Marites Navarro

Filipino Caregivers in Toronto: Growing Networks of Support

When Marites moved to Toronto, she sought support from family and other women living and working in similar situations.

When she came to Canada in the late 1980s, Filipino immigration was high and Filipino caregivers in Toronto today still form quite a visible community. Due to the high levels of migration from the Philippines, more formalized networks of support have formed to advocate for migrant workers.

The organizations representing Filipino live-in caregivers in Canada differ in size and have their own histories, priorities, and tactics. The National Alliance of Philippine Women (NAPWC), The Caregivers’ Action Centre and the Philippine Women’s Centre are just a few examples of community-based organizations advocating for live-in caregivers.

In 2014 the CIC announced significant reforms to the LCP. Caregivers can now choose between two new pathways to permanent residence for caregivers. Migrant workers who opt to follow one of these pathways are not required to live in the home of their employer to qualify for permanent residency, something that community advocates have been asking for. Though this policy change is the result of a series of closed-door consultations which excluded migrant advocates, this improvement can still be perceived as the government’s attempt to address continued pressure from different Filipino-Canadian organizations.


What role should community-based organizations play in the development of policy?

How can the voices of migrant workers be privileged in conversations and decisions that affect the development of policy?

Formed in 2002 as a mechanism for national coordination for education, research, advocacy and capacity building to address the priority areas for the Filipino-Canadian community’s participation. It unites and guides the works of the Philippine Women Centre in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

Established in 2007 in Toronto as a grassroots organization of live-in caregivers, former caregivers, newcomers, and allies. It is an active community of caregivers supporting each other and aims to inform caregivers about their rights at work. They are currently attempting to work with other small organizations to achieve common goals focused on the needs of live-in caregivers. (Coloma et al., 2012, p. 173)

A community-based organization formed in 2000. Its program of educating, organizing and mobilizing Filipino Canadian women, alongside the broader community, aims to combat systemic racism, overcome economic marginalization, and enhance Filipino women’s rights. Working with academic scholars, one of its goals is to support social advocates by documenting the challenges of the Filipino community.

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