Archive for January, 2010

Live-in caregivers take pots & pans out of the kitchen and into the streets to demand scrapping of program

January 15, 2010

For Immediate Release – January 14, 2010

Countering superficial reforms proposed by the federal government to improve the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), Filipino women and concerned community members will rally to reiterate and heighten their demand to scrap the abuse-laden immigration and labour program on Saturday, Jan. 16th, 12:00pm at the Vancouver Art Gallery (750 Hornby St. on the Robson St. side).

In a lively display with pots and pans, aprons, and strollers asserting their political slogans, voices of youth, migrant workers, mothers, and caregivers unite to expose how the program does not “work for everyone” as defended at the local announcement of “significant improvements” to the LCP on behalf of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

“The recent changes do not even scratch the surface of improving the situation of live-in caregivers,” declares Glecy Duran, Chairperson of SIKLAB – B.C., an organization for Filipino migrant workers and their families. “As long as the fundamental pillars of the program remain untouched, no meaningful change for the better is possible,” Duran asserts.

The LCP is a federal program that recruits live-in caregivers with only temporary immigration status. They are forced to live-in their employer’s homes with an employer-specific work permit and must complete 24 months of this type of work within three years of entry into Canada under the program’s present arrangement. They are not allowed to bring their families with them during their period of temporary work often burdened with very low wages, precarious working conditions, and human rights abuses. Over 95% of those entering Canada under the LCP are women from the Philippines.

” Extending the length of time to complete the mandatory period of work from three to four years, the choice between calculating the work time period as 24 months or 3900 hours, and waive the second medical examination means no real change to the program at all,” stated Duran. “Instead, the changes further entrench the use of temporary foreign labour, divides workers, and undermines the struggle for universal child care, health care, as well as women’s and workers’ rights in Canada,” she explained.

Filipino women, who comprise the majority of live-in caregivers, are set to take to the streets with a unified demand to “End it, don’t mend it, scrap the LCP!” Instead of being used as cheap labour to fill the void left by the lack of child care and health care programs that are accessible to all working families, they are campaigning to be allowed to enter Canada with landed status, with their families, and with the right to choose their type of employment commensurate to their education and skills. They reject the notion that the LCP is an issue that solely concerns the Filipino community, but rather, it affects all Canadians because because the LCP is Canada’s de-facto national childcare program and privatized health care that only benefits those who can afford it.

“A program that is exploitative down to its very core, the LCP must be done away with completely,” asserted Duran. “With recent attempts to dampen our concerted efforts to expose and oppose the LCP with a bureaucratic facelift, we are even more determined to put an end to the misery our women suffer under this program of modern-day slavery,” she concluded.

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