National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada
March 18, 2014
The National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC), once again, calls on the Canadian government, under the Conservative government of Prime Minister Harper, to stop its pretension, and put an end to its hypocrisy as a country that champions and upholds human rights and women’s rights, as it continues to implement its anti-woman, racist, and anti-worker federal labour programs of the live-in caregiver program (LCP) and the temporary foreign workers program (TFWP). We denounce the continuing exploitation and oppression of women under these programs, and demand an end to the systemic violence that systematically puts us in the receiving end of the violent attacks inherent within neoliberal globalization.
A federal labour program facilitated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), this modern-day slavery program is one of the many labour programs of Canada that preys on people from the Global South who are looking for stable jobs and better wages, recruiting mostly women to work as domestic workers for children, the elderly and people with disabilities. Similarly, the expansion of TFWP has also lured thousands of people from countries, such as the Philippines, to come to Canada as a pool of cheap labour to work in various industries that require their skills and expertise. As these workers are promised good paying and stable jobs, many find themselves trapped, vulnerable, and left without a choice, but to accept the dictates of their employers to perform the most difficult, and dangerous jobs, at a minimal pay, that no other Canadians would take.
With the majority of LCP workers coming from the Philippines, the Filipino Canadian community has long felt the impacts of this inherently exploitative and violent program. Confined to the restrictions of mandatory live-in requirement, temporary status in Canada, employer-specific work permits, and completion of 24 months or 3,900 hours within 4 years, live-in caregivers have long been deliberately stripped of their dignity, and human rights as women and as workers. For over twenty years now, Filipino-Canadians have been steadfast in calling for the scrapping of the LCP. However, for over twenty years, the Canadian government, through CIC, has been adamant in its efforts to continue dehumanizing workers and in maintaining the modern-day slavery of women.
Used as its de facto national childcare program, Canada continues to uphold the LCP to meet the needs of a small percentage of the population who can afford to employ women from the Global South to manage their needs. As a program that thrives and functions from the exploitation of labour, and the oppression of marginalized and racialized women, the LCP, as well as the TFWP, has paved the way for the smooth execution of systemic violence and trafficking of women in this country. The landmark case of Leticia Sarmiento, a Filipino woman who was trafficked in Canada by her employers and forced to work as a virtual slave demonstrates the anti-worker bias and disregard for the humanity and fundamental rights of women by the current immigration and labour policies in this country. It also points to the complicity of the Canadian government in facilitating the trafficking and abuse of women under the LCP and TFWP.
Thus, as we bear witness to the escalating violation and commodification of our women, and their labour, we also bear witness to the failure of the Canadian government, under Prime Minister Harper, to prioritize and uphold the needs of the most disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and communities in this country. While Canada continues to implement its racist, anti-worker bias and anti-woman policy of LCP, we will see more and more of our women, under the LCP, legislated into Canadian poverty through the systematic underdevelopment and deskilling of our women and their families that further push them into the margins of society. We will also see more and more of our women become prime targets of physical, sexual, and economic violence and abuse.
As such, we condemn the outright violation of our fundamental rights as women. We call on all progressive Filipino Canadian women to be vigilant in our fight to end violence against women and to remain steadfast in demanding for the scrapping of the racist, anti-worker bias, and anti-woman Live-in Caregiver Program. As progressive Filipino Canadian women, we will never accept, and must not accept a program that continues to facilitate the deskilling and the underdevelopment of our women. We refuse a future of continued marginalization and poverty for our next generation and strongly denounce the continuing physical, sexual, and economic assault, and violence against women perpetuated by patriarchy and imperialism. We remain strong in our conviction to struggle against our increasing exploitation and oppression, and will not be silenced in exposing and opposing the violent impacts inherent within the implementation of neoliberal policies under globalization.
We also continue to call on all committed to the genuine liberation of women to challenge and resist the current neoliberal practices that promote violent and anti-woman policies and programs. In solidarity with women’s movements all over the world, we remain relentless in the joint struggle to end class exploitation, racial discrimination and all forms of gender oppression and exploitation. Together, we can build on the history and legacy of resistance of progressive women to forge a new path towards the genuine empowerment of our women and the future generation for social liberation.
Scrap the anti-woman and racist LCP! Universal childcare now!
Down with patriarchy! End violence against women!
Expose and oppose neoliberal policies!
Down with imperialism! Long live international solidarity!
Organizations under the NAPWC:
Philippine Women Centre of B.C.
Philippine Women Centre of Ontario
Philippine Women Centre of Quebec