Green Party of Canada

Green Party of Canada

January 17, 2006 13:58 ET

Green Party calls for protection of live-in caregivers

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 17, 2006) - Canada's current Live-in Caregiver Program is a shameful violation of human rights, said Green Party leader Jim Harris today.

"It is the responsibility of our government to protect the rights of these workers," added Harris. "This issue can not be placed on the back burner."

The Live-in Caregiver Program brings trained domestic workers mainly from impoversihed countries to work in Canadian homes. Under the program, it is mandatory that the nannies live in the homes of families. This makes the workers vulnerable to exploitation, working excessive hours, inadequate pay and no overtime stipulation. The program's regulations are not strictly applied or enforced.

The reality is that many of these women have children of their own overseas, and must come to Canada to provide for families back home. Because of childcare shortages in Canada, there is a high demand for affordable domestic workers.

In 2003, one pregnant domestic worker in Montreal was fired by her employers after refusing to undergo an abortion. Her employer took her to the hospital to get the operation, without explaining why she was going. The hospital staff did not go through with the abortion, since the woman did not consent. This woman filed a complaint against her employers. However, many remain silent in abusive situations because they fear losing their jobs and possible deportation.

Many NGOs, such as the Siklab and other Filipino organizations have been campaigning to protect overseas workers by scrapping the live-in caregiver program. These groups have been pressing the Canadian government to change the mandatory live-in requirement and to allow workers to enter as permanent residents to prevent abuse and exploitation.

"The government is accountable for programs that bring in cheap labourers from abroad without adequately protecting their human rights," added Harris. "How can our government effectively fight international human rights violations such as human trafficking when we haven't cleaned things up at home?"

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For more information:
Derek Pinto
Media Relations Officer, Leader's Tour
David Kay
Media Relations Officer, Leader's Tour

/For further information:

Derek Pinto
Media Relations Officer, Leader’s Tour

Contact Information

  • David Kay, Media Relations Officer, Leader’s Tour
    Primary Phone: 514-250-4346
    Secondary Phone: 416-618-0613
    Toll-Free: 866-868-3447