Progressive Filipino Canadian women once again denounce the Live-in Caregiver Program
The Philippine Women Centre of Ontario (PWC-ON) offers its support to Vivian de Jesus and Lilliane Namukasa’s struggles as overworked and underpaid workers under the modern-day slavery Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP).
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Toronto, ON – June 2, 2011 – The Philippine Women Centre of Ontario (PWC-ON) offers its support to Vivian de Jesus and Lilliane Namukasa’s struggles as overworked and underpaid workers under the modern-day slavery Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). PWC-ON and its’ sister organizations under the Magkaisa Centre assert that genuine change can only be brought about by challenging the very foundations that the Live-in Caregiver Program is built on, rather than reforming the inherently oppressive, exploitative and violent employment program.
The two women are suing their former employers and are demanding compensation for years worth of unpaid wages, overtime and holiday pay, and for being wrongfully dismissed.
De Jesus was abruptly laid-off and was given only 20 minutes to pack her belongings after living with and caring for an elderly woman and her two adult children with disabilities for more than 10 years. She worked approximately 132 hours per week for the last four years, overly exceeding the statutory 48-hour workweek, but was not paid according to provincial employment standards. Namukasa, likewise, suffered uncompensated labour and was arbitrarily fired a year ago.
“Despite the changes to the LCP, it is critical for us to understand the program for what it truly is. It systemically facilitates extremely exploitative and oppressive working conditions and circumstances for many women in the program. This leaves many caregivers in a constant state of instability, uncertainty, and danger,” states Cecilia Diocson, Executive Director of the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC). “The continuous upsurge of stories such as de Jesus’ and Namukasa’s is a testament of the vicious nature of the LCP as an employment program rather than a sincere and effective immigration program,” adds Diocson.
The experiences of de Jesus and Namukasa illustrate some of the program’s immediate consequences; however, the long-term impacts directly prevent the successful development of the workers, while under the program and beyond. As seen in the Filipino Canadian community from over two decades of community-based research and organizing, the program legislates caregivers and their families to a cycle of poverty, thus economically, socially, and politically segregating an entire community.
As progressive Filipino Canadians, members of the PWC-ON and its’ sister organizations have continually been at the forefront of exposing and opposing the racist and anti-woman Live-in Caregiver Program. While its existence as a modern-day slavery program continues to persist, PWC-ON will continue to demand for its’ scrapping. PWC-ON will unyieldingly stand firm with the demand for the just and genuine settlement, integration, full participation and entitlement of workers under the LCP and the entire Filipino Canadian community.
For more information, contact:
Joy C. Sioson
Progressive Filipino Canadian women once again denounce the Live-in Caregiver Program (http://www.magkaisacentre.org/2011/06/01/wage-theft/)
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Occupations in services - Domestic work
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Canada, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Iba pang mga Lalawigan, Pederal, Pilipinas, Nova Scotia, and National relevance