Filipina live-in caregivers in Canada: migrants' rights and labor issues (a policy analysis)


University of British Columbia

Date Issued


Document Type



Master of Laws - LLM




Asian women make up the fastest growing category of the world's population of migrant workers. The thesis examines labor and immigration policies of Canada as a host country for Filipino women migrant workers. It also determines how Canada's working environment for Filipino women migrant workers is mapped out. The thesis is anchored on three major concerns. The first is an analysis of the Philippines as a leading labor exporting country. The thesis expounds on the state mechanisms promoting labor exportation and the corresponding problems that ensue. It is argued that a majority of the problems of labor migration from the Philippines can be attributed to the inadequate policies and laws of the government in the 1970s when labor export first flourished. The second area of concern is a situation analysis of the Filipina migrant workers who come to Canada to work as live-in caregivers. This discussion is focused on Canada's general framework of immigration laws, foreign worker policies and the pertinent provincial labor laws of British Columbia. It analyzes how these pieces of legislation have been shaped by Canada's national policies. The thesis argues that Canada's regulations restricting the rights of foreign domestic workers and the marginalization of their social mobility and status reflect the unequal relationship between the host and the sending countries. The third and most important concern is a policy analysis of the Live-In Caregiver Program vis-a-vis migrants' rights and labor issues. The thesis argues that Canada, through the continuation of the Live-In Caregiver Program, provides Filipino domestic workers inequitable working conditions. It is argued that since Canada is an international forerunner in championing human rights, it becomes anachronistic that a cluster of the country's immigration policies continue to advocate indentured form of labor. Canada is in a unique position, both as a traditional immigrants' country and as an international player, to blaze the trail for international recognition of migrant workers' rights. Canada must eliminate the double standards in the Live-In Caregiver Program vis-a-vis the general immigration policies. Therefore, it is argued that in order to maintain the high marks it has been receiving at the international level, Canada must eliminate two requirements of the Live-In Caregiver Program: First, the two-year live-in requirement and second, the temporary migrant status of live-in caregivers upon initial entry to Canada. Live-in work must be optional and not subject to the granting of permanent residence status. To preserve it international reputation, Canada must also make reforms on the international level by ratifying and implementing international conventions.


Caregivers, Live-in -- Employment -- Canada.; Alien labor -- Civil rights.

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