Jul 17, 2024

June 2024 — In 1979 my college friend Fely Villasin (see Outstanding Filipinos in Canada for 2021) organized  domestic workers in Toronto. Joining with other Filipino women who considered Canada’s Foreign Domestic Movement program prejudiced and unfair to women, they formed INTERCEDE.  Their main goal was to fight for landed status for domestic workers.  Soon they expanded their activities to other parts of Canada. In Vancouver they partnered with CDWCR (Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights).

In 2000, Fely asked me to help CDWCR  and introduced me to Cenen Bagon, one of CDWCR founders which began in 1992. CDWCR provides support to caregivers through counseling, lobbying, and information dissemination.  For over 20 years now, I’ve been helping CDWCR  with fundraising  for  their workshop series on  the  rights and responsibilities of caregivers in Canada, plus first aid,  CPR,  childcare, eldercare, personal financing, and planning for the future – after completing the terms of the live-in caregivers  program.

Like INTERCEDE, CDWCR’s goal was also to achieve landed status for caregivers on arrival.  To this end, we  attended rallies and marches demanding  PR status for caregivers on International Women’s Day,   collected  signatures for a petition for landed status,  and  sent  a letter to  PM Justine Trudeau (reprinted in this issue) appealing to his sense of justice for landed  status for migrant caregivers.

Finally, after countless broken Filipino families, and more than 50 years of appealing, begging, beseeching, demanding, explaining, lobbying, marching, petitioning, praying, protesting, writing, etc. one of our major demands was answered. On June 3, 2024, IRC minister Marc Miller granted Landed status on arrival for caregivers.  Sadly Fely Vilasin did not live long enough to see this blessed day.

Eleanor R. Laquian 
For the Canadian Filipino.Net Editorial Board