Juana Tejada, the Filipina caregiver who was being deported this August from Canada due to her cancer, has been granted an extension on her temporary work permit. She can stay until December 10, as the authorities continue to assess her case.
Ms. Tejada began working in Canada in 2003, via the Canada’s Live-In Caregiver program. She was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2006, during a medical examination for her permanent residency. Canadian authorities then denied her application, stating that she would cause “excessive demand” on the country’s health resources.
The Canadian authorities have since reconsidered, due to outrage from Filipino community groups headed by Migrante Ontario, the Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, and by workers’ groups including the Independent Workers Association and the United Steelworkers Union.
The government has also extended her some medical coverage to help pay for her expenses, and the community is now raising funds to help pay for the rest. (Click here and scroll down to the end of the story for information on how to make donations)
Like majority of the 3,000 overseas Filipino workers who leave their country everyday, Ms. Tejada wanted to help her family. Her husband is now with her in Canada, and they await the decision of immigration officials regarding her permanent residency.
Juana Tejada’s case is just another example of the anti-women orientation of Canada’s Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP). If you would like to help caregivers like her, you can support groups like the Jocelyn Dulnuan Support Committee, which is fighting to reform the LCP.
In the end, as her lawyer says, Juana Tejada’s outcome is a small victory. It’s more than an issue of the Filipino community. It’s about how we treat foreign workers in an age of globalization.