Published on May 03, 2019
As a result of Care Worker organizing, the Federal government has created an Interim Pathway to provide Care Workers already here with a pathway to permanent residency, and announced a new Caregiver Pilot Program for those that will come in the future. The Interim Pathway is a step in the right direction, but unless modified, it will be inaccessible to significant numbers of Care Workers currently in Canada.
IRCC introduced the Interim Pathway because of the problems Care Workers faced meeting requirements for permanent residency under the 2014 Caregiver Program 5-year Pilot Project.
The application window for the Interim Pathway is very short. It is only open from March 4 to June 4, 2019.
To be eligible for the Interim Pathway, Care Workers need to meet these requirements:
- 1 year work experience in Canada under the Caregiver Program since November 2014
- Valid status in Canada
- Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5
- Education equivalent to a Canadian secondary diploma
- Plan to live outside the province of Quebec
For more information, please read our Interim Pathway Factsheet.
Care Worker groups across Canada have conducted several information sessions about the Interim Pathway for Care Workers. These sessions were attended by 71 Care Workers in Montreal, 125 in Toronto, and 77 in Vancouver. In total, feedback was received by 273 Care Workers at these information sessions.
These Care Workers identified many barriers to accessing the pathway:
- The window for applications for the Interim Pathway is too short. In Toronto, 54% of Care Workers we received feedback from reported that preparing an application before June 4, 2019 would be challenging. This is due to the precariousness of their working conditions and inability to take a day off during the week. It also leaves very limited time to meet all their requirements, which involves gathering documents from inside Canada and their own home country. The government should consider these factors and extend the window for applications.
- Care Workers have reported difficulty acquiring documents from their employers (e.g. Record of Employment (ROE), T4s, letters of employment). Some workers report that former employers have no interest in providing the necessary documentation and face no repercussions for not doing so. Others, still with their employer, report that their employers are resisting providing necessary documentation because employers fear losing control over them. In Vancouver, 89% of Care Workers reported difficulty acquiring documents from their employers.
- The Interim Pathway excludes Care Workers who became undocumented.
Care Workers fall out of status when they face barriers finding a new employer or face delays in processing time for Labour market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) required to start work with a new employer.
- Many Care workers have not finished 12 months of official service because:
- They arrived in Canada within the past year
- The employer does not honour the contract and releases workers when they arrive
- Long processing times for LMIAs and work permits when Care Workers change jobs or lose their jobs.
- The language test is set to a higher level benchmark compared to requirements for the Caregiver Program. The short window for application limits their time to prepare for the exam, resulting in some workers failing the exam. Across all three cities, 50% of Care Workers we received feedback from reported the required language level as a barrier. Many Care Workers are anxiously waiting for their results, and if they do not meet the required CLB level 5, they might not have enough time to retake the exam. Aside from the high benchmark, the exam is also expensive ($280 to $319 for each time the exam is taken).
- The Educational Credential Assessment has a long processing time with no assurance of the result. Due to the high volume of evaluation requests, one of the evaluating agencies has informed Care Workers that it will take them longer to get results. Previously it had a processing time of 4 weeks and recently increased it to 7 weeks. Care Workers are reporting prolonged wait times. This is stressful for Care Workers because educational credential assessment results have varied from agency to agency, even for Care Workers with the same educational background.
- The Interim Pathway excludes Care Workers in Quebec who wish to remain in the province. Care Workers consulted in Montreal are concerned about being excluded. They are now forced to make a very difficult decision to leave behind any social ties they have built in Quebec while working as a Care Worker. If they want to apply for the pathway, they will have to demonstrate their commitment to leave Quebec by providing a job offer or copy of a housing lease outside the province.
- The medical exam was put back in place as a part of the permanent residency application. The exam had previously only been required upon entry into the Live-in Caregiver Program. But now Care Workers must get a second medical exam after their service when applying for PR. This will be a barrier for any Care Workers who acquired health conditions or illness while working in Canada due to difficult working conditions. Care Workers with a family member who has a disability or illness may also be excluded if the annual medical costs to care for that family member exceeds $19,965.
- The cost of applying for Interim Pathway is too expensive. Care Workers will have to spend significant amounts on fees. The cost could range from $1,845 to $5,000. This includes fees for the PR application, biometric requirements, medical exam, police certificate, language test, and educational credential assessment. The cost will also vary depending on how many family members a Care Worker has. These costs are prohibitive for low-wage Care workers.
Migrant Care Workers across Canada have come together to unite our voices and be part of the Landed Status Now: Care Workers Organize Campaign. Migrant Care Workers make a tremendous contribution to Canadian society. We deserve the right to stay in Canada with rights and access to services, rather than be forced to become undocumented.
We call on the federal government to amend the Interim Pathway wherein:
- Expand the Interim Pathway to all workers who came to Canada under the 2014 Pilot Caregiver program (i.e., grandfather all current caregivers in the program under the Interim Pathway). For those without enough service accumulated, ensure workers can be grandfathered into the new 2019 Caregiver Pilot Program;
- The 12-month service requirement allow for care work done without LMIA and work permits;
- Workers that have become undocumented are eligible to apply;
- The language requirement is reduced. Care Workers came to Canada with a required language level of CLB Level 3. Therefore, the language requirement for permanent residence should remain at Level 3, and not be increased to Level 5. With the extremely limited application window, if workers do not score at Level 5 in the first attempt, they may not be able to retake the test in time;
- The second medical examination is removed; and
- An Interim Pathway for Quebec be created in coordination with Quebec-based Care Worker groups and the Government of Quebec.
Join us to help make Care Workers voices heard. Sign to be part of our organizing at www.LandedStatusNow.ca.