Go Fund Me set up for de Guzman. (Go Fund Me image)
MEDIA RELEASE – Death of Claire de Guzman, 37, migrant worker
MIGRANTE MANITOBA – 204-218-7100 – [email protected]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, October 31, 2018 — It is with regret that Migrante Manitoba shares the news of the tragic passing of Claire de Guzman, 37, who died on her birthday, October 23, 2018. Claire suffered a stroke in The Pas, Manitoba, where she worked at a restaurant as a temporary foreign worker. She was transported to Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, where days later, she passed away. She leaves behind a 13-year-old daughter, husband and family who reside in the Philippines.
“I sympathize with Claire’s family because many immigrants including myself have been in her shoes. I left my son to look for a better life in Canada because back home there are no jobs,” Liza Fontillas, a member of Migrante Manitoba said.
Like many Filipinos, Claire left the Philippines in order to work, save funds and sponsor her family to join her in Canada. According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), an average of 5,787 Filipino workers left the Philippines daily in 2016 to find work abroad. For nine consecutive months inflation has increased in the Philippines to an average of 6.7% increasing the prices of staples like rice (20%), fish (12%) and vegetables (19.2%). “The increasing costs of food, transportation and utilities in the Philippines puts pressure on overseas Filipino workers like Claire de Guzman to send money back home at all costs,” Diwa Marcelino, an organizer with Migrante Manitoba said.
“Before the stroke, a roommate indicated Claire suffered from severe headaches for which she took pain relievers. She might have not sought medical attention since she was still waiting for the renewal of her Manitoba Health coverage,” Marcelino said. Health Sciences Centre confirmed Claire’s Manitoba Health coverage resumed before her death resulting in no outstanding bill associated with her care.
Migrante Manitoba along with the majority of migrant rights organizations have called for the Canadian government to allow migrant workers to have open work permits and permanent immigration status on arrival to afford to them the same rights, protections and services given to permanent residents. “This may have ended differently if Claire received preventative care. Healthcare, Employment Insurance and basic workers’ rights are often out of reach for migrant workers because of the systemic inequalities that are hallmarks of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program,” Marcelino said.
The family of Claire de Guzman has set up the following accounts for supporting her funeral expenses. Donations of any amount are appreciated.
– Assiniboine Credit Union (any branch) – “Claire de Guzman Memorial Fund” (Donation Account #110015408419)
– Messages of support and email money transfers to – [email protected]
– Royal Bank of Canada – TBA
Contact information: Diwa Marcelino | mobile 204-218-7100 | [email protected]