Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, November 11, 2011---Donations are being sought to prepare for civil rights actions to protect the civil rights of a group of Filipina live-in caregivers, who may see their case dismissed by the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission due to technicalities.

In May 2009, Pinay filed a complaint on behalf of 26 women against a local consultant-recruiter, J.A. and his agency who regularly went to Asia year after year to recruit women wanting to come to Montreal as Live-In Caregivers.

Between 2005 and 2007, these women paid him an average fee of $4,000 U.S., plus airfare to come to Montreal; upon their arrival, most were informed that the promised employers were no longer available but they were not reimbursed for the fees they had paid the recruiter in order to find an employer. Most were housed in the consultant's properties, where housing conditions were deplorable and had to sign leases for which they did not get a copy. In many cases, leasing clauses were added by the recruiter acting as landlord after the signing of the lease, without the women's knowledge and consent. When they left the premises, they were unjustly sued by the recruiter at the Rental Board for not respecting lease conditions; unaware of the Quebec laws and lacking legal advice, many of these women lost and had to pay significant amounts to the recruiter. Some of the women did not get notice of the hearing.

The recruiter passed away in September 2009. The Commission’s investigator only met with half of the women in person, for the first time, in February 2010, which means they waited nine months after the filing of the intial complaint to obtain their declarations of facts. In October 2010, the investigator informed Pinay that the file would be closed due to the recruiter’s death, the unincorporated status of his company and the fact that his daughter denied active involvement in her father’s affairs. It was then that CRARR was asked by Pinay to assist and eventually discovered numerous problems in the investigation of the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission. Additional evidence was submitted by CRARR in an amended version of the May 2009 complaint and in other documents to the Commission on incidents between 2008 and 2010 to help in the investigation.

However, in October 2011, the investigator once again recommends the closing of the file based on essentially the same grounds. Results of the investigation would be submitted to a committee of three Commissioners for decisions; however, despite CRARR’s request for the investigation report (which is normally provided to the parties for comments prior to the submission of a case of the committee for decision), this report has not been produced.

In the mean time, a dozen women are still caught in Rental Board litigation initiated by the recruiter before his death. The cases are still active as his daughter continues the legal actions. More Filipina live-in caregivers still arrive and reside in the late recruiter’s properties .

“This means that after more than two years, these workers are left unprotected. We will take all necessary and proper actions to demand full protection for them and full accountability from those responsible for these women’s right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law, which we believe was not adequately upheld,” said Pinay President Evelyn Calugay.

“We Filipina women are not giving up, it is in our national character and resolve,” she added.

“We are outraged by the way these women have been discriminated. One of the Quebec’s fundamental values is women’s equality so we are still asking ourselves how we can leave these women so badly treated and ,badly unprotected from such unfair conditions.They need to get justice” added Melissa Arango, one of the lawyers involved in helping the Filipina live-in caregivers.

In anticipation of the case dismissal by the human rights commission, civil rights actions are being planned to ensure the full protection the women’s rights. It is expected that these actions will require at least $5,000. These women need everyone’s support in order to defend their rights.

For information on how to make donations and support these civil rights actions: Donations are accepted from anywhere in Canada.