for the trade mission). If our (CanCham’s) mission is to represent, support and promote Canada-Philippine business interest exchange, how do we do that? … Because of an increased interested in bilateral trade between Canada – there are a number of Canadian companies doing business there (in the Philippines) — we want to strengthen that. We want to have our own Philippine companies doing business here grow or those who would like to do business in Canada to find out business opportunities, here’s the chance.”
One of the Philippine businesses interested in expanding internationally is P.H. Espina Realty, whose president, Perla H. Espina, was a member of the delegation. P.H. Espina Realty specializes in agricultural and industrial lots but also offers commercial and residential lots.
Espina said she is looking for partners in Canada who might consider investing in real estate in the Philippines.
A number of companies that participated in the trade mission were in agri-business, according to briefing materials provided the media. De la Cruz said the group was also scheduled to visit University of Guelph for its organic agriculture focus and Niagara Falls for its hydroponic agriculture and wineries. In Montreal, the CanCham delegation was also scheduled to participate in a conference on food safety and technology.
PCCT and the Consulate of the Philippines in Toronto helped organize and coordinate the CanCham trade mission.
Junever Mahilum-West, Consul-General, Philippine Consulate in Toronto, said the growing number of Filipinos choosing Ontario, particularly Toronto, as their home could also encourage Philippine businesses to consider the province for business opportunities.
“This is a very important trade mission (for us in the Consulate) because aside from consular duties, it (the Consulate) also has its economic diplomacy mission. … It’s important that we have more and more exchanges like this. … Our community here (in Toronto) is vibrant, it’s growing, it’s evolving,” said Mahilum-West.
Moises P. Calo, 3rd VP-Public Relations, PCCT, said the Filipinas Expo and Multicultural Trade Show was the first PCCT-led independent trade show that the business group has organized, and it is opportune for the CanCham delegation to participate in the exposition to network.
“We are a networking group so our role is to connect them (delegates) with people and in so doing help grow Filipino-Canadian entrepreneurs and business owners,” said Calo.
On the choice of Ontario as the destination for the first trade mission of CanCham, Calo added: “If you’re a businessman and you want to first crack at the market, you go to Toronto. It’s logical that you go to Toronto.”
De la Cruz added that if the trade mission is successful, two more trade missions per year are in the pipeline, some of them focused on specific sectors.
A middle-aged domestic worker remains fiercely loyal to her employer even as it draws her ever deeper into the dirty world of human trafficking, in this gritty melodrama about corruption, criminality and conflicted conscience in contemporary Manila.
Director: Joel Lamangan
Principal Cast: Nora Aunor, Romnick Sarmenta, Rosanna Roces, Rocco Nacino, Sunshine Dizon, Chynna Ortaleza, Gardo Versoza
Tues, Sept. 9, 6:45pm, Scotiabank Theatre, Cinema 3
Thu, Sept. 11, 9:00pm, Scotiabank Theatre, Cinema 4
Sat, Sept. 13, 12:00pm, Isabel Bader Theatre
Hari ng Tondo (Where I Am King)
When his fortune is wiped out, an arrogant, self-made tycoon is forced to return to the slum tenement where he grew up, in this vibrant, socially-aware comedy from Filipino master Carlos Siguion-Reyna.
Director: Carlos Siguion-Reyna
Principal Cast: Robert Arevalo, Liza Lorena, Rez Cortez, Aiza Seguerra, Cris Villonco, Ciara Sotto, Rafa Siguion-Reyna, Eric Quizon, Ali Sotto, Audie Gemora
Sun, Sept. 7, 3:00pm, Scotiabank Theatre, Cinema 9
Tue, Sept. 9, 4:15pm, Scotiabnak Theatre, Cinema 8
Fri, Sept. 12, 6:oopm, Scotiabnak Theatre, Cinema 3
Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon (From What is Before)
On the eve of Marcos’ proclamation of martial law, a small village is visited by a series of strange, perhaps supernatural occurrences, in the new film from Filipino master Lav Diaz (Norte, the End of History).
Director: Lav Diaz
Principal Cast: Perry Dizon, Roeder Camañag, Hazel Orencio, Karenina Haniel, Joel Saracho, Reynan Abcede, Ching Valdes-Aran, Mailes Kanapi, Ian Lomongo, Noel Sto. Domingo, Evelyn Vargas, Bambi Beltran, Teng Mangansakan
Sun, Sept. 7, 6:30pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 4
Sat, Sept. 13, 2:30pm, AGO Jackman Hall