National Call for Comprehensive Review of Caregiver Program

Published on March 21, 2018

Caregiver Organizations across the country called on the Federal Government to conduct an open and transparent consultation process on the Caregiver Program that centres the voices of Caregivers. Read the full letter below!


Dear Minister,

We, the undersigned, constitute a diverse group of community organizations from across the country dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights of migrant caregivers. We wish to address the government’s recent decision to launch a review of the caregiver pathways to permanent residency, the Caring for Children pathway and the Caring for People with High Medical Needs pathway. We are pleased to hear that a review is currently being conducted and that the government is committed to ensuring that caregivers continue to have access to permanent residency. However, we want to ensure a comprehensive consultation process that centres on those directly affected by the program, and any changes to it. As such, we are asking for the review process to be open to the public and transparent, and for caregivers to be consulted. We also want to ensure that the timelines and plans for the consultations and policy development be clearly laid out from the get-go, and that caregiver and advocate voices  be involved at every step. Many of the organizations and individual signatories to this letter have been individually invited to private consultations with the government. While we welcome the opportunity to have our voices heard, we must insist that this process be formalized and inclusive.

As such, we are requesting that Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), in consultation with caregivers and their representative organizations, create a formal, transparent and public process with a pre-announced schedule that incorporates the following steps:

  1. Meeting with caregivers and their support organizations across the country in open consultations. In order for caregivers to be able to fully participate, the dates, time and locations of these consultations should be announced with enough notice and at convenient times (weekends). The current meetings have been closed and by invitation only – this is not adequate consultation.
  2. An online survey to collect policy feedback from caregivers and their representative organizations. The current deadline of April 6 th is not adequate time for caregivers and advocates to participate.
  3. IRCC should summarize this feedback, produce a draft regulation or legislation and share for input. The timeline for this should be announced as soon as possible.
  4. A second series of open hearings should then take place to solicit feedback on IRCC’s proposals directly from caregivers and their support organizations.
  5. A final policy should then be produced by IRCC - with sufficient notice given to caregivers - and be presented to Parliament for debate, discussion and adoption.

The need for a comprehensive review of the caregiver pathways cannot be understated. The 2014 reform of the Live-in Caregiver Program exacerbated the problems associated with that program, while the new pathways have created hurdles which have unfairly prevented many caregivers from transitioning to permanent residency. Considering the invaluable contribution made by migrant caregivers to Canadian society and the economy as a whole, the growing demand for their services and, most importantly, their never-ending struggle to have their rights respected in Canada, the time to enact a fair and just immigration policy for these workers is long overdue. This can only be achieved if the government is actively engaged with migrant caregivers themselves and caregiver advocacy groups.

Respectfully,

Anna Malla, Organizer, Caregivers Action Centre

Annette Beech, VFCCA Representative, Victoria Filipino Canadian Association

Ethel Tungohan, GABRIELA Ontario

Hannah Deegan, Project coordinator Association pour la Défense des Droits du Personnel Domestique (ADDPD)/Association for the Rights of Household Workers (ARHW)

Leah Evangelista Woolner, Vice-Chair, PINAY (Filipino Women’s Organization in Quebec)

Martha Ocampo, Caregiver Connections Education and Support Organization (CCESO)

Natalie Drolet, Staff Lawyer/Executive Director, Migrant Workers Centre

Syed Hussan, Coordinator, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change