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After the Live-In Caregiver Program: Filipina Caregivers’ Experiences of Graduated and Uneven Citizenship

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This article assesses the economic precariousness faced by Filipina live-in caregivers during and after the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). Using survey data and focus group interviews, we argue that live-in caregivers’ unique pathway to immigration lead them to face economic challenges that are distinct from other immigrants. Not only do live-in caregivers face onerous employment conditions under the LCP, they have difficulties transitioning into the Canadian labour market because they face the following challenges: being stigmatized when entering the Canadian labour market, having to take costly educational upgrading courses while simultaneously working in ‘survival’ jobs, and having to be their families’ sole breadwinners. Despite these structural barriers, however, the live-in caregivers in our study strove to transition into Canadian society through their resilience and hard work. Regardless of the economic challenges that they themselves faced during and after the LCP, most saw their future in Canada and felt that coming to the country was “worth it.” Résumé: Cet article évalue la précarité économique que connaît les aides familiaux résidants philippines pendant et après le Programme des aides familiaux résidants (PAFR). En utilisant les données d'enquête et des entrevues de groupes de discussion, nous soutenons que la voie particulière réservée aux aidants à l'immigration comporte des défis économiques qui sont distincts de ceux des autres immigrants. Non seulement les aides familiaux résidants sont-elles confrontées à des conditions d'emploi rigoureux sous le PAFR, mais leur transition vers le marché du travail canadien est difficile à plusieurs égards: elles sont stigmatisés en entrant dans le marché du travail canadien, elles doivent prendre des cours coûteux de perfectionnement tout en travaillant dans des emplois «de survie», et elles sont souvent seuls soutiens de leurs familles. En dépit de ces obstacles structurels, les aides familiaux résidants dans notre étude se sont efforcés de faire la transition à la société canadienne grâce à leur résilience et le travail acharné. Quels que soient les défis économiques qu'elles rencontrent pendant et après le PAFR, la plupart d'entre elles voient leur avenir au Canada et estiment que venir au pays « en a valu la peine. »
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Canadian Ethnic Studies, Volume 47, Number 1, 2015, pp. 87-105 (Article)
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DOI: 10.1353/ces.2015.0008
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ETHEL TUNGOHAN, RUPA BANERJEE,
WAYN E CHU, PETRONILA CLETO, CONELY DE LEON,
MILA GARCIA, PHILIP KELLY, MARCO LUCIANO,
CYNTHIA PALMARIA, AND CHRISTOPHER SORIO
After the Live-In Caregiver Program:
Filipina Caregivers’ Experiences of Graduated
and Uneven Citizenship
Abstract
This article assesses the economic precariousness faced by Filipina live-in caregivers during and
after the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). Using survey data and focus group interviews, we argue
that live-in caregivers’ unique pathway to immigration lead them to face economic challenges that
are distinct from other immigrants. Not only do live-in caregivers face onerous employment condi-
tions under the LCP, they have difficulties transitioning into the Canadian labour market because
they face the following challenges: being stigmatized when entering the Canadian labour market,
having to take costly educational upgrading courses while simultaneously working in ‘survival’ jobs,
and having to be their families’ sole breadwinners. Despite these structural barriers, however, the
live-in caregivers in our study strove to transition into Canadian society through their resilience and
hard work. Regardless of the economic challenges that they themselves faced during and after the
LCP, most saw their future in Canada and felt that coming to the country was “worth it.”
Résumé
Cet article évalue la précarité économique que connaît les aides familiaux résidants philippines
pendant et après le Programme des aides familiaux résidants (PAFR). En utilisant les données d'en-
quête et des entrevues de groupes de discussion, nous soutenons que la voie particulière réservée
aux aidants à l'immigration comporte des défis économiques qui sont distincts de ceux des autres
immigrants. Non seulement les aides familiaux résidants sont-elles confrontées à des conditions
d'emploi rigoureux sous le PAFR, mais leur transition vers le marché du travail canadien est diffi-
cile à plusieurs égards: elles sont stigmatisés en entrant dans le marché du travail canadien, elles
doivent prendre des cours coûteux de perfectionnement tout en travaillant dans des emplois «de
survie», et elles sont souvent seuls soutiens de leurs familles. En dépit de ces obstacles structurels,
les aides familiaux résidants dans notre étude se sont efforcés de faire la transition à la société
canadienne grâce à leur résilience et le travail acharné. Quels que soient les défis économiques
qu'elles rencontrent pendant et après le PAFR, la plupart d'entre elles voient leur avenir au Canada
et estiment que venir au pays « en a valu la peine. »
CES Volume 47 Number 1 (2015), 87-105
CES_Vol 47.1 March 2015_text_March 2015 2015-03-09 7:18 PM Page 87
INTRODUCTION
Over the past two decades, increasing numbers of Filipina workers have entered
Canada through the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) to meet the childcare needs of
working parents and the elder-care needs of an aging population (see Kelly, Park, de
Leon and Priest 2011). A main draw of the LCP for applicants is the opportunity to
apply for permanent resident status upon completion of the program requirements.
Under this program, applicants must complete 24 months of live-in care work within
a four-year period in order to be eligible to apply for permanent residency.
Despite the LCP’s increasing popularity among Canadian families, the program
has received significant criticism. Some of the legislated requirements of the LCP
make caregivers particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse (Spitzer and
Torres 2008), with many studies documenting instances of contract violations and
breaches of employment standards legislation (Bakan and Stasiulis 1997, 2005;
Stiell and England 1997; Chang 2000). Live-in caregivers themselves have contested
these violations and have successfully campaigned for policy changes to the LCP
such as strengthening penalties against abusive employers (Elvir 1997; Velasco 1992;
Tungohan 2012).
The question of whether live-in caregivers’ vulnerabilities disappear after they
finish the LCP’s requirements remains. How do live-in caregivers transition to life in
Canada upon leaving the LCP? Are live-in caregivers’ transition experiences similar
to that of other newcomers to Canada? We know from previous studies that new
immigrants in Canada face barriers to their employment integration, such as the
devaluation of foreign education and work experience (Aydemir and Skuterud
2005) and difficulties in obtaining occupational licenses (Girard and Bauder 2007).
Unlike other immigrants, however, live-in caregivers’ pathways into permanent
residence are distinct, not only because of the probationary period they spend dur-
ing the LCP as citizens-in-waiting but also because the difficulties of family reunifi-
cation present additional barriers impeding live-in caregivers’ settlement in Canada
(de Leon 2009; Pratt 2010; Tungohan 2012). More crucially, very little is known
about the types of jobs live-in caregivers hold after the LCP and whether their time
in the LCP leads to job market discrimination and to deskilling.
The dearth of research on the settlement and integration issues facing live-in
caregivers transitioning out of the LCP motivated us to explore how live-in care-
givers fare in the Canadian labour market after completing the program and what
unique barriers to inclusion they face. In this paper, we look at live-in caregivers’
labour market experiences by contrasting the economic challenges they faced during
and after the LCP. The results we gathered from our national survey and fifty-five
focus groups in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver
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allow us to list live-in caregivers’ employment vulnerabilities under the LCP and also
the hardships they experience in the labour market afterwards. We argue that former
live-in caregivers face the same obstacles as new immigrants but also have to with-
stand a number of other specific issues given their unique path to immigration.
While live-in caregivers face trajectories of deprofessionalization similar to other
immigrants, the following factors further impede their labour market integration:
the hardships of entering the Canadian labour market as former live-in caregivers,
the difficulties of pursuing educational upgrading courses and the pressure of being
their families’ sole breadwinner before and after reunification.
We emphasize, though, that the structural constraints faced by live-in caregivers
do not mean that live-in caregivers were not able to transition to life in Canada; if
anything, their resilience in adapting to Canadian society despite these structural
constraints show their determination to be members of Canadian society. Nearly all
of the people in our study saw their future in Canada. Most indicated that they
believed moving to Canada was worth it despite the economic difficulties they faced.
We first discuss the history of this project and the methodology informing it.
Second, we briefly address existing work on citizenship and membership. Third, we
assess our focus group respondents’ experiences of employment vulnerability under
the LCP, listing the different ways their labor rights were flouted. We conclude by
reflecting on how our respondents’ experiences affect their settlement and integra-
tion into Canada.
HISTORY OF THE RESEARCH PROJECT, METHODS AND METHODOLOGY
As a progressive Filipina feminist organization, one of Gabriela-Ontario’s mandates
is to “represent women and advocate for their welfare” (2012, 1). In the fall of 2010,
its members decided that conducting a research project that will allow them to truly
understand the situation of former live-in caregivers, most of whom they knew are
Filipina, will assist them in meeting this mandate. In addition, because numerous
members at that time were current and former live-in caregivers, there was also the
added motivation of wanting to find out more about how their fellow live-in care-
givers were faring. Upon deciding to pursue this research project, Gabriela-Ontario
liaised with two graduate students to organize a series of research methods work-
shops, which were held every other weekend from May 2011 to December 2011.
Guest speakers discussed various components of the research process, such as the
differences between quantitative and qualitative methods, the ethics review process,
etc. During these workshops, Gabriela-Ontario members decided that they would
like to answer their research questions using surveys and focus groups and that they
wanted to focus on the issue areas identified above.
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Afterwards, Gabriela-Ontario members created questions they would like to ask
for the focus group, and a rough template for what would eventually be the survey.
Initially, Gabriela-Ontario was going to conduct this research without funding. When
the opportunity to form a research partnership with professors from York and Ryerson
Universities, and with activist allies from Migrante-Canada and the Community
Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) presented itself, Gabriela-Ontario created a partner-
ship agreement outlining the roles of each research member and the Gabriela
Transition Experiences Survey (GATES) research team was formed. Soon after, the
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) provided funding and
Ryerson University’s Research Ethics Board gave ethics approval for the project.
The tenets of Participatory Action Research (PAR) inform our research. Since
PAR stresses collaboration and the “incorporation of local knowledge”, the use of
“eclectic” and “diverse” theories and methods and “linking scientific understanding
to local action” (Greenwood, Whyte, and Harkavy 1993, 178-180), the GATES
research team ensured that the ensuing study reflected these ideals. This meant that
the workshops with Gabriela-Ontario members continued, culminating in a final
workshop on PAR and research ethics in November 2012 attended by the GATES
team and Gabriela-Ontario researchers. The purpose of this workshop was to make
sure that all of the researchers were aware of how to lead research sessions, which
involved asking research participants to first individually answer the survey and then
participate in the focus group. In the spring and summer of 2014, collaborative data
analysis workshops were held in Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver, with GATES
research team members and research participants who indicated at the end of their
research sessions that they wanted to be part of these workshops.
The material for this paper’s analysis was gathered from two sources: focus
group interviews from December 2012 to December 2013 and some of our survey
data. Each focus group had between two and five participants. We also used data
from the 631 completed surveys to create the tables below listing former live-in care-
givers’ educational backgrounds and their occupational profiles following the LCP.
The survey was distributed using snowball sampling and asked questions on former
live-in caregivers’ education and training, their occupations, their use of settlement
services, and their health. The analysis of this paper focuses on select findings from
the first two sets of issues and is based on focus group results and preliminary
descriptive statistics from the survey.
CITIZENSHIP, MEMBERSHIP, AND INTEGRATION
While citizenship might be interpreted as a clear legal state of belonging in a territo-
rial nation-state, it is more accurately a bundle of rights and responsibilities associ-
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ated with membership in a given society. Recent literature on citizenship has shown
that, rather than being absolute, these rights and responsibilities are fluid, uneven
and graduated. Citizenship is fluid because citizenship transitions and multiple cit-
izenships are increasing with global migrations (Ong 1999). Live-in caregivers in
Canada face multiple transitions, with a conversion from temporary foreign worker,
to an open work permit, to permanent residence and finally formal citizenship.
Citizenship is also uneven, because citizenship bestows widely varying benefits
within a global hierarchy of societies (and these benefits are also variable over time)
(Bloemraad 2006). This unevenness across space is an important factor in under-
standing the relative position of those undergoing a transition in their citizenship.
For example, there are multiple ways in which a British immigrant to Canada has
different experiences than a Filipino immigrant, partly because of what citizenship
bestows in each of these source countries. This also means that within a given state,
citizenship is experienced unevenly. Multiple studies have shown, in fact, that immi-
grant integration into Canada depends on numerous factors, such as timing of
arrival (Hum and Simpson 2004), type of immigration program (Kelly, Astorga-
Garcia, Esguerra, and CASJ 2009), geographic location in Canada (Kazemipur and
Halli 2000), racial minority status (Reitz and Banerjee 2007; Reitz, Banerjee, Phan,
and Thompson 2009) and gender (Boyd 1984; Tastsoglou and Preston 2005).
Finally, citizenship is graduated because rights are not absolute, but in many
cases rights are partially held (Stasiulis and Bakan 2005). Live-in caregivers face vari-
ability when accessing the benefits of citizenship. Although this obviously depends
on their immigration status – with live-in caregivers still currently in the program
facing reduced access to these benefits compared to live-in caregivers who have
already acquired Canadian citizenship – there are other factors beyond legal status
that determine their inclusion into Canada. Luin Goldring and Patricia Landolt
(2013) see temporary foreign workers’ experiences in Canada as being mediated by
various factors, from state regulations and policies to everyday interactions with
various stakeholders who hold power over temporary foreign workers’ lives such as
settlement service providers and government bureaucrats. They use a “chutes-and-
ladders” approach to understanding the range of precariousness that is characteris-
tic of temporary foreign workers’ situations in Canada, where, in one day, temporary
foreign workers can climb up the “ladder towards more presence and rights” and, in
another day, they descend “down a chute towards more vulnerability, fewer rights or
less access and a more uncertain presence in Canada” (2013, 16). The negotiations
and strategies temporary foreign workers make with a host of individuals and insti-
tutions determine their security of presence in Canada.
When looking at the situations of live-in caregivers in Canada through Goldring
and Landolt’s chutes-and-ladders approach, we see that their experiences in the
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work place and their (lack of) access to the Canadian labour market can lead them
to either climb up the ladder to greater security or down the chutes to face greater
vulnerabilities. For our respondents, employment precariousness was a crucial fac-
tor in determining their membership in Canada.
EMPLOYMENT CHALLENGES DURING THE LCP
Canada’s immigration system establishes clear conditions attached to live-in care-
givers’ labour market participation. These conditions heighten employers’ power,
leading to cases of maltreatment, as discussed below.
Employer-specific work permits
As mentioned, live-in caregivers have to live and work in their employers’ house-
holds for a total of 24 months before they can apply to obtain an open work permit
or permanent residency. The fact that their work permits are tied to their employers
increases live-in caregivers’ dependency on their employers, making it more difficult
for them to change employers in the event of employer abuse. Some of our respon-
dents’ employers were aware of the amount of power they wielded over their
employees. As one woman stated:
They were maltreating me. She would tell me, ‘you will never get your child. Never.’ When
I left them and went to live with my friend, they went to see me. I didn’t give them my
address but they found me. I called the cops and I told them I wasn’t going back to them
because I was being emotionally abused. They kept forcing me. They told me, ‘we’ll tell
immigration about you and tell them that you left us even when you are under me.
Being terminated also placed live-in caregivers at risk of homelessness, which was
what happened to one of our respondents:
They just released me without any reason…what they told me was that they were selling
their house and downsizing to a smaller house. And then, without any forewarning, they
just released me. Then they asked me to leave, telling me that the next day at noon, I
needed to vacate the house. It was that fast! So my tears were falling so hard. I didn’t
know where to go. It was a good thing I had friends who I could go to. They just gave me
the cheques for compensation.
This also meant that those who were let go by their employers faced a difficult time
finding new employment.
Furthermore, the terms of the program, which require that live-in caregivers
finish the 24-month live-in care work requirement within a period of four years, give
live-in caregivers a set deadline. Given that finding new employment might take
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weeks, if not months, the live-in caregivers in our study were understandably reluc-
tant to risk not finding new employment and thus not being able to complete the
program and get permanent residency.
Based on these accounts, it is clear that giving live-in caregivers work permits
that are not tied to their employers would be an important way to eliminate power
discrepancies.
Live-in requirement
That live-in caregivers are also required to live with their employers magnifies the
potential for such abuse (Spitzer and Torres 2008). When they have to live and work
with their employers, the line of what constitutes paid labour becomes murky. One
of the women we interviewed, for example, said that her employers frequently went
to social gatherings in the evening, asking her to just “keep an eye out for the kids”
without being paid since they expected that she had to be at home anyway and had
nothing else to do with her time.
Some women noticed that the live-in requirement led to closer relationships
with their employers, which a few saw as being positive in that they were treated less
like employees and more like members of the family, although there were those who
felt that this concurrently meant that they were asked for ‘favours’ instead of being
paid for their work. One respondent observed that while her employers gave her gifts
because they said they saw her as family, she suspected that it was a way for them to
justify not paying her what she was owed.
Another negative consequence of the live-in requirement was the absence of
privacy, leading to the feeling that one could never truly feel at ease. One woman
mentioned that the absence of a space that was just hers magnified the lack of pri-
vacy she experienced. The constant need to peacefully co-exist with her employers
was a source of stress:
It’s just that the family environment isn’t good for me because they are shouting all the
time at their kids and also, the husband shouts too. They never shouted at me. But you
feel it inside you. Even when it is your day off, because you are live-in, you have nowhere
to go so it’s not good because you have to go somewhere else for the weekend.
Other women described the need to adjust to their employers’ specific character
traits and mannerisms. Yet others discussed the difficulties of having to adjust to
their employers’ cultural practices. One respondent worked for an Orthodox Jewish
family and described how confused she was when trying to keep kosher:
That one sink is only for meat, and one sink is for dairy. I’m confused. And then also they
have this placemat and it’s only for dairy also, and not for meat. Sometimes I put it for
meat and they get mad, like that. So it’s a big adjustment for me that time.
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The need to respect their employers’ cultural practices, however, did not then oblige
their employers to respect theirs. Another woman talked about how her employer
refused to give her permission to attend church services on Ash Wednesday. A differ-
ent woman mentioned that the only church she was allowed to attend was her
employers’ church, saying, “[My employers] were Catholic whereas I’m [Protestant]
so they didn’t like me going to a different church. Because they were Catholic, I had
to be Catholic too.” According to these women, being uprooted from their culture
exacerbated feelings of homesickness, isolation, and loneliness.
An unexpected finding in our study was how numerous respondents experi-
enced food insecurity. They talked about having to abide by their employers’ food
restrictions, which, in some cases, meant that they were not allowed to cook Filipino
food. As one respondent states, “I was hungry. You know Filipinos…we eat three
times a day, oftentimes with rice. I need this to be stronger. They don’t care about
this. They don’t want me to cook for myself. I just eat cup noodles.” In other cases,
this meant facing severe restrictions on what they could eat, which they believed was
a way for their employers to exert control. One respondent, for example, talked
about only being able to eat food that her employers were not able to finish.
Lack of enforcement of the terms of the employment contract
The provision of employer-specific work permits and the mandatory live-in require-
ment both contributed to our respondents’ experiences of disempowerment, which
made it a challenge for them to ensure that the terms of their employment contract
were respected. Even though the terms of the program specify that live-in caregivers
are only supposed to do ‘light housekeeping’ and tasks related to the care of their
charges, numerous women pointed to how they were asked to do chores not linked
to caregiving. As described by one woman:
[My employers’] house was big. Two stories. Everything was carpeted. My employer
wanted me to vacuum the entire house everyday, not because it was dirty, but because it
looked nice…I struggled.
Eventually, she was compelled to talk to her employers and renegotiate the terms of her
contract: “I told her that I couldn’t vacuum everyday. Maybe I could do it once a week.
And I pointed out that the contract said I was supposed to do light housekeeping.
There were also extreme cases of live-in caregivers being asked to do work out-
side the household, as in the case of one respondent, whose employer made her work
in her restaurant when her child was in school, while also doing housekeeping:
I usually wake up at 6 am, prepare food and everything…lunch for [my employer] and
her daughter. Between 9 to 3:00, I work in the restaurant first as a dishwasher and
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cleaner…after awhile, [my employer] said, ‘you will be working as takeout staff and as a
bartender.’ I was scared because I was being exposed to people and you never know. I’m
still under the live-in caregiver program when I’m working as a bartender. I told them
about the implications of me working and people seeing me there. She said just tell them
that you’re already a permanent resident. Don’t tell any of my staff that you’re under the
LCP. So I said, ‘Oh my God. This is going to be difficult.’ I learned quickly how to do the
take-out and everything and mixing drinks…I worked there until 6:00pm. So I thought
I will be spared from working more hours in her house but instead, she increased [my]
hours doing housework… everyday I do laundry because she used up to 6-10 towels a
day. I don’t know what she’s doing with the towels. You should see in the washroom, like,
they’re all over. And she wanted me to change her sheets everyday, so I don’t know what’s
wrong with her… I was using old cloth to clean and wipe the floor. She said, ‘I want you
to use your hands in mopping my floor.’
This woman did not receive extra pay for her work in the restaurant and was not
given the share of the gratuities other restaurant employees received. Her employer
eventually fired her.
In addition to being asked to do work outside the specifications of their con-
tract, nearly all of the women we spoke to were not given proper compensation.
Employers’ refusal to stick to the working hours specified in their employment con-
tracts and to recognize overtime work were commonplace. One respondent’s claim
that her employers “never counted or paid for [overtime work]” were sentiments
repeatedly expressed by most of the women we interviewed. Although some women
attempted to get compensation for their work, the prevailing sentiment among them
was that they needed to just “do their time” until they finished their two-year live-in
requirement, underscoring how employer-specific work permits irrevocably tied
live-in caregivers’ employment and immigration status to their employers, making
them reluctant to voice their concerns about contract violations.
Live-in caregivers tasked with elderly care found it especially difficult to be
properly compensated. Since elderly care necessitates frequently being on-call, live-
in caregivers found that that they had to be available around the clock, even when
they were only being compensated for eight hours of work. A few women also found
it challenging to care for seniors whose sickness not only necessitated constant atten-
tion but also made them physically and emotionally at risk. Said one respondent, “I
had problems with my first employer because the person I was taking care of has
Alzheimer’s at the final stage. He cursed me, he hit me, he pushed me, he really hurt
me.” The reality that their elderly charges were frequently terminally ill and could
pass away at any moment heightened their vulnerability, for once this happened,
they were likely to be terminated and would need to find new employment. The live-
in caregivers we spoke to who provided care for the elderly thus felt that there were
specific vulnerabilities they faced that needed attention from policymakers.
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EMPLOYMENT CHALLENGES AFTER THE LCP
All of our participants were ecstatic once they received their open work permits.
Although some of these women continued to live and work with their employers, the
fact that they had the option of leaving without having to worry about whether they
were running out of time to complete the terms of the program was a source of
relief. Moreover, obtaining work permits brought them a step closer to getting per-
manent residency and being reunited with their families.
Difficulties with labour market integration after the LCP
TABLE 1. Former Live-in Caregivers Occupational Profiles in Canada
Source: Gabriela Transitions Experiences Survey
Years in Canada
Occupation 3-5 years 6-10 years Over 10 years
Caregiver 67.7% 45.4% 16.3%
Sales/Customer Service 6.5 9.2 10.1
Factory/Manufacturing 5.2 5.2 9.3
Hotel/Food Services 3.6 7.2 8.5
Nurse/Nurse Aid/Medical Lab Tech 1.2 3.6 8.5
Administrative 0.4 2.4 5.4
Health Care Aid/PSW 2.0 8.4 18.6
Cleaner 4.0 6.4 12.4
Other 9.3 12.0 10.9
N 248 249 129
Still, having open work permits did not mean that their economic struggles
abated. Table 1 above shows that 68% of our respondents stayed in care work within
three to five years after arriving in Canada. For those who have been in Canada
between six and ten years, the number is lower at 45%.
The results above highlight that, while obtaining open work permits gave our
respondents the security of knowing that they were a step closer to obtaining per-
manent status, this also, paradoxically, magnified their financial insecurity because
they would now have to save enough money to support themselves and to prepare
for their families’ arrival, which we discuss further below. As one respondent
describes, “When I was a caregiver, life was more peaceful but at the same time I was
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thinking, ‘when will my papers arrive?’ Now that I am out of the LCP, I actually have
less time for myself because I have to work and I have to keep working.
Another woman articulated the extra pressures she faced as follows:
After the LCP, I lived out to see the real picture. You need a lot to survive on your own.
You need a place to live, life insurance, bills. Now it’s all about paying the bills. When I
was a caregiver, to be honest, I had more money in the bank than now and I’m making
good money right now.
Another respondent describes how hard she had to work once she received her open
work permit: “For me, I work like a horse…. It’s like on and on everyday even
Saturday and Sunday. No day off. At least I had a day off in LCP, I got to rest…. If
you are working, you really work hard. Three jobs now that’s why I have no time.
Entering the Canadian labour market was challenging for the women we sur-
veyed. The increased financial pressures they faced after the LCP meant that numer-
ous respondents willingly stayed in care work because this provided a stable and
steady means of employment. It is for this reason that some of the women in our
study did not attempt to find jobs outside of care work. That they found improve-
ments in the way their employers treated them created further incentive to stay, with
one respondent saying:
[My employers] didn’t supervise me as much. If I wanted to go out, I could go out.
Anytime, I could go. When they were back at home at 6 pm, I could leave. Before, this
was not the case. Now, there is no curfew. Their house is open provided that you go
home. They paid for all of my work. They say, ‘Oh, you helped us tonight. I’ll give money.
Before, this was never paid.
Another woman agreed with this account and said that even the children she looked
after treated her better because “they are afraid that I’ll leave.
It is worth noting that although some employers provided salary increases, oth-
ers did not, which bothered the women we interviewed but which they ultimately
did not see as an issue worth fighting for because they felt that it was in their inter-
ests to keep living and working with their employers. Namely, they appreciated hav-
ing the ability to save on rent and have a consistent source of income.
Of course, there were those who stayed in care work after working in other jobs.
For example, one woman we interviewed who secured an office job even opted to
return to her employers to work as a live-in caregiver. As she argues:
I said to myself, ‘wow, I am not going to be able to survive.’ Plus there were other things
you had to pay for too. You had to pay for office clothes. You were in an office environ-
ment. So I decided to give myself three months to look for a job as an accountant. And
after three months, if I can’t find a job that can pay for my rent, my food, you know, and
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everything, then I’ll go back as a nanny. So I visited my previous employers. So my first
employer asked me how I was doing. I said, well, I finished my accounting. And then I
got asked if I wanted to work as an accountant. I said I didn’t think so because I could-
n’t be in a job where I had to sit 8 hours a day. I was trained in this office and I was going
crazy. I was used to being a nanny, where I was able to go out. When the child naps, I nap
too. And then we go out in the afternoon. So my employer asked me what type of job I
wanted. I said, I want to return to being a nanny. Then her and her husband exchanged
looks. They told me they wanted me back. So I stayed with them.
Another woman came to a similar epiphany after working in a warehouse. When asked
to compare both experiences, she said, “So you know that your work load as a nanny
is lighter compared to, say, a warehouse worker. You can take breaks, you can rest.
The women we interviewed who were quickly able to find employment outside
live-in care work frequently did so through existing connections. They realized that
there was a hidden job market in Canada whereby only those who knew people
within certain companies were able to get jobs. One woman, for example, was able
to work as an early childhood educator for the daycare center owned by her
employer. Other women were able to get jobs in the service sector because of refer-
rals from friends who were already employees. All of these women emphasized the
importance of strong social networks in assisting them with their job search.
A recurring theme in our focus groups was how the Canadian employers only
considered Canadian work experience as being valid, thereby negating previous pro-
fessional work experience abroad. This then meant that because their only Canadian
work experience immediately after the LCP was in care work, a few women believed
that they were stuck working in this field. Some women even believed that indicat-
ing on their resumes that they worked as live-in caregivers would negatively bias
potential employers against them because they would be seen as “only being good
enough to work as a nanny,” as one woman put it. As another woman explains:
Of course [there is discrimination]. For me, I sent resumes, and there are no responses.
For me, I think, maybe it’s because I am not qualified. Or maybe it’s different. Maybe you
think they’re not calling because of something else...
Beyond their perception that being former live-in caregivers impeded their job
applications, some of our respondents were worried that they faced other forms of
discrimination. One woman, who was sixty-four years old, talked about the harrow-
ing experience of going to an employment agency and seeing that other job seekers
were younger than she was and thus deemed more qualified. Another woman talked
about how she was denied employment as a forklift operator despite undergoing
training and having work experience in this field because the hiring manager in the
company where she sought work told her “they will not accept female workers there
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because they are weak in lifting.” When she asked whether there were jobs that she
could apply for within this company, such as doing design work, she was told that
she needed to upgrade her credentials in order to do so.
Hence, there was a mismatch between our respondents’ actual skills and the jobs
that are available to them in Canada, with a lot of women discussing the abysmal
process of regularly searching and applying for jobs without much success. This
echoed the findings from other studies showing that Filipina live-in caregivers have
training and work experience in a range of professions in different countries but are
most likely to be relegated to ‘low-skilled’ forms of employment (Kelly, Astorga-
Garcia, Esguerra and CASJ 2009)
Challenges associated with taking educational upgrading courses
As shown in Table 2 below, 86% of the women we interviewed have bachelor’s
degrees. Despite their educational credentials, the women we interviewed were all
aware that in order to be competitive in the Canadian job market, they needed to
take educational upgrading courses since their university degrees from the
Philippines are not recognized. The desire to rise above their current economic sit-
uations was shared by many of our respondents. As one woman stated, “You don’t
want to just be a maid. So I took a course. I’m the one who spent for my education.
I took out a loan.” The difficulties in getting professional regulatory bodies to recog-
nize foreign credentials, in fact, are a major reason why immigrants have difficulty
accessing professional jobs (Bauder 2003).
In addition, prohibitions preventing live-in caregivers from taking courses last-
ing for more than six months while under the LCP add further delays to their abil-
ity to transition out of the care work, further presenting hurdles to their settlement.
As one woman said, it is entirely possible for live-in caregivers to take courses while
under the LCP. She argues that, “on the weekends if they do not have work while they
are still waiting for their papers, [they should be able to] go to school.” Adding to
these delays were the long waiting lists for certain courses, which either dissuaded
our respondents from taking these courses or made them consider taking courses
from private colleges, which were more expensive but were immediately available.
Some of the women who needed to take courses in order to be able to work in
the professions they held in the Philippines expressed frustration with the entire
process. Not only did they have to pay professional associations in Canada a fee to
assess their credentials and work experiences, they also had to set funds aside in the
event that they were asked to return to school. Going back to school was difficult
because it was costly, time-consuming, and offered no guarantees of a job after-
wards. As one woman said:
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You know how intelligent we are, well trained in the Philippines but why won’t they
approve/recognize our training/profession? Why do we have to go back to zero? If you
had a good training in architecture for example, why can they not take you even as a jun-
ior in training? That would be better than having to go back to school for another 2-3
years. I am already 37 years old and then I have to go back to school? It’s so hard here.
Lamented another woman, “I cannot [take upgrading courses in nursing] now
because it’s full time. You know for one year, you will not earn anything. How will
you survive? How will I prepare for my family to be here?” For these reasons, a few
of the women delayed taking accreditation courses, seeing these as something they
could conceivably pursue in the future.
Yet others decided that the financial sacrifice was worthwhile and decided to
take courses, though some tried to compromise by pursuing other courses that did
not require the same time and financial commitments. A few of the women we inter-
viewed who had nursing degrees, for example, felt that the best use of their time was
to study to be ‘care aides’ instead. Others took part-time courses that taught them
new skills, such as accounting and bookkeeping. As noted earlier, one of our respon-
dents even trained to become a forklift operator. Some felt that the training they
received, however, was subpar compared to the training they received in the
Philippines. Said one woman: “Because we have a high academic standard in the
Philippines. We have a better training system compared to others.
Interestingly, a number of our respondents indicated that their employers
actively discouraged them from taking upgrading courses. One respondent said that
TABLE 2. Former Live-in Caregivers’ Educational Backgrounds
Source: Gabriela Transitions Experiences Survey
Educational Attainment Percent
Less than high school 0.2%
Completed high school 1.1
Some college or university but did not complete 14.6
Completed college or university 79.2
Some Masters degree or higher 3.9
Completed Masters degree or higher 1.1
Less than high school 0.2
Completed high school 1.1
N 627
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her employer did not want her course work to interfere with the work she did at
home. Another respondent claimed that her employer actively negotiated with her
on when she could take other courses: “They told me that maybe I can go back to
school, but not until the children I am taking care of are already in school at 5 years
old.” The same employer, however, gave her permission to take shorter courses such
as driving lessons because these did not take as much time as the accreditation
courses she wished to pursue. In these cases, the continued hold their employers
exerted on their lives negatively impacted a number of our respondents’ ability to
take upgrading courses and to find positions outside of care work.
The pressures of being their families’ sole breadwinners
Because the women we interviewed acted as their families’ sole breadwinners, the
economic pressures they felt were intensified. Not only did this mean that they were
aware that the money spent on taking courses could have gone towards more press-
ing matters, thus providing further disincentive for them to resume their studies, this
also meant that they were willing to delay the pursuit of their professional aspira-
tions in order to find jobs that allowed them to immediately fulfill their financial
obligations towards their families. As one respondent asserted:
The problem is, the caregiver is put in a position where they have to choose if they want
to eat or go to school. Your kids need to eat in the Philippines. Yes, it’s true you want to
be a dentist or engineer here, it only takes two years. But because you are forced to choose
your kids’ survival in the Philippines versus going to school here. Of course you would
choose to feed your family in the Philippines.
In addition to family members’ everyday needs back in the Philippines, getting their
open work permits came with an increased expectation to start earning and saving
funds to pay for permanent residency applications, the costs of airplane fare and new
dwellings for their families, and other expenses required for their families’ settle-
ment. These financial burdens led the women in our focus groups to seek multiple
jobs, with some women having two or three ‘unofficial’ jobs in addition to their main
source of employment. One respondent described her situation as such:
I have three children, all college aged, so I need to earn money. And I also do a lot of other
random part-time jobs when they come up. I guess you can say I have two part-time jobs
informally, both in housekeeping, plus I work full-time as a caregiver.
Other respondents concurred with this assessment, observing that they had to work
multiple jobs to make ends meet. Yet others without jobs still felt the pressure to send
money back: “We always send them money, even when we’re jobless.
The uncertainty they faced when waiting for the permanent residency applica-
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tions to be processed deepened their sense of economic vulnerability because they
did not know how long processing times would take, both in the Philippines and in
Canada. Such uncertainty made financial planning difficult.
Of course, obtaining permanent residency and finally being reunited with their
families also magnified their financial burdens. Our respondents who were reunited
with their families were relieved that they were no longer separated from their loved
ones but the added costs of having to pay for their families’ expenses in Canada
heightened their economic vulnerability. They observed that paying for their fami-
lies’ expenses in the Philippines was easier because favourable exchange rates
ensured that their salaries went further. The narrative below, shared by one of our
respondents, is one that other women in our focus groups related to because it out-
lines the pressures and the negotiations they had to make following their families’
arrival:
I worked from 3:30 pm to 2 am in the morning. Then after that, 8 am I was working in
the cosmetic cashier at [a drug store] or wherever I was needed. Then my back started to
hurt. Then my family came and the worse is, [my husband] worked as a packer that
started at 5 am. I did not sleep much, I couldn’t. 3:30 pm -2 am then 45 min drive and
then another shift at 8 am. I just wouldn’t sleep because at 4 am, I will have to wake up
to prepare and drive [my husband] to work. One time I almost got into an accident so I
thought, ‘I fell asleep while driving, that was really bad.’ When I reached the intersection,
when I turned, someone honked ‘What the hell you’re doing?’ So I told [my husband], I
want to quit my job, I don’t want to die yet. So he said ok, because I was trembling. Then
on May 26, I got into an accident when I had picked up my friend/coworker. First time
is enough, no more second time. So I quit my job and it was hard. I only kept my part-
time job and [my husband] is working most of the time. We are still trying to figure out
a good strategy for finances.
Furthermore, some women in our focus groups were single mothers, which meant
that they did not have partners with whom to share their financial responsibilities.
In addition to having to paying for household expenses, they also had to pay for
childcare.
CONCLUSION
When asked whether their experiences were worth it, the majority of our respon-
dents said yes, emphasizing that they saw their futures in Canada. Despite the chal-
lenges they faced during and after the LCP, they understood that living and working
in Canada presented better economic opportunities for themselves and their fami-
lies. The absence of well-paying, stable jobs in the Philippines, coupled with their
belief that they made important contributions to Canadian society and were a part
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of Canadian society, led a lot of women to see the economic challenges they faced as
an inevitable part of the immigrant journey.
This belief that Canada was worth it, however, does not make the economic and
labour market challenges our respondents faced any less onerous. While other new-
comers to Canada are also economically vulnerable, coming to Canada through the
LCP confers on our respondents the status of being citizens-in-waiting, which then
presents barriers to settlement and integration.
Economic challenges arise during and after the LCP. Our data shows that the
specific terms of the LCP magnify live-in caregivers’ vulnerability to abuse. Tying
live-in caregivers to their employers through employer-specific work permits and
through the mandatory live-in requirement makes it difficult to regulate employ-
ment contract violations, thus making live-in caregivers especially vulnerable to
abuse. In addition, our data also points to how live-in caregivers transitioning out of
the program face specific challenges. Unlike other immigrants who came to Canada
with their families, live-in caregivers have to make arrangements for their families’
arrival by saving the necessary funds; upon reunification, they also have to be their
families’ sole breadwinners – at least initially – and face the burden of earning
enough funds to meet their household’s needs. That their employment options
beyond care work are limited to low-paying jobs contributes to the pressures they
face, particularly in the absence of robust social networks that can provide job refer-
rals and access to the hidden Canadian job market. The insistence on only recogniz-
ing Canadian employment in job applications, coupled with the stigma some
women felt was associated with being former live-in caregivers, made their feelings
of economic precariousness worse. Although taking educational upgrading courses
presented them with the opportunity to rise above their current situations, the time
and financial investments involved in doing so deterred most of our respondents
from returning to school. Further analysis of our survey data results, of course, will
add more nuance and clarity to the issue of LCP immigrants’ economic integration.
If, as discussed, citizenship means more than just having the legal right to reside
in a country but also refers to people’s ability to truly be members of a given society,
one can see how the economic and labour market integration challenges experi-
enced by the live-in caregivers we interviewed hinder their membership in Canadian
society. Our respondents’ belief that they are part of Canadian society and that their
futures are in Canada does not mean that measures should not be taken to ensure
that they are meaningfully incorporated into Canadian society. We thus end this
article by recommending how Canadian policymakers can be more responsive to the
needs of current and former live-in caregivers to ensure that they feel that they are
truly members of Canadian society and that citizenship is not so graduated and
uneven. We first suggest eliminating the live-in requirement and providing for open
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work permits. More pathways to permanent residency should be given to live-in
caregivers and their families. Second, we suggest reevaluating the way foreign cre-
dentials and overseas work experiences are assessed. Finally, we recommend creating
more funded training and education programs to enable former live-in caregivers’
entry into their former professions. If live-in caregivers are to have full and not
uneven and graduated citizenship, it is important to include measures to mitigate
their economic and labour market exclusion.
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ETHEL TUNGOHAN is a Grant Notley Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the
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been published in peer-reviewed books and journals. She is also the co-editor of
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Behaviour at Ryerson University. Her primary research interest lies in the employ-
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nals as International Migration Review, Ethnic and Racial Studies and Journal of
International Migration and Integration.
WAYNE CHU is a planning analyst with the City of Toronto.
PETRONILA CLETO is Secretary-General of Gabriela-Ontario.
CONELY DE LEON is a PhD candidate in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies
at York University.
MILA GARCIA is Research Director of the Community Alliance for Social Justice.
PHILIP KELLY is Professor of Geography at York University and Director of the
York Centre for Asian Research.
MARCO LUCIANO is the Secretary-General of Migrante-Canada.
CYNTHIA PALMARIA was the Chairperson of Gabriela-Ontario and is now a
member of Migrante-Alberta.
CHRISTOPHER SORIO is the Vice-Chair of Migrante-Canada.
CES_Vol 47.1 March 2015_text_March 2015 2015-03-09 7:18 PM Page 105
... First, women who came through the LCP, typically with the intention at landing to work in in-home care supporting children, the elderly and people with disabilities, earned less both initially and over the long term than comparable women arriving via other entry classes. This reinforces prior suggestions of a 'care [wage] penalty' and the devalued nature of work in care (Lightman, 2019;Tungohan et al., 2015). Second, Filipina women, as a feminized and racialized immigrant labour force in Canada, have had different labour market trajectories than women from other source countries. ...
... In part due to ongoing evidence of disparities in the labour market between immigrants and non-immigrants, there is growing understanding in Canada that processes of racialization dovetail with gender, entry class and country of origin to shape experiences at work (Lightman & Good Gingrich, 2018;Tungohan et al., 2015). Intersectional analysis highlights how social groups' various identities (e.g. ...
... Unlike immigrants entering Canada through the FSWP, LCP principal applicants were required to complete the terms of their two-year live-in work contracts before applying for permanent residency for themselves and their families. As a result, LCP migrants are often characterized as 'citizens-in-waiting' (Tungohan et al., 2015) due to their 'two-step' pathway to permanent residency (Goldring & Landolt, 2012). Because the terms of the LCP specify that caregivers' work permits are tied to their employers, researchers and policymakers have criticized the programme for placing caregivers in situations where the balance of power is disproportionately skewed towards their employers (Banerjee et al., 2018;Brickner & Straehle, 2010;Faraday, 2012) and have noted how prohibitions against caregivers bringing their families with them while under the LCP lead to much hardship for caregivers and may lengthen their adjustment period (Spitzer & Torres, 2008). ...
Article
This study uses Statistics Canada's Longitudinal Immigration Database to examine the ‘intersectional pathway penalty’ experienced by immigrant women from the Philippines entering Canada between 1996 and 2016 through three immigration categories. Estimating a series of growth curve models of employment income for 642,885 women, we compare Filipina immigrants’ earnings trajectories with female immigrants from other source countries to highlight how country of origin intersects with entry class to affect immigrant women's post‐migration labour market integration. Viewed through the lens of intersectionality, our results indicate that processes of differentiation tied to race and immigrant status result in Filipina women outperforming comparable women from other sources countries within the Live‐in Caregiver Program, where earnings are consistently lowest. However, within the higher earning Federal Skilled Worker Program entry class, Filipinas experience downward labour market mobility relative to women from other source countries, ultimately emphasizing the devalued nature of care work.
... However, the reverse is true for those women intending to work in private homes caring for children, the elderly, or people with disabilities, the express intention of the LCP. Thus, altogether, the data reinforce prior suggestions that immigration policies shape labour market outcomes in Canada, with intersectional effects tied to gender, country of origin, and class (e.g., Elrick & Lightman, 2016;Tungohan et al., 2015). ...
... However, specific drawbacks of the LCP included unscrupulous recruiters and employers, and long waits for family reunification. This led to widespread criticism of the LCP as being exploitative to (mainly female) migrants and leading to deskilling and downward economic mobility over time (Alboim & Cohl, 2012;Tungohan et al., 2015). ...
... Thus, a major drawback of this analysis is that an unknown proportion of immigrant women who intended to work as caregivers likely either did not do so at any point or moved into other types of work over time in Canada. However, qualitative Canadian literature suggests a path dependency element, as women who enter Canada working in low skill care, due to challenges in credential recognition, family sponsorship obligations, and deskilling that often occurs, tend to continue working in these types of caring occupations over time (Hanley et al., 2017;Tungohan et al., 2015). Thus, given existing data limitations, I seek to examine the characteristics of immigrant women who report the intention to work in one the four selected types of lower skill care, both inside and outside of the LCP, and examine how their employment income compares to otherwise comparable immigrant women over time. ...
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Canada has long relied on women from poorer countries to fill gaps in its paid care market. Yet little is known about the upward or downward trajectories of immigrant women who arrive intending to work in lower status jobs in care. Using a unique administrative dataset (the Longitudinal Immigration Database), the author estimates a series of growth curve models of employment income for 220,265 non-professional, non-managerial immigrant women working in Canada between 1993 and 2015. Results reinforce prior suggestions of a "care [wage] penalty", as all intended care workers, besides nurse aides, fare worse over two decades in the labour market than comparable intended non-care workers. Yet entry class is also found to play a role. Women who arrive to Canada though the Live-in Caregiver Program-which has the explicit goal of providing in-home care for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities-have higher employment income than comparable immigrant women reporting the intention to work in homecare who entered via the family reunification and economic immigration streams.
... However, their exposure to PLSTs, bad jobs, time spent waiting, and opportunity costs are not easily erased. This shows why (future) citizens with prior experiences of illegalization and/or temporariness may continue to experience negative economic outcomes (Goldring and Landolt 2011;Tungohan et al. 2015). This approach to migrantizing citizens can be developed in future research. ...
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Critiques of ‘fantasy citizenship’ include calls to migrantize the citizen and denationalize citizenship and migration studies. In response, this essay proposes ‘precarious legal status trajectories (PLSTs) as method’, with a focus on the work of legal status. This approach captures changes in sociolegal status trajectories, including illegalization, and builds a ‘thicker’ approach to trajectories. The work of status refers to effort, time, money, and other resources devoted to being present in a jurisdiction, and/or gain access to services and protections. The approach also considers work that does not produce changes and is not counted, and interactions with other actors. This contributes to understanding how precarious legal status trajectories are assembled and contribute to inequalities in citizenship and dynamics of differential inclusion. It migrantizes the citizen in a context where the share of citizens who were precarious noncitizens continues to rise, and when methodological nationalism occludes PLSTs.
... spouses, family members, employers). Despite Canada's heavily controlled immigration regime, policy changes and current outcomes -including an increased reliance on temporary work permits, a quicker pace in policy reforms, and growing delays in the treatment of refugee protection claims -also generated more precarity when it comes to immigration status (Goldring et al., 2009;Goldring & Landolt, 2013;Hari, 2014;Paquet & Larios, 2018;Tungohan et al., 2015). ...
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Chapter
In Canada, urban centres have been especially hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and this public health crisis has generated particular risks for non-status and precarious migrants. Using official data and published research, this chapter explores how city sanctuary policies in Canada have addressed these pandemic risks and, more broadly, the future for Canadian sanctuary policies in the post-Covid-19 recovery. We highlight the specificities of sanctuary policies in the Canadian context and document that while cities have not rescinded these interventions during the pandemic, they also have not built on them when developing COVID-19 responses for urban residents. We propose that this demonstrates the need to maintain pressure for reforms that increase the resources and capacities of cities in Canada so that they can be in a better position to implement and institutionalise policies for non-status and precarious migrants.
... This, not surprisingly, often results in lasting effects on HCAs' physical health and well-being. In addition, there is growing recognition of the mental health burden HCAs face; this is often attributed to the emotional labour of caring for others, the stress of working in a high demand and low remuneration context, and, for most HCAs, the additional challenges of being a female immigrant and/or racialized person and facing multiple forms of social exclusion at work and in Canadian society (Banerjee & Lee, 2015;Kelly, 2017;Lightman & Good Gingrich, 2018;Tungohan et al., 2015). ...
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Technical Report
A first-of-its-kind report highlights the experiences of 25 immigrant women health-care aides working in long-term care (LTC) during the pandemic and shows how this essential work is socially and economically devalued. “More than ‘Just a Health-Care Aide’: Immigrant Women Speak about the COVID-19 Crisis in Long-term Care,” by professor Naomi Lightman from the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary, in conjunction with Parkland Institute and the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA), highlights immigrant women’s difficult experiences as staff in Calgary’s LTC sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as their recommended solutions to address the LTC crisis.
... Elderly care work is deemed as dirty and demeaning (Huang et al., 2012). In Canada, even after home care workers receive legal work permits, a step closer to obtaining legal immigrant status, they are unable to find upward economic mobility because of their past experience as live-in caregivers negatively biased their applications to jobs outside of care work (Tungohan et al., 2015). These cultural discourses have contributed to making legal protections for care workers limited. ...
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Filipino home care workers are at the frontlines of assisted living facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs), yet their work has largely been unseen. We attribute this invisibility to the existing elder care crisis in the United States, further exacerbated by COVID-19. Based on quantitative and qualitative data with Filipino workers before and during the COVID-19 crisis, we find that RCFEs have failed to comply with labor standards long before the pandemic where the lack of state regulation denied health and safety protections for home care workers. The racial inequities under COVID-19 via the neoliberal approach to the crisis puts home care workers at more risk. We come to this analysis through Critical Immigration Studies framing Filipino labor migration as it is produced by neoliberalism and Racial Capitalist constructs. Last, while the experiences of Filipino home care workers during the pandemic expose the elder care industry’s exploitation, we find that they are also creating strategies to take care of one another.
... Equally absent from this literature is consideration of effects of the transition or potential transition to permanent residency. While permanent residency status is held out as a solution to the damaging effects of temporary labour programs (Nakache and Blanchard, 2014), with some notable exceptions (Polanco, 2014;Bonifacio, 2015;Tungohan et al., 2015;Polanco, 2016;Bryan, 2019a), little has been published on the actual implications of transitioning to permanency for temporary foreign workers and their kin. In addition to redressing this, this paper also illustrates the ways in which the "taken-for-granted" good of permanency can also be harnessed by state and capital to hold migrants in place, and to duplicate hierarchies and structures of accumulation that benefit employers. ...
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Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in rural Manitoba and the Philippines, this paper uses the example of the small town of Douglas, which since 2009 has been home to a small Filipino community, as a tenuous counter-point to the accounts of exclusion that dominate the scholarship on Temporary Foreign Labour in Canada. This paper draws on ethnographic research conducted in Manitoba with the region’s newest immigrants—those recruited to ensure the viability of the new, diversified rural regional economy, and more specifically, the tourism and hospitality sector, established in the 1970s. In 2009, unable to meet its labour needs regionally, a local hotel began recruiting temporary foreign labour. By 2014, the Hotel had recruited 71 workers from the Philippines, most of whom arrived through Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program; others having arrived through the province’s immigration scheme, the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP). A reflection of the ubiquity of globalized Filipino migration, the well-being of these workers had long been informed by economic development in the Philippines and the centrality of international labour mobility to that state project. What emerges from the data is a simultaneous acceptance and contestation of the conditions of transnational family life, and moreover—reflecting the focus of this special issue—the extent to which migrant well-being shifts in accordance to labour mobility regimes responsive to development. Migrant workers and their families are implicated in these connected, yet differently motivated, state projects. And while particular narratives concerning their contributions come to be valorized and even celebrated, their mental, physical, affective, and relational well-being is often over-looked by those who benefit from their labour and mobility. Of equal importance is the provincial state’s participation in this process through the provision of permanent residency to existing and in-coming migrants. While this benefits individual families, it does not inherently challenge the logics of neoliberalism; rather, drawing on its nuances, it create new possibilities for capital accumulation and exploitation, while offering some protection for select families who are willing and able to abide by the terms established by their employer and the Manitoba state.
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Long- term care (LTC) facilities have emerged as the single most critical location for the outbreak of the COVID- 19 pandemic across Canada and internationally. Yet the voices of health care aides (HCAs), an overwhelmingly female and racialized workforce who provide essential daily care to LTC residents, have largely been ignored to- date. This community- based research study provides new data collected from 25 in- depth individual interviews with immigrant women HCAs who were working            - lysed through the lens of intersectional exclusion, highlight how the pandemic has impacted the working lives of immigrant women employed in LTC facilities on a daily basis, as well as their suggestions for enhancing their safety and employment conditions. Two key themes emerged during the process of data analysis: (a) HCA experiences of economic exclusion and workplace precarity— many of which pre- dated the pandemic but have been exacerbated by current policies and practices that prioritize profits over quality of community care, and (b) experiences of broader social exclusion, many of which are tied to being considered “just HCAs” who are doing “immigrant's work”, rather than including HCAs in broader conversations about how to reform and improve the LTC sector for future. Concluding thoughts discuss how to improve policy to support low wage workers within LTC in order to address intersectional inequalities and to better support front- line care workers during current and future health pandemic recovery efforts.
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In 2007, Canada expanded the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to include service and hospitality sectors. By 2010, more migrants entered Canada with temporary visas than as permanent residents. While some found employment in hospitality and tourism, most were concentrated in the fast food sector. Working transnationally, this paper uses Tim Hortons’ concurrent global expansion and its arrival in the Philippines as a case study of the global mobilities and intersecting pathways of capital and labour. Drawing on the theoretical contributions of feminist political economy, it illustrates how the aspirations and mobilities of the Filipino workers at the centre of this study are organized in the service of capital; capital, in this example, as represented by the globally ambitious Tim Hortons’ parent corporation, Restaurant Brands International (RBI) and, more specifically, the Brazilian American global investment firm that owns and manages RBI, 3G Capital, as well as by the efforts and objectives of franchise holders.
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Calls for the professionalising of homecare are often driven by a perceived gap in knowing ‘good care’. However, many training solutions are underpinned by a cognitivist notion of knowing as a rational process of making sense of sense. A different approach to knowing homecare is provided in this article, based on a very different set of assumptions on knowing and knowledge. Suggestions for researching homecare are provided, underpinned by the notion of sensory ways of knowing. These other ways of knowing ‘good care’ potentially reconfigure who and what are able to be attended to in the field of homecare.
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Live-in paid domestic w ork represents a peculiar form of paid employment and employer± employee relations. Contradictions and ambiguities arise from the domestic worker'w orkplace' being her employer'home'; w hile intimacy, affective labour and a high degree of personalism veil the asymmetrical class relation between employer and employee. In T oronto, employers are often w hite w omen, w hile domestic w orkers are often (im)migrant w omen, especiallthird world' w omen of colour. Given this, we draw on in-depth interviews w ith paid domestic w orkers w orking in T oronto to examine w ays in w hich the employerÐ employee relations are constructed through interlocking, relational systems of difference, especially genderrace'/ ethnicity, nationality, immigration/ citiz enship status and language. W e focus on three major aspects of the employer± employee w ork relation from the viewpoint of the domestic w orkersÐ living-in, beinlike one of the family', and feelings of respect, dignity and self-w orth. W e ® nd that many of the w omen shared a number of common concerns and experiences. H ow ever, the speci® c articulation of systems of difference led to a range of experiences of the extent of asymmetry in employer± employee power relations. Have you seen the movie M ary Poppins? There's a song that says that if you can ® nd the good things, then everything else is OK. What she says is actually amazing. The kids love it too. It's my theme song to keep me going sometimes. That is our song, the nanny songYou ® nd the fun and the job's a game'. That's exactly ita spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down', that's it literally, and ® guratively speaking. A pat on the back goes a long way. But I didn't get that at all. That's the reason why I was unhappy [with her previous employer]. (Silke, a 30-year-old German woman employed as a domestic worker in Toronto).
Book
Few recent phenomena have proved as emblematic of our era, and as little understood, as globalization. Tying ethnography to structural analysis, Flexible Citizenship explores how political upheavals and global markets have induced Asian elite families, in particular, to blend strategies of migration, capital and cultural accumulation. She details how their transnational practices of flexibility manipulate different immigration regimes as well as schemes of multiculturalism in advanced liberal societies. Refuting claims about the clash of civilizations, Ong presents a clear account of the cultural logics of globalization as Asian peoples disperse and shape forms of Asia-Pacific modernity.
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The relative prosperity of Canada's larger metropolitan areas makes it tempting to believe that immigrants integrate into the economy with relative ease, such that they enjoy a standard of living fairly comparable to native-born Canadians. But as appealing as this belief may be, is it true? This paper reviews the literature on the economic integration of Canadian immigrants and suggests that differences among immigrants-according to the circumstances and timing of their arrival-have significant implications for their economic success. While the evidence indicates that, on average, immigrants continue to experience an earnings disadvantage at entry with respect to their native born counterparts, most recent studies reject the idea these earnings eventually converge. © 2004 by the Institute of Urban Studies All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.