Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Don't Slam the Door on Foreign Caregivers

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Don't Slam the Door on Foreign Caregivers

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Don't slam the door on foreign caregivers

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Feb. 6:

For many years Canadians with young children or infirm relatives have had a sweet deal. Under a federal program, they could hire foreigners at affordable wages to care for their loved ones.

In return the caregivers, most often from the Philippines, Indonesia and the Caribbean, were eligible for permanent resident status after two years of full-time work.

It was a win-win situation -- until three years ago. That's when the Harper government changed the rules of the program to restrict the number of foreign nannies or caregivers it would accept by capping the numbers and setting out new language skill and education requirements.

Since November 2014, only 555 caregivers have been granted permanent residency in the country. That compares with an average of 8,000 a year who received permanent status between 2006 and 2014.

Now there are fears it could get get worse for the thousands of workers - almost all of them women - who take care of Canadian children, the infirm and the aged in exchange for a shot at bringing their own families to this country for a better life.

A notice posted to the Immigration Department's website on the weekend suggests that foreign caregivers will not be eligible for permanent residence status if they have not accrued two years of employment by Nov. 29, 2019. That leaves many who are already here in the lurch.

In the meantime the government says it is reassessing the program, leading many to fear that the pathway to permanent residence for caregivers will be shut down permanently, turning them into perpetual guest workers. …

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