KAIROS celebrates new Caregiver Pilot Programs and extension of the Interim Pathway
KAIROS Canada applauds the Government of Canada for delivering on its promise of improving the lives and working conditions of migrant caregivers. At a press conference on June 15, the Minister of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada unrolled two new Caregiver Pilot Programs, which begin June 18.
Minister Ahmed Hussen acknowledged the contribution of migrant caregivers, specifically for the well-being they bring to the families they work for, and the benefits their work provides Canadian society both economically and culturally. He also recognized the hardships and barriers migrant caregivers face in obtaining permanent residence and with family unification, including the pain of prolong family separation.
For years, KAIROS, migrant workers and allied organizations have called on the Government of Canada to address the egregious problems with its caregiver programs. Specifically, KAIROS and its allies have called for permanent residency upon arrival and for reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure migrant workers’ rights are protected.
The new Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker programs will begin receiving applications on June 18. Migrant caregivers will benefit from these new Caregiver Pilot Programs in the following ways:
- Caregivers will receive a work permit only if they have a job offer in Canada and meet the criteria for economic immigration programs. Once working in Canada, caregivers will be able to accumulate the required 24 months of Canadian work experience required to apply for permanent residence.
- There will be a clear transition from temporary to permanent status to ensure that the caregivers have met the work experience requirement and will become permanent residents more quickly. Work permits will be issued based on occupation, not the employer. This will make it easier for caregivers to change employers, if necessary.
- The removal of a Labour Market Impact Assessment from employers will decrease bureaucracy and waiting period for processing work permits.
- Caregivers’ spouses and children will receive open work permits and/or study permits so that families can be together.
The Minister also announced a 3-month extension of the Interim Pathway for Caregivers to permanent residence, from July 8 to October 8. The extension is an encouraging response to a call for more time from migrant caregivers and their supporters. The initial pathway was also three months, from March 4 to June 4.
The Interim Pathway has less stringent requirements, including a 12-months work requirement instead of 24, and Canadian high school equivalent as opposed to at least 1 year post secondary education. Migrant caregivers are still required to pass level 5 of the Canadian Language Benchmark.
This is good news! The extension of the Interim Pathway was a direct result of the education and advocacy work of KAIROS and allied groups, including TNO,The Neighbourhood Organization at the Canadian Council for Refugees Consultation in Victoria, B.C., May 29-1 June.
The KAIROS Migrant Justice program thanks its church members, local networks and allies for joining this advocacy campaign and for supporting migrant caregivers’ calls for permanent residency, open work permit and access to services. Most importantly, KAIROS thanks the tireless and courageous migrant workers, the majority women, who shared their lived experiences and spoke out about the challenges and barriers they face. It is through this hard work and joint efforts that these changes are happening.
For more information, contact Connie Sorio, Migrant Justice Coordinator at (416) 463-5312 ext 240 or at firstname.lastname@example.org