Live-In Caregivers Speak Out Against Arbitrary Quebec Government Measures

A press conference took place in Montreal on May 5 with a group of foreign domestic workers, whose access to permanent residence has been affected by Bill 9, An Act to increase Québec's socio-economic prosperity and adequately meet labour market needs through successful immigrant integration. According to the Centre for Immigrant Workers, which organized the press conference, more than 80 women who came to Quebec under the Live-In Caregiver Program have come forward to say they fear for their future because of the bill.

Although these workers came to Quebec as part of the federal government's Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the specific program they fall under differs from others with regard to applying for permanent residence. Persons admitted under their program are able to apply for permanent residence after a few years of service under the Regular Skilled Worker Program (RSWP).

All these workers began the process to obtain permanent residency. And although it has been some time since the federal Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) sent them a letter acknowledging that they meet permanent residence eligibility requirements, their Quebec application has been either suspended or delayed by Bill 9.

The Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness (MIDI) stopped sending out Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) application forms in December 2018. Those who had already submitted a CSQ application received an email from MIDI on February 7, the date Bill 9 was introduced in the National Assembly, informing them that the handling of their applications had been suspended. An injunction issued by the Superior Court of Quebec then forced MIDI to continue processing a backlog of 18,000 CSQ applications. However, it was only after a complaint was lodged that some of these domestic workers were sent the documents they required to apply for a CSQ. As things presently stand, some have received a CSQ application form for themselves as the principal applicant but not for their family members, while others who applied have received no CSQ application form.

"We have been in Quebec for at least four years and have worked hard for Quebec families, children and seniors. We want to remain here with our families and continue to contribute to the society," said Jennifer Rentiquiano. "The stress and anxiety this is causing us is unjust after having fulfilled all our obligations in becoming new immigrants to Quebec," she added.

"Everyone, the agencies and government of Canada personnel told us we would be able to obtain permanent residency and I did everything I had to do. I am scheduled to give birth in July and am worried about my status. Without being guaranteed status, what can I do for my child?" asked Genie Zonoria Tagalogon. Many others have children in the Philippines waiting to join their mothers whom they have not seen for years.

"We are the only source of revenue for our family in our country of origin. We have received the letter of eligibility from the Canadian government. We worked hard while hoping that we would be able to remain in the country. We are now faced with the unexpected news that our applications have been suspended," said Baby Aurea Santos Albay.

Jasmin de Calzada, a representative of the Filipino Women's Organization of Quebec (PINAY), noted that "Since the beginning of the 20th century, Canada has largely relied on migrant workers to provide care for families, particularly children. These workers came to Canada and worked hard in the hope of a better future for their children."

(Sources: Immigrant Workers Centre, CTV News. Photos: PINAY.)

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 17 - May 11, 2019

Article Link:
Live-In Caregivers Speak Out Against Arbitrary Quebec Government Measures


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