Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Report: Live-in Caregivers in Fort Mac

A report (Live-in Caregivers in Fort McMurray: A Socio-economic Footprint) released last week explores the role of live-in caregivers in the operation of Alberta’s oilsands. 

Live-in caregivers tend to be cheaper than daycare and allow workers to cope with shift work and out-of-town work. In this way, live-in caregivers absorb some of the stress caused by the organization of work in the oilsands.
By working long and often irregular hours, live-in caregivers save money for their employers and allow them to access the highest wages in the country, and yet they generally invest more to come and work in Canada than their employers do to hire them. 
They must also endure long years without their own spouses and children to care for other people’s families. While the opportunity to immigrate often makes these sacrifices seem worthwhile, the conditions of work in the caregiving stream, including weak monitoring and regulation, can make them vulnerable to employer abuses and workplace violations.
Most of the live-in caregivers surveyed were women, Filipino and between 25 and 44 years old. Overall, an interesting examination of how workers are managing social reproduction in Alberta, often by exploiting other workers.

-- Bob Barnetson

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