Migrant Care Workers welcome changes to Canada’s care worker programs

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Migrant care workers and advocates welcome today’s announcement regarding Canada’s care worker programs, which will now ensure care workers arrive to Canada with permanent residence status. This monumental change has been advocated for by care workers and the Migrant Worker community since 1979 to combat the widespread abuse and exploitation care workers experience in Canadian homes. Migrant care workers currently arrive with temporary status and rely on their employers to meet the eligibility requirements for permanent residence. It is thanks to the tireless advocacy of thousands of migrant care workers that this change to permanent residence upon arrival has come about.


“We have seen countless workers remain in abusive working conditions in order to meet the minimum work experience necessary in order to qualify to apply for permanent residence,” said Amanda Aziz, Staff Lawyer of the Migrant Workers Centre. “Permanent residence status on arrival is needed for all workers to ensure they are not forced to remain in exploitative working conditions in order to meet the requirements of Canada’s immigration programs.”


Changes to the language and educational requirements are also positive, both of which will reduce arbitrary and unnecessary barriers that workers currently face in accessing permanent residence.


Maria Cano, care worker and MWC’s Board Chair welcomes the changes:


Migrant care workers have long advocated for permanent residence on arrival and for changes to the language and education requirements. I am very grateful that so many of our concerns about the current and previous care work programs have been listened to and that the government has taken positive action. I am proud to be a care worker, and it fills my heart with joy knowing that people coming to Canada to do this important work will be coming under a much-improved program.


Cenen Bagon, a co-founder of Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregiver Rights, also welcomes these changes. She states:


Resilient foreign domestic workers, caregivers, and their long-time advocates have fought hard for recognition in Canada: if they are good enough to work, they are good enough to stay with permanent resident status upon arrival. Although the work is not over, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and IRCC Minister Marc Miller have come one step closer to hearing these decades-long calls for justice through these new pilots.


The migrant worker community remains concerned, however, about the caps that accompany the new program and ensuring that workers who are already in Canada can access a streamlined and simpler pathway to permanent residence, without caps or exclusions. In addition, resources must be put in place to ensure faster processing of permanent residence applications, including for those already in process in Canada. Migrant care workers who have fallen out of status due to the current program’s caps and onerous requirements must also have access to permanent residence.


“We call on the Minister to ensure that migrant care workers who have fallen out of status are able to access permanent residence through a broad regularization program,” adds Cenen Bagon. “Access to permanent residence for migrant care workers already in Canada, regardless of immigration status, must be prioritized in the most urgent way possible. So too, must a broad regularization program for all”.

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