For the Record – Defining domestic work in Canada among Philippine immigrants

Michelle de Leon / November 14, 2019

Phebe Ferrer (Right) is a Philippine National working to get her permanent residency in Canada.

(Phebe Ferrer / Facebook)

Filipinos make up the third largest Asian-Canadian group in the country, as of the 2016 Canadian Consensus.

Phebe Ferrer, a recent M.A. graduate of UBC and a researcher for Asia-Canada trade relations, says the Philippines is quite well known for being a country of emigration – meaning people are always constantly leaving the country.

The push for Philippine immigration goes back to the 1970’s when former president, Ferdinand Marcos, systemized emigration of Filipinos to countries in the Middle East and to the west.

With the Philippine government intentionally pushing out labour work forces, there was an influx of Filipino contract workers in Canada.

“This comes as no surprise because Canada is a major destination of many Philippine migrants and domestic work is a popular way for people, particularly (Filipina) women to come into the country.” Phebe Ferrer, M.A. Political Science, University of British Columbia

Colloquially, leaving the Philippines is an aspiration that most people have, which Ferrer describes to be a complicated feeling.

One of the ways Philippine immigrants find work is through the live-in caregiver program.

Ferrer explains that the program was designed so that after two years of full time experience with your employer, you can eventually apply for permanent residency and sponsor your children and other dependants to come to Canada.

It’s because of the pathway to PR that makes it so popular. It makes it a successful way for people to immigrate to Canada. – Phebe Ferrer, M.A. Political Science, University of British Columbia

However, as of 2014, the live-in caregiver program began to change slightly and eventually the program stopped accepting applications all together.

Ferrer says this left many domestic workers wondering how they will be able to get into the country with their family.

Phebe’s thesis is a story of remittances, the money that migrants send back to their families, send back to their home country.

(Phebe Ferrer / Facebook)

To learn more about the live-in caregiver program and subjects on immigration and the Philippines, listen to the full interview down below.