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


Montreal, June 28, 2013 --- CRARR has filed another civil rights complaint on behalf of a Filipina live-in caregiver who was exploited and threatened to be reported to immigration authorities by her employer when she demanded to be paid for work performed.

Geraldine (not her real name) came to Canada in last year under the federal Live-In Caregivers Program. She paid more than $4,000 to a Montreal agency, known for abusive practices directed at Asian live-in caregivers, to process her application and find her an employer; in addition, she had to pay almost $2,000 for her travel expenses to come to Canada, not knowing that official rules require that employers cover these travel costs. Once arrived in Montreal, she was hired by the employer, a West-end business woman, who failed to respect both labor standards and civil rights laws, resulting in her being deprived of paid wages for services rendered and subjected to exploitative work conditions.

Feeling abused and controlled (the employer personally warned her of problems with general and provincial immigration authorities if she kept insisting on being paid), she quit her job and filed a complaint with the Employment Standard Commission after receiving support from different social justice groups. The Commission ruled in her favor and demanded payment from her employer who still refused to comply; the case is now heading to the Labor Relations Board, an administrative tribunal.

Geraldine also mandated CRARR to file a civil rights complaint against the employer in question. According to the complaint, there is “compelling evidence of a calculated, abusive and exploitative scheme of private citizens to take advantage of vulnerable women from Asia who arrive in Canada as live-in caregivers” and cites specific acts of discrimination based on race, gender, and social condition.

Discrimination and exploitation of live-in caregivers (most of whom are racialized women) remains one of the top women's issues in Montreal. Many domestic workers, women's, immigrant and migrant workers' and Filipino groups have called for changes to federal and provincial rules for live-in caregivers, some of which are as simple as the reference of civil rights protections for these workers in their provincial government-approved employment contract and the termination of the federal requirement to live with the employer, to no avail.

In cooperation with PINAY, a local Filipina women's rights organizations, CRARR will systematically file civil rights complaints against employers and immigration consultants who subject live-in caregivers to abusive and exploitative employment, housing and other living conditions.