Migrant Care Workers Release Behind Closed Doors During COVID-19

The Migrant Rights Network  has released a report detailing experiences of racialized migrant and domestic workers during COVID 19.  The release of the report comes as Ontario is in the midst of the pandemic’s second wave.
The report is based on over 200 surveys filed out by migrant workers across the country.  It  details stories of abuse, stolen wages, evictions, and workers being trapped in their employers’ homes.
Karen Savitra came to Canada in 2016 from the Philippines, and has since been working as a migrant “I came to Canada for my future and my family’s future, but my employer took advantage of me and underpaid me because of my tied  work permit,” she said.  She worked 12 hours/ day for five days/ week during COVID-19, and was only paid 1,440/ month.
Other survey findings:

  • 1 in 3 respondents report losing their jobs, and ongoing issues accessing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI).
  • Almost half the respondents who kept working through COVID-19 reported longer hours of work.  Over 40% reported not being paid for extra hours averaging $226 of unpaid wages/week or  $6552 per worker in the last six months.

The survey also finds that lack of permanent residency is also an issue.  Judy Cabato is a Migrant Care worker from the Philippines based in Vancouver.  She has completed the requirements for permanent residency, however her application is delayed due to COVID-19.
She was let go from her job, so her work permit, social insurance number, and health card have also all expired  leaving her unable to apply for income support and healthcare.  “I’m here in Canada to work.  I want to work.  My family needs me to work.  I am appealing to the government- grant us, all migrants, without exception, Full and Permanent Immigration status for all, and now.”  To read the full report, and recommendations visit their website.