Monday, July 6, 2015

Late last year, the government announced they were going to make some changes to the Caregiver Program that is part of the Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) program.  They added a mix of lower-skilled and higher-skilled categories for workers:

  1. Caregivers for children under 18 years of age that has lower skilled positions such as babysitters, nannies, and parent’s helpers.
  2. Caregivers for people with high medical needs such as the elderly or people with disabilities and/or a chronic illness.  This stream has a mix of both higher and lower skilled positions, some of which are registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.

Since its launch, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has rejected 90% of all applications from workers seeking to work in Canada under the Caregiver program. That’s 917 applications and 92 approvals.  This rejection rate is extraordinarily high.

Among the approved applicants, 68% of those are from the higher-skilled occupations and 32% are from the lower-skilled occupations. Registered nurses made up for most of the successful higher-skilled applicants.

The Canadian Labour Congress has called for a clear and transparent review of the entire TFW program and is concerned that this re-working of the Caregiver program is not an improvement. It’s making it worse. The first 4 months of the new Caregiver program seems to heavily favour the higher-skilled occupations. 

The program allows a Canadian employer to employ a migrant worker to take care of children and other family members who need care.  An employer needs to apply to hire a worker under this program by first obtaining an approved Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This ensures that there is no Canadian worker or permanent resident available to fill the position.

Domestic work is one of the lowest paid jobs in any labour market.  We want to see the Caregiver program enhanced to extend permanent residency for these migrant workers on their arrival to Canada for care-giving work.

This is the best way to protect all caregivers from abuses and exploitations.