On the occasion of the State Visit to the Philippines / 9 November 2012

ImageDear Mr. Harper,

As Filipino Canadians with strong ties to our home country, we follow closely and with much interest your visit to the Philippines. In your visit, we hope that as the Prime Minister of Canada that you will represent the Canada most Canadians want — the Canada that believes in justice, human rights, and peacekeeping.

You have declared that “Canada’s relations with the Philippines continue to grow and diversify, aided by an increasingly important Canada-Filipino community.”  The Filipino community in Canada is now the largest source country for migrants to Canada; it is the fourth largest visible immigrant community, and one of the top three sending countries of temporary foreign workers to Canada. Filipinos made up the largest group of Temporary Foreign Workers (2006 census) at 13.9 per cent nationally. As members and representatives of community groups and alliances, we would like to see relationships between Canada and the Philippines go beyond just the economic interests to include issues of human rights, sustainability, good governance and peace.   (more…)

Olivia with Juana and her husband Noli.

Yesterday Migrante-Ontario, the Independent Worker’s Association (IWA), and associated groups celebrated Juana Tejada’s successful fight to gain permanent residence status. Juana is the live-in caregiver (LCP) that was denied status twice after she was discovered to have terminal cancer and deemed a burden to the Canadian healthcare system. (more…)

Juana Tejada, the Filipina caregiver with terminal cancer that fought against her deportation and won, is an inspiration to caregivers and the Filipino community at large. Come celebrate her victory with her next Sunday (24 Aug), and join in the new campaign to ensure what happens to her doesn’t happen to anyone else. (more…)

Just a little gentle prodding and Canadians are tripping over with racist glee. All someone had to do is use the right politically correct code words for racism in the 21st century.

Canadians are too polite to tell the gooks to go home, that just wouldn’t seem right. (more…)

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It was wet, really wet, but I’m glad I was there to spend some time with some of my kababayans [countymen] at a campsite near Guelph, Ontario.

There were about fifty people there, caregivers on their one weekly day off, and members of Migrante-Ontario (and it’s member groups). It says alot about the Filipino people how high spirits were despite the weather and the difficult lives in which they live.

Filipina’s make up over 95% of the live-in caregivers in Canada, despite their struggles, most Canadians (including Canadian born Filipinos), know little about them. (more…)

Happy Canada Day all!

Of course Canada has been a blessing for many Filipinos (the 4th largest visible minority in the country). It has provided us with opportunities that we would be hard pressed to find in the Philippines. I remember my first visit back home in 2001 when I saw how my relatives lived and I often still think about what would have become of me and my family had we stayed.

[above: my uncle’s neighbourhood, a squatter area by active train tracks in Manila. I lived here for four months in 2001 (photo from 2005).]

Of course all of our experiences are unique and with a community as large as ours the stories of migration vary widely, but when you look at the big picture a heart wrenching reality emerges. (more…)

Canada is going to deport a Toronto-based Filipina live in caregiver because she has cancer.

She completed all the requirements of the live-in caregiver program, but when she underwent the manditory health check that comes with applying for permanent residency they discovered she had cancer. This discovery prompted the order for her to leave Canada.

As one Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) officer put it: “While I am sympathetic to your situation, I am not satisfied that these circumstances justify granting an exemption…. In the opinion of a medical officer, this health condition might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health and social services.” In otherwords, her cancer would cost Canadians too much money. (more…)