Canada still separates workers and their children amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated:April16, 2021, 8:50 A.M.

Updated: April 16, 2021, 8:00 A.M.

Vancouver, B.C.

Permanent Residency demands denied, some pathways given to Temporary Workers and International Graduates


Mildred German 

Unceded Territories –  Long campaigns and demands for permanent residency for migrant and undocumented workers were dismissed in yesterday’s announcement of changes with Canada’s foreign-labour policies, weeks before  International Workers Day (May 1st).  Some temporary workers and international graduates who are currently in Canada will be granted pathways to permanent status, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced  yesterday, April 14. nternational-graduates-have-new-pathways-to-apply/

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has been dependent on temporary migrant, immigrant, and undocumented labour and remains high.

Foreign workers have been providing essential services during this pandemic and have been called ‘heroes’. Yet, they face tremendous racism, unjust working conditions and long family separation, not to mention unjust deportations. Temporary workers  are treated as disposable broken tools when sick, injured, or disabled.

Like the case of Kherin Dimalanta, a Filipina caregiver who was working for a family of two doctors, she hoped to apply for permanent residency and bring her own two children to Canada. Dimalanta who reportedly arrived in Canada three and a half years ago under a caregiver visa, discovered she has chronic kidney disease six months after her arrival. She became ineligible to work, was not able to finish the work program, and not allowed to stay in Canada.

Immigration:Should Kherin Dimalanta be sent back to the Philippines to die?

Another concerning case is of Filipina “hero nanny” Jillian Mendoza who was seriously injured by an out-of-control SUV on February 24, 202 in Toronto. Mendoza pushed the stroller with the two children out of the way, took the impact, and thus suffered serious injuries.’s-filipina-“hero-nanny”-fights-her-life/37094

Mendoza’s long recovery triggered a  GoFundMe fundraising campaign.She is a single mother who has been working hard to support her daughter and parents as the sole provider for her family. She is also in the process of obtaining her residency in Canada, and has many plans and dreams for her daughter.

Canada’s foreign labour policies separate children from their parents. Here, a worker risked her own life for other children is truly a heroic act. She could have been blamed if she was not able to save the children. For most foreign caregivers it is a do-or-die situation – living  a knife’s edge.

Enormous sacrifices are asked of our workers but with Canada’s long failure in protecting all workers, they  remain in very vulnerable conditions. Because of the lack of permanent residency status, they are also denied  access to training and education.

In this pandemic, casualties and positive cases are high in slaughterhouses, agricultural industries, health care and caregiving sectors, and other workplaces and industries where Canadian employers rely on cheap labour to fill in the labour gaps.

Despite a high spike in unemployment in Canada brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada still requires more foreign workers.  B.C. announced its plan to hire 7,000 more caregivers and health care workers. The agricultural (sector) experienced a lack of labourers resulting in apples left to rot. Slaughterhouses keep facing outbreaks after outbreaks  leaving workers out of a job, if not dead. Many Filipino nurses and caregivers who are hailed for their hard work, faced imminent death, some because of the negligence by the union and government agencies in providing proper PPE.

Anti-migrants sentiments in Canada are rising, although the economy depends on migrants, immigrants, and undocumented labour and communities. These anti-migrants sentiments are rooted in Canada’s long and ongoing systemic racism in the exploitation of labour.

The dream of better pastures for their children drives them to work under uncertain conditions, including the chance of “pathways” to Canada’s permanent residency. Sponsorship of the children is made the pawn in Canada’s immigration policies.

Research on the experiences of the Filipino community in Canada has shown  that Filipino youth are the most affected as they are the ones left behind while their parents work abroad. Yet, Canada dismisses the hopes of many Filipino migrant, immigrant, and undocumented workers who wish to reunite with their children and families amidst this pandemic. It is a very challenging time to be separated from children and families under these uncertain global crises.

If Canada truly values its essential workers, why are their children and families made to endure long family separation?


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