A Snapshot of the Vulnerable Underclass of Foreign Workers in Canada


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There are lots of ways to look at Canada’s checkered history with immigration. Europeans welcome, French to a lesser degree after they lost a war or something, Chinese railroad workers, the Komagata Maru, internment of Japanese-Canadians, residential schools and a variety of abuses of the First Nations who “we” tend to treat as lesser people, even though they were here first and are not immigrants to “our” land, based on the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

Plus, all the others I’m forgetting who “we” have made to feel less worthy of being here.

Today, we have temporary foreign workers, agricultural workers earning less than the living wage, and one of the most disturbing, the foreign live-in caregiver program. I’m sure some people treat that program as a means to facilitate someone’s immigration or at the very least treat them with dignity. But there are certainly problems with the program.

You can judge this ad in Craigslist for yourself. Note the BC minimum wage was frozen at $8 for the last decade, only to be reluctantly raised to $8.75 by a new BC Liberal Party leader eager to suck up to those on the right wing who are at least mildly concerned about how badly the government has been abusing the poor.

Spot the issues:

We are a family of 7 looking for a full time live-in caregiver. We are willing to sponsor through the foreign live-in caregiver program. We live in a newer area in Chilliwack walking distance from the schools, parks and shopping. We have 5 children. Our four older children reside 40% of the time with their father and 60% of the time with us. I work most of my shifts when my 4 older children are with their father. The kids are 10, 9. 7 and 5. We have a baby who will be 10 months old when I return to work. Our nanny will primarily take care of our baby when we are at work. We will require our nanny to do our children’s laundry as well as the day to day cleaning up around the house. When all the kids are home, they will need assistance getting ready for school and afterschool with their chores and homework. You would have your own locked room and share a bathroom with the kids. We will pay minimum wage which is increasing this year, minus your room and board and taxes. Please send an e-mail if you are interested. Thanks!

via Nanny needed (live-in).

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website, dgiVista.org.

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8 thoughts on “A Snapshot of the Vulnerable Underclass of Foreign Workers in Canada”

  1. Yikes… sadly it does sound more or less characteristic of what I’ve heard about that sector.

    It’s very thoughtful of them to take away her taxes on her behalf. And I see that Craigslist says this is a 40-hour-a-week job. Obviously, and conveniently, math is not their strong suit either.

  2. This family is dreaming if they think a nanny will actually apply for this crazy job ! And in Chilliwack…what is this family smoking !!
    This nanny should get paid at least $ 12 – 13 / hr as a live in .

    On the other hand, if live is so bloody bad working as a live in nanny in Canada, foreign domestics can certainly stay overseas and not choose to come and work in Canada.

  3. This is the standard contract for a nanny who comes to Canada, usually from the Philippines. These jobs are attractive to them because they can apply for permanent resident status after they put in their 2 years of slavery I mean work. Plus of course they pay the agency that places them money to find this dream job… The reason the ad is placed is because in order for the agency and the family and the worker to keep on the right side of Immigration Canada, they have to show that there is no local person who would take the job. Keep in mind also that the work permit that is given these workers is SPECIFIC to the family, so if they get fired or quit it is a logistical disaster to stay (although it can be done.)

    Unfortunately, this is the only option for a lot of families who need care, especially those who work shifts like the person who posted. Try to find a daycare that will take your kids overnight while you work! We still need a national daycare plan – the situation working parents find themselves in is atrocious.

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