The federal government has moved to issue 10,000 open work permits to caregivers which will allow them to seek employment elsewhere in Canada after their sponsoring employment contract obligations are filled.
“Too many live-in caregivers have completed their work obligations but must continue living in the home of their employer, waiting for their application for permanent residence to be reviewed,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. “[W]e have started issuing open work permits to live-in caregivers as soon as they have completed their obligations and submitted an application for permanent residence.”
Prior to the change, caregivers had to wait until their application for permanent residency was approved before leaving their sponsoring employer, which could take up to two years. Sadly, this regulation led to many cases of exploitation and abuse.
The changes come in light of several recent cases of abuse which sparked outrage across the county and spurred Minister Kenney’s department to review the program. Advocates praise the move, saying that the new open permits will “free” foreign caregivers and provide them with hope for a better future.
“Finally they are released from bondage, the bondage of poverty, slavery and neglect,” said Toronto Caregiver Resource Centre worker Terry Olayta. “If we truly want to eliminate poverty, if we really want to eliminate neglect, exploitation and slavery, that is the thing to do — expedite their open work permits.”
Though this move has been heavily praised, others say there is still much more to be done to help foreign workers and ensure that they are not being exploited, such as improving their access to health services.
Source: Toronto Star