Hotel worker Nym Calvez cyberbullied after CBC interview

Hotel worker Nym Calvez (right) is interviewed by CBC’s Rosemary Barton on May 13, 2020. (CBC screen shot)
Updated: May 22, 2020, 6 P.M.

Bakit ang kapwa pa ang tinutulisok at pinagbibintangan?  

(With files by Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas in Vancouver and Ysh Cabana in Toronto)

A CBC interview on the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on workers lives has gone viral after a Filipina hotel worker talked about her concerns.

Vancouver hotel worker Nym Calvez has now taken off her Facebook Page after being subjected to vicious comments after the CBC’s ‘Town Hall on the Covid’ episode on May 13, 2020.

Link to CBC story:

The 35-year old from Surrey, B.C. figured prominently in last September’s 2019 hotel workers strike in Vancouver and was interviewed by a YouTube blogger, a Ron Galvez, on the sidelines of the strike.

The strike which lasted several weeks crippled some of Vancouver’s largest hotels including the HyattRegency,WestinBayshore, Pinnacle Harbourfront and Hotel Georgia.The workers won a  historic new contract when the  strike finally came to an end on October 16, 2019 including salary raises of 25%. A number of Filipino workers are employed by these hotels.

Nym Calvez (far right) shown here during a rally  to publicize hotel workers’ sexual harassment complaints on July 23, 2019. UNITE HERE Local 40 president Zailda Chan is on the left.(Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Ironically, Covid has gutted the hotel industry today, resulting in the lay-offs of 90% of workers according to UNITE HERE.

Nym Calvez is one of them. 

When CBC contacted the union for someone they can put on the show about Covid, Calvez was recommended, according to a union spokesperson.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Asked by CBC’s Rosemary Barton on how the $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is affecting her and other workers, she responded it was “not much”. She explained that in the short-term, it is OK,  but was worried about the long-term when they could not go back to work because of hotel closures.

“The living expenses in Vancouver alone is very expensive. From $2,000 my rent is almost $1,500,. $500 is what’s left for food and groceries, That’s nothing,” said Calvez, who also sends money to her family in the Philippines every month. “I am using other resources like credit card to stay afloat,“ she told Barton.

Barton then put her to ask Finance Minister Bill Morneau what the government’s long -term plans to support workers in tourism were.

“The best we can do is to support people now and to enable businesses to keep having optimism, having opportunities down the road so that if Nym doesn’t have a role in the business she’s in right now, there might be another role that she might be able to get because we’ve helped many businesses to bridge through this time,” Morneau responded.

Since March, the 16-week CERB is paying $2,000 a month to millions of eligible recipients. It is a Canadian government program aimed at getting money out quickly to those who need it. It doesn’t account for pre-pandemic incomes or regional cost of living and isn’t designed to manage a long-term economic recovery. CERB income is taxable for 2020.

Over 7.3 million workers in Canada have now received the CERB, and another 1.7 million are still employed through Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), now extended beyond is original June expiry date.

Trolls on the attack

Immediately after the CBC episode aired, the internet went abuzz with trolls attacking Calvez, a reaction that perplexed most Filipinos including Unite Here.

“ I don’t understand the vitriol,” Michelle Travis, a media contact for Local 40 told Philippine Canadian ( “It’s perplexing,” she added.

The union refused to provide with a contact number for Calvez saying “she is now very distressed at the moment.” 

The union did not issue a statement condemning the attacks.

What triggered the attacks was a post by a blogger using the hashtags # Justin Trudeau # FilipinainCanada and#CANADA with a highly provocative headline posted onMay 20, 2020.

Screen shot of Youtube video.

The post begins with a clip from an interview by a Ron Galvez of Calvez on the sidelines of the hotel strike in 2019 and inserted Prime Minister Trudeau making his daily announcement’s and the Barton interview.

The average viewer without any knowledge of the 2019 hotel strike would think that Calvez was just coming from the strike, wearing as she is, the same T-shirt with the UNITE HERE logo.

A  deliberate lie is the headline – ‘Filipina organized a strike in Canada’. 

While Calvez is a union organizer and played a prominent role during the strike, she was not the one who organized the strike.

The other headline ‘UNGRATEFUL FILIPINA IN Canada!!! $2000 is not enough??? stoked the fires and the bullying started to roll.

 Another YouTube blogger who plays by the name“Miss Turtle Lover” went into an 18-minute harangue against Calvez admonihshingher to be “thankful instead of being disappointed.”

Supporters of Calvez

Although she was viciously attacked, others have come to her defense.

One of them is Vancouver-Kingston NDP MLA Mable Elmore, the only Filipino Member of the Legislature in British Columbia. 

“It’s not ungrateful to say more needs to be done to help people who are out of work or may soon be out of work. And if we don’t have brave leaders who can speak up for us when we can’t – we’re all worse off as a community,” she says.

Jeanifer Decena, who calls herself a ‘relativist’ went as far as analyzing the interview point by point.

“ Don’t judge without listening and understanding where is she coming from,” Decena, says pleading “not bash her anymore.”

 “I applaud her to make a stand that help her community to move forward.”

It is not about the Filipino community as a whole. It is the hotel industry that she is fighting for. I am requesting everyone to Stop Bashing her and let’s continue to move forward,” Decena said in her Facebook Page.

Monica calls for a stop to the bashing:

“Let’s stop the bashing. Nym took a risk and spoke on national media about her situation and the situation of workers in her industry. She is raising her concerns to raise awareness and put an important question about long term solutions to people in power who are making decisions right now that will impact us all.

People can appreciate the support being given by the government but please remember that better support was fought for by opposition parties within a minority government. It was not a gift that just fell from the sky.”


(Ed’s note: In our original post, we identified Emily G. Brewer as the poster. In fact it is Jeanifer Decena.We apologize for the mistake and the confusion).



12 thoughts on “Hotel worker Nym Calvez cyberbullied after CBC interview”

  1. I’d like to thank Philippine Canadian for writing about this. I will say my piece on this matter once and for all, after many, on both side of the spectrum, have asked me on text, phone and messages — esp. that the Ms. Calvez is from Surrey Filipino Canadian community, and I’ve been asked if I know her personally (I don’t, but I have friends who do know her). Just like many people perhaps, I do not know anything beyond what I have seen online, that is why I chose not to comment nor react initially. I’d like to know more why she was interviewed, when this exactly happened, what is the actual topic being discussed.

    Having known more about it, I would like to call for sobriety and understanding especially from my fellow Filipinos here in B.C., all over Canada, and even outside of Canada. We can always disagree without being disrespectful. Bullying is an absolute NO and must NOT be tolerated.

    I wonder why many (esp. from my kababayans) have time on the world of social media to say about something they presumed as ‘negative’ but are nowhere to be found when there is something GOOD and POSITIVE that is being done around them, for them, and which concern them. Everyone has the RIGHT to give their opinion but please be respectful, know the story behind it first, understand where the person is coming from, give yours without hurting anyone, emphatize if you can, be civil if you can’t.

    And if the Union she belongs to indeed sent Ms. Calvez as a spokesperson for this matter and for this interview, I call on them to stand behind her, to ask for people’s understanding on where she is coming from, to help condemn the cyber bullying (many are even on their own FB page which I believe they can always moderate and control), to issue a statement about all these, to please not ‘leave her under the bus’.

    1. This was commented on May 22 at around 2pm, not 8:47 pm as posted here (your site is probably set to another timezone?) – — the Union as we called on at this comment and on our public FB statement already posted their statement through their President on their FB page at around 6pm May 22nd. We thank them for that.

      Here’s hoping that while Filipinos, and any other residents and citizens for this matter, are now being assertive and outspoken about certain civic issues, that the group they are working for and speaking up for, will also protect them and back them up immediately. (Posted May 23, 12:26pm PST)

    2. I justwant to make a point here. Her nzme is Nymcho, I spinsored her to come to Vancouvet to be my care giver for my kids. Ms Calvez arrived in Canada in 2007. She hasn’t worked in the hotel industry for over 30 yeats.

  2. The union or whoever asked her to be on the interview should have briefed her first.

    It was a lost opportunity to relay her message to the government and the public.


      I totally agree. Preparation, for anything is way so important if you are to appear on national tv, specially in this age of social media. She (Calvez) should have seriously considered what to say and what NOT to say, and realize what are the VALID ISSUES that she should have even brought up. TOO LATE for now….

  3. sorry but their union send a wrong person…her interview cause so much embarrassment to the Filipino
    Canadian is not acceptable because my whole family is so grateful to be in the best country
    in the world…i don’t have any sympathy to her at begin with she didn’t have a good presentation of herself
    on the interview..hopefully this will be a big learning experienced to anybody..

  4. To Anonymous and Joselito.. did you guys even watch the whole Townhall Meeting videos? Because clearly, you are not understanding what the meeting was about.. and you saying she was not briefed is beyond me! Clearly, the fact that her Union asked her to be their representative and spoke on their behalf means they trust her and that she can convey the message they want the Minister of Finance to hear, and she did, she did exactly that. What they did not anticipate was the bullying, the hypocrisy and holier than though Filipino attitudes. You should be ashamed of yourselves! Especially those who called her names, reposted a malicious attack to a fellow Filipino and blindly believed a controversial headline. Hindi lahat mahismasan, kc sa totoo lang mas madami ang bobong pinoy kc may sariling pag iisip at matalas na utak- masakit man pero yan ang katotohanan.

  5. This is what I am most embarrassed about being a Filipino. We break each other down rather than build each other up. What a shame!

  6. the fact that she feels like $2000 is not enough it’s the issue, Canada has zero responsibility to help her family in the Philippines, zero. Furthermore, if that amount is not enough then go out and get a job, lots of super markets are hiring, she is ungrateful

  7. Nym you did a great job! You were very articulate, talked about big picture concerns & obviously you’ve got high level of awareness about social justice issues. Thank you for putting those issues forward. I’m sorry that you’ve been bullied online.

  8. Corazon Cadigal

    She is telling the truth of her reality. Just because she spoke up, we should not easily condemn her. Businesses are complaining, almost everyone is complaining but such is the hard reality that the pandemic has brought us. Let us be kind to one another and be helpful to each other. The government is doing all it can to help us, I know. But as in the play Oliver Twist, the boy who in his hunger stood up and ask “Please sir, could I have some more?”

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