OTTAWA, ON – Recent moves by the federal Conservative government will cause hundreds of women to remain separated from their children, often for years and in some cases permanently. Changes to the Live-in Caregivers Program (LCP) are creating unfair barriers to citizenship for migrant workers, leaving thousands of vulnerable to prolong separation from their families in order to keep their jobs.

“The Canadian Union of Public Employees is calling for the Conservative government to reverse the changes to the Live-in Caregivers Program and allow mothers to be reunited with their children,” said Paul Moist, national president of CUPE. “Thousands of migrant workers are coming to this country to work as caregivers to Canadian children. Our country’s thanks to these workers – the vast majority of them women - should not be exploitation.”

CUPE’s national executive has passed a resolution opposing the abusive changes to the LCP, and is calling for better policies that allow migrant Caregivers to bring their families with them to Canada. The resolution also calls for changes to the LCP, and the Temporary Foreign Workers Program that protect the rights of migrant workers, and not just serve the needs of Canadian employers.

“We need positive changes that respect the human and labour rights of migrant workers – such as making work permits open and occupation specific,” said Moist. “As these programs stand today, under the Conservative government’s watch, migrant workers are essential indentured to their employers, and are far too susceptible to exploitation and unjust deportations.”

CUPE is calling for Canada to become a signatory to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C189), and the United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families; and for the Conservative government adhere to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its treatment of migrant workers.

CUPE is demanding that instead of temporary work programs, workers in Canada should have access to skills training and apprenticeships, a living wage and income security, investment in social programs and public services, a robust immigration program and permanent residency upon arrival for all foreign workers.

For more information:

Greg Taylor
CUPE Media Relations
613 818-0067
gtaylor@cupe.ca


National Executive Board Meeting
December 10-11, 2014

NEB Resolution
Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)


CUPE NATIONAL WILL:

  • Oppose recent changes by the Conservative Government to the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP);
  • Commit to strengthening relations and our support for migrant led campaigns that are challenging these changes;
  • Support positive changes to the LCP and TFWP programs that would:
  • Allow workers to come to Canada as permanent residents from the outset;
  • Make the work permit open and occupation-specific as opposed to the current system that indentures workers to a specific employer;
  • End family separation by allowing family members to accompany Live-in Caregivers to Canada;
  • Ensure protection from unjust deportation of migrant workers and genuine enforcement of labour standards and basic human rights.
  • Write to the federal government demanding:
    • Positive changes to the LCP and TFWP to ensure the human and labour rights of migrant workers in Canada are recognized;
    • Canada become a signatory to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C189), and the United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families;
    • Canada adhere to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

BECAUSE

  • Changes to the LCP create new vulnerabilities for domestic workers by closing down existing paths to citizenship and re-fashioning the program into another TFWP;
  • Changes to the existing TFWP maintain and reinforce the already precarious and vulnerable working conditions for migrant workers in Canada;
  • Canada created several TFWPs in a “race to the bottom” strategy that uses migrant workers as sources of cheap labour that serve to undermine unionization, drive down wage rates and reduce working conditions of all workers in Canada;
  • Migrant workers are being denied access to the basic human and labour rights as articulated in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Articles 2, 22, 23, 24, 25) that Canada signed December 10, 1948;
  • Respect for human and labour rights, permanent resident status upon arrival in Canada and full access to services is the only way to ensure the rights and welfare of migrant workers are respected;
  • Instead of temporary work programs, workers in Canada need skills training and apprenticeships, a living wage and income security, investment in social programs and public services, a robust immigration program and permanent residency upon arrival for all foreign workers.