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Minister Kenney Proposes Significant Improvements to the Live-in

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- 12/12/09 -- Citizenship,
Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today
proposed regulations to better protect the rights of live-in caregivers
and to make it easier for them and their families to obtain permanent
residence in Canada. The announcement follows extensive consultations
with caregiver groups from across the country, as well as heartfelt
testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship
and Immigration.

The first proposed change to the Live-in Caregiver Program
eliminates the requirement for live-in caregivers to undergo a second
medical examination when applying to become permanent residents, a
change advocated by the late Juana Tejada.




Ms. Tejada developed cancer while working as a live-in caregiver.
She was initially denied permanent resident status when she did not
pass her second medical examination. It was only through special
ministerial intervention that she gained status in Canada on
humanitarian and compassionate grounds.




"Our government fully supports the 'Juana Tejada Law.' We propose to
implement this change in her honour, to ensure that no one else has to
endure this same painful experience," said Minister Kenney.




Another proposed change will allow live-in caregivers who work
overtime to apply for permanent residence sooner. Currently, live-in
caregivers must work for two years within the first three years of
entry into the program before they can apply for permanent residence in
Canada. Unfortunately, events - such as pregnancies or loss of
employment - have resulted in some live-in caregivers not meeting the
two-year requirement.




Under the new measure, live-in caregivers would be eligible to apply
for permanent residence after 3,900 work hours - the equivalent of
working a standard work week for two years. Also, a portion of their
overtime hours could count toward the work requirement and enable
caregivers to apply for permanent residence sooner. Equally important,
these changes would also increase the time that live-in caregivers are
allowed to complete the work requirement from three to four years.




"These important changes help fulfil Canada's duty to those who care
for our young, our disabled and our elderly," Minister Kenney said.
"The Government of Canada is taking action to protect foreign workers
from potential abuse and exploitation."





The proposed regulations will also require employers of live-in caregivers to pay for:





- travel costs for live-in caregivers to come to Canada;




- medical insurance until live-in caregivers become eligible for provincial health coverage; and




- workplace safety insurance and any recruiting fees owed to third parties.



Under additional administrative changes to the program, employment
contracts will have to spell out these employer-paid benefits. They
will also have to include clauses clearly outlining job duties, hours
of work, overtime and holidays, sick leave, and termination and
resignation terms.




Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will work closely with
caregiver groups to improve information packages that live-in
caregivers receive before they leave for Canada. CIC will also set up a
dedicated live-in caregiver hotline. Emergency processing of work
permits and new authorization requests from employers to hire a live-in
caregiver will help caregivers when they need to change employers
urgently. Live-in caregivers will continue to be able to apply for
study permits when they want to take courses longer than six months;
they do not need study permits for shorter courses.




Today's announcement builds on recently proposed regulatory changes
to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Employers found to have
provided significantly different wages, working conditions or
occupations than they promised may be put on a blacklist making them
ineligible to hire a live-in caregiver for two years under the
Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Employers on this blacklist could be
identified on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website in order
to inform prospective and current temporary foreign workers of
ineligible employers.




The Live-in Caregiver Program helps Canadians recruit caregivers to
live and work in the homes of those they care for in order to provide
child care or support for seniors or people with disabilities. The
program facilitates the entry of qualified caregivers into Canada when
there is a shortage of Canadians or permanent residents to fill
available live-in caregiver positions. Because of Canada's ageing
population, the program is expected to grow in the years ahead. In
2008, Canada admitted 12,878 live-in caregivers.




The proposed changes to the Live-in Caregiver Program will be
published in the Canada Gazette on December 19 for a 30-day comment
period open to all Canadians. Final regulatory changes will be
published after this period.





For more information on the proposed regulatory amendments, consult the following: Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/laws-policy/rias_lcp.asp).



Contacts:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Minister's Office

Alykhan Velshi

Alykhan.Velshi@cic.gc.ca



Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Media Relations

Communications Branch

613-952-1650

CIC-Media-Relations@cic.gc.ca







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