Jul 7, 2010

70% drop in foreign caregivers in Canada—agencies

MANILA, Philippines—There has been a 70- to 90-percent drop in the number of placements for foreign caregivers or nannies over the past three months following changes in Immigration Canada’s Foreign Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), it was learned Tuesday.
According to the Association of Caregiver & Nanny Agencies Canada (Acna) website, program changes have increased the costs and risks for Canadian families who want to hire a foreign caregiver or nanny.
The changes took effect on April 1, when Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, made it mandatory for any family hiring a live-in caregiver for children, elderly, or disabled care to pay all travel costs (including airfare), medical insurance, worker’s compensation premiums plus all employee recruitment costs.
Acna president Manuela Gruber Hersch lauded the Canadian “government for its efforts at bringing much needed improvements to the LCP.but the changes have reduced the capability of Canadian families to hire overseas caregivers. Not only is it much less affordable, but there is no protection or risk mitigation for those who make the investment.”
The changes require the employing family to pay all associated costs, but the caregiver has no obligation to stay with the family and can terminate employment at any time.
“As a result, Canadian families are vulnerable to applicants who abuse the LCP by coming to Canada at no personal expense, staying long-term and seeking other employment,” Acna said in its news release.
“As families shy away from utilizing the program, this in turn limits job opportunities for overseas caregivers. Individuals willing to provide much needed caregiver services in Canada have little choice but to turn to illegitimate off shore agencies for assistance,” it added.
Foreign caregivers and nannies have been in demand in Canada because currently, the country does not have universally affordable childcare option, leaving some families with few alternatives other than hiring an overseas caregiver. Hiring families bear most of the burden in the hiring of foreign caregivers.
Acna thus asked Minister Kenney not to treat private families accessing the LCP the same as business corporations accessing the Temporary Foreign Worker program. It said that while the corporation’s main objective is to grow revenue and turn a profit, the family’s objective is to raise healthy children and provide care for future and senior Canadians.
As a result of these changes to the program, many reputable caregiver agencies have closed down and many families are left with no elder or child care. “The revisions to the Live-in Caregiver Program are having a negative effect on family life and are further eroding Canadian productivity,” said Hersch.
Acna Canada is an industry association of employment agencies who provide nannies and caregivers to Canadian employers. –Veronica Uy, INQUIRER.net
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