Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Report identifies failing in Caregiver program

A week ago, a coalition of groups released a report addressing shortcomings in Canada’s existing Caregiver Program. This program brings foreign nationals to Canada to work on a temporary basis providing care for children, the elderly and persons with disabilities. After 24 months of work, the caregivers can then apply for permanent residency.

The existing Caregiver program is set to expire in November of 2019. The coalition identifies a number of issues with the current program:
  1. It defines caregiving as a temporary labour market need when, in fact, there is an ongoing need for caregivers (as witnessed by the ~5000 new caregivers who come to Canada each year).
  2. The program requirements separates caregivers from their own families, often for years.
  3. The structure of the program makes it almost impossible for caregivers to leave bad jobs, such as where there is economic exploitation or abuse.
  4. The pathway to permanent residency contains a hard cap on the number of caregivers who may become permanent residents (which is the primary attraction of the program for workers) that is set at about half of the number of caregivers who are allowed into the country each year. Consequently, there is a huge backlog of applications.
  5. Some of the requirements for permanent residency (language and education) are assessed only after caregivers have already been employed on a temporary work permit for two years. Other requirements (medical exam) are repeated.
The report also contains recommendations for actions and is well worth a read.

-- Bob Barnetson

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