On November 22 in Toronto, caregivers came out to speak out against Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. He and the government are taking away caregivers’ right to permanent residency. The Caregivers Action Centre organized the rally.
We have been receiving many e-mails lately from caregivers who are worried about the government’s potential changes to the Live-in Caregiver Program. We have been responding to them as best we can, but in the absence of real information from the government, we can only go by what they have said publicly.
To help those who are worried about what is going to happen if you are a caregiver, here is the text of an e-mail reply we sent to one of our readers:
Thank you for your e-mail. We can very much understand the fear and uncertainty you must be feeling right now. Unfortunately, at the moment, we don’t know exactly what will happen yet. The government has not officially announced any changes. But here are the facts as we know them today:
1) Jason Kenney made a deliberate statement earlier this summer about changing the terms of the Live-in Caregiver Program. He did so to raise a “trial balloon”: he wants to see how the people react.
2) Chris Alexander has held consultations in at least Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto on possible reforms.
3) Our sources tell us that that these reforms include removing the automatic right to apply for permanent residency. Instead, they are proposing to turn it into an “invitation-only” system where only some caregivers under the program will be able to qualify for permanent residency.
4) There are rumours that some kind of change will be announced in September or October.
Before the government announces any changes, they are waiting to see how the community reacts. That is why Kenney made that statement earlier this summer. We are afraid that if no one says anything, and we just wait for the government to announce changes, that many caregivers and their families will be negatively affected. But if we make enough noise, then we might be able to get the government to recognize caregivers’ right to permanent residency. This is what happened in the 1970s: caregivers and Canadian families made their voices heard and spoke up loudly and the government listened.
Therefore, if lots of people tell the government that these changes are wrong, then the government may change their mind. It is important to tell current and former caregivers to be aware of what is happening and to be prepared. It is also important to tell friends who are already citizens. We want as many people to sign our petition at www.inclusivecan.ca/act/lcpmessage so we can say to the government and the media: Thousands of Canadians believe caregivers should have a pathway to citizenship. If there is enough public pressure, we may be able to achieve permanent residency for caregivers on arrival.
If you are interested in helping out more, I encourage you to join a local organizing group. If you are in the Toronto area, I would recommend talking to the Caregivers’ Action Centre. You can e-mail them at email@example.com. If you live elsewhere in the country, let us know and we can can connect you with a local group.
We are all more powerful than we think!