Fernandes, 45, believes new federal regulations introduced last April have left Canadian employers more vulnerable to a relative handful of unscrupulous individuals who are using the caregiver program as a front to enter the country.
His nanny said she knew no one in Canada, which is why Fernandes was shocked to encounter a group of strangers at his door, claiming to be her relatives. They accused him of abuse and demanded she leave with them.
The situation ended with police in his hallway, asking his nanny if she had been mistreated.
"I told the cops, ‘I don’t know what’s going on,'" says Fernandes. "I didn’t want these problems, I’ve got two little kids."
His caregiver left a week later after her "relatives" showed up again. When Fernandes complained to immigration authorities and his MP, he was told it was between him and his caregiver.
"The sad thing is, bad people can get away with this," he said. "The government is doing nothing."
Confronted with an aging population and the soaring cost of daycare, Canadians who need help caring for their loved ones are turning more and more to the live-in caregiver program, which has its own specialized category within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
The caregiver program can lead to permanent residence for applicants who successfully complete 24 months or a total of 3,900 hours of authorized full-time employment.
The changes made by the Conservative government last year shifted more financial responsibility onto would-be employers to improve protections for caregivers.
As a result, employers are now required to pay for a caregiver's medical coverage, airfare, recruitment fees and health insurance — the bill usually totals between $3,000 to $4,000 — and agree to a contract outlining clear overtime provisions.
Successful applicants get a four-year work visa, but have no legal obligation to remain with the family that brought them in.
Immigrant caregivers should be categorized for what they really are which is temporary foreign workers. It should not be a backdoor into Canada and a path to permanent residency. They are typically dispossessed of any marketable job skills and have little intention of staying as caregivers once their permanent residency papers come through. Thus, the caregiver program accomplishes nothing more than to flood the Canadian job market with unskilled labour and their equally unneeded relatives. Like the refugee system, it is just another hole in the border undermining Canadian sovereignty.
Jason Kenney, in his immigrant vote buying foolishness, decided to make it easier for these individuals to get citizenship. The result has been a stronger incentive to cheat the system and abuse Canadians for a quick and easy ride into shopping mall Canada. If nothing is done about it, like removing the permanent residency carrot, then these kinds of abuse stories will come to characterize the live-in caregiver program.
Canadians could also, you know, raise their own children but I know that is asking for too much.