Filipinos struggling to meet requirements to qualify for caregiver program in Canada

SURREY, British Columbia — It was a rare opportunity for these kababayans to be heard by Scarborough member of parliament, Salma Zahid.

Zahid, who sponsored the motion declaring June as Filipino heritage month last year, also worked on the new pilot programs for caregivers in Canada.

One of their concerns the language score required for eligibility in the program.

A minimum score of 5 on the Canadian language benchmark for reading, writing, speaking and listening.

“It’s a big burden for them to be able to pass that IELTS? Is there any other option for them basing on what they can do because all of us has a different level of understanding and intelligence. I hope govt will give us many options in completing those requirements,” says Lina Vargas.

“Meron kaming na-meet na mga caregivers who took the exam 6, 7, 10 times and then yung iba nag tinututor na namin,” said Boots Estella. “Kung ang ginawa mo lang is to take care of people and suddenly you come to Canada and you have this requirement, its very scary.”

“We have met caregivers who took the exam six to seven times, and the others we would tutor. If all you’ve done is to take care of people and suddenly you come to Canada and you have this requirement, it’s very scary.”

But there is a reason why such requirements are in place.

“Sometimes there are communication barriers and kids can’t really talk to their nannies or the seniors who caregivers are serving can’t communicate. That’s why there are certain language requirements, so communication is more open.”

Still, advocate groups were encouraged to write to their MP’s and speak up.

If many groups bring the issue forward, Zahid says that the government is willing to listen.

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