March 25, 2009

Juana Tejada and the Live-in Caregivers' fight in Canada

The story of Juana Tejada may pave the way to the amendment of Canada's Live in Caregiver Program (LCP), particularly the two step medical screening requirement. Under this program, applicant has to pass a medical examination to get a Temporary Resident Visa/Work Permit and another test when applying for permanent residence after two years of service. Persons with medical condition that might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demands on health or social services are considered inadmissible.

On June 2003, Juana Tejada arrived in Canada as a live-in caregiver. Two years after, she filed an application for permanent residence and was granted an open work permit by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada. She was required to undergo medical screening prior to granting the permanent resident status. But it turned out that she had a stage IV colon cancer, thus, her application was refused.

This is where Juana Tejada's battle started.

Juana Tejada made an appeal citing humanitarian and compassionate consideration but was refused again. Citizenship and Immigration Canada later on acknowledged a procedural error on their part and her case was re-opened.

An online petition initiated by Mila and Oswald Magno reached the office of Prime Minister Harper and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Juana Tejada

Migrante - Ontario and the coalition that was formed to demand justice for Juana Tejada organized a picket rally in front of Citizenship and Immigration Canada's office in support of her. More pictures here.

Juana Tejada won the legal battle through the help of lawyer, Rafael Fabregas, and was granted a permanent resident status last year. She continued to advocate for the changes in the live-in caregiver program. Unfortunately, she lost the fight against cancer on March 8, 2009. She is considered a hero by her fellow live-in caregivers and other migrant workers.

The battle of caregivers and other migrant workers in Canada continues.