The whole issue of taking away live-in caregivers’ right to apply for permanent residency all started earlier this summer when Jason Kenney claimed that Filipino families were abusing the system and that the program had “mutated” into a program of family reunification.
The question that remains is: Where did this idea of program abuse come from?
With the recent public release of Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s tracking poll, it seems possible, and entirely likely that Jason Kenney’s talking point came from a minor concern heard in a focus group. These focus groups, conducted by Ipsos Reid (click here for the PDF summary) asked Canadians about their thoughts on a variety of immigration issues. When it comes to the Live-in Caregiver Program, according to Ipsos Reid, “most [participants] generally spoke positively about the program.” One of the key benefits of the program that was cited was that there is a pathway permanent residency.
In fact, in their survey of over 3,000 Canadians (see PDF results), those familiar with the LCP cite the pathway to citizenship as a good thing about the program. No one cites family reunification through the LCP as a problem.
The only place where it comes up is in the focus groups. In the focus groups, there was a discussion about the potential that the LCP could be used as an alternative to expedite family reunification. But participants were more concerned about caregivers being taken advantage of by employers. Indeed, most participants said that the government should protect caregiver rights and should actually facilitate family reunification.
One of the reasons that the government pays thousands of dollars for these surveys and focus groups is for “developing policies and communications strategies.” Given Jason Kenney’s lack of actual facts to back up his claims of ‘mutation’, our concern is that he and Chris Alexander have already decided to take away caregivers’ right to apply for permanent residency. We are concerned that they are cherry-picking things they heard in the focus group that support their agenda. We are especially concerned that in their attempt to remove caregivers’ right to permanent residency, they are ignoring the facts and are simply scapegoating the Filipino for political purposes.
(Photo credit: Henry Faber Flickr https://flic.kr/p/mn6aF)