Advocates: Gov’t secretly shutting down foreign caregiver program

By , on May 19, 2015

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Several advocates claim that the Canadian foreign caregiver program is slowly being suppressed by continuous low acceptance rate and growing backlogs in granting permanent residency to qualified applicants.

Advocates then accuse the Canadian government for secretly shutting down the program by the new demands, costs and delays discouraging caregivers from abroad.

Following a revised caregiver program introduced last year, fewer than 10 percent of employers’ requests have been approved to bring in foreign caregivers in Ottawa.

Under the new program, a potential employer now needs a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire a nanny or caregiver from abroad. This certificate is for justifying that there is a shortage of labor from the local services.

Last year, only 92 positive LMIA have been approved by the Employment and Social Development Canada. Of the LMIAs issued, 22 were for childcare and the 70 others were for clients with high medical needs.

Prior the revised program, the government issued 700 to 1,000 LMIAs per month.

According to the federal government, the decrease of LMAIs is due to the decline of applications. But based on data, the Employment and Social Development actually received as much as 971 LMIA applications, with 842 for childcare and 129 for people with medical needs.

“There was a noticeable decrease in the number of applications compared to previous months. A higher proportion of applications were being returned as incomplete as employers adjusted to the new requirements, and in some cases, employers had to re-advertise their positions,” Employment and Social Development Canada spokesperson Simon Rivet said.

Advocates, employers and caregivers, however, assert that the decrease is actually because of low acceptance and massive backlogs in permanent residency applications. They argue that these must not continue as the Canadian communities are in dire need of stable and consistent child and elderly care.

“The Tories are secretly shutting out the caregiver program. More women will suffer. The caregiver applicants and the prospective employers both suffer due to the delay and the decreasing number of approved LMIAs,” Caregivers’ Action Centre member Liza Draman said.

“The government promised caregivers and the Filipino community an end to the massive backlog as a way to win our votes. But instead of ending the backlog or giving caregivers immigration status on landing, the backlog has grown. Their promise is a broken promise, not sincere at all,” she added.

“Canada has had a foreign caregiver program for decades, and suddenly the government feels that we no longer need them. What has changed? Are unemployed Canadian nannies complaining that they being passed over by overseas nannies?,” Association of Caregiver and Nanny Agencies president Manuela Gruber Hersch asked.