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Justice for Caregivers Rally in Toronto this Saturday, November 22, at 3 pm

November 21, 2014 News,Our Blog

Justice for caregiversWhen Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced changes to the Live-in Caregiver Program – now called the Caregiver Program – numerous caregivers and members of the Canadian public (including members of the Filipino-Canadian community) were ecstatic. All they could focus on were two things: first, that Alexander made the promise to process 30,000 caregiver permanent residency applications to clear the backlog of 60,000 applications that have yet to be processed, and second, that the live-in requirement will now be optional. Alexander’s selected explanation of the new changes – including self-congratulatory statements insisting that these new changes give caregivers more “choice” – helped convey the impression that Alexander, Employment Minister Jason Kenney and, by extension, the Conservative party, really do care for caregivers and the Filipino community. That media reports on the changes uncritically conveyed Alexander’s talking points without also talking about the other changes that will be enforced lent to the impression that Alexander and the Conservative Party are working in the interests of caregivers and the Filipino community.

Further scrutiny of the changes, though, show that these changes actually make it more difficult for caregivers to get access to permanent residency. Using the rhetoric of “choice,” Alexander puts a positive spin to a harmful proposition: under the new program, caregivers will have reduced pathways to permanent residency and will now have to meet more onerous requirements in order to qualify. Whereas the old program allowed caregivers who have finished the required 24-month requirement to apply for permanent residency, with 90% of all applicants eventually getting permanent residency, the new requirements specify that caregivers will, first, have to qualify under a new (limited) quota system and second will have to successfully pass language tests and – in the second ‘high medical needs’ stream – licensing requirements. This means that a much decreased number of caregivers will qualify. Migrante-Canada and the Caregiver Action Centre have respectively released position papers delving further into the reasons for why these changes are harmful.

To oppose these changes, a Justice for Caregivers rally will be taking place in Toronto this coming Saturday, November 22, at 3 pm starting at 150 King West. Please attend to show your support! And please circulate this as widely as you can!