Live in Caregivers and the Hurdles they Face to Stay in Canada

My client is a 40 year old woman from the Philippines. Trained as a dressmaker, she came here 6 years ago as a temporary foreign worker. Unfortunately, she, like many other foreign workers were exploited. She would work at one position during the week and told to do unpaid work on the weekends. Constrained by her obligations (her school age children back home; her common-law is without work and her father has a serious and ongoing health condition) she kept quiet, but luckily found a family that needed a caregiver.

The family had obtained a Labour Market Opinion (now called a Labour Market Impact Assessment) to allow them to hire a foreign national. What the employer, and my client did not know however, was that a “LIC” work permit needs to be issued outside Canada (and you need to enter Canada as a LIC). Apparently neither did the immigration officers out of CPC Vegreville, because they issued just such a work permit. They also extended it. The next work permit that followed expressly advised as to my client’s eligibility to apply for permanent residence under the LIC program. Because of this, my client applies for permanent residence once she met the required hours of work. CIC receives the work permit, and issues her an open work permit. So far, so good, right?

Wrong. The application for permanent residence was refused in January 2014. Not knowing what to do (starting over, would mean a loss of years, and of course, running up against her “max time in Canada” the so called 4 and 4 Rule. She sought to do a humanitarian and compassionate application to allow her to request permanent residence from within Canada notwithstanding her technical non-compliance with the Act.

The H&C was refused as well. She finally came to see a lawyer accompanied by the parents of the children that she’s been taking care of these past 5 years. We filed an application for leave and judicial review; the matter will be heard before Justice Kane this morning.

I think that there are a number of flaws with the officer’s reasoning. This has got to be one of the more unsympathetic and callous decisions I’ve had the misfortune of reading (casually dismisses a hard working woman’s 6 years in Canada, dismisses the fact that she relied on the statements contained in CIC official documents, a heartfelt letter from an 8 year old she cares for, clear evidence that she pays the bills for her elderly father’s dialysis, clear evidence that she is paying for her daughter’s post-secondary education “because that is the one thing I can give them”, clear evidence that an immigration officer led her down the garden path five years ago, all to summarily say, (to paraphrase), too bad, so sad).

I’m hopeful of a positive outcome for my client.