First Filipina member of the legislative assembly of B.C. celebrates 10th year in office, focused on workers rights

VANCOUVER — The protection of domestic workers’ rights remained center-stage — as Mable Elmore, the first Filipino-Canadian member of the legislative assembly of B.C., celebrated her tenth anniversary in office.
Fil-Am domestic workers’ rights advocate Aquilina Soriano Versoza was Elmore’s guest at her celebration.
The California-based Versoza said many domestic workers in the U.S. remain undocumented, overworked and underpaid. She added that their isolation makes them defenseless against abuse.
“By their not having status, it makes them even more vulnerable to exploitation. So we need to actually recognize that they’re doing really important work for the United States, and that they should actually be given visas and working authorization.”
Versoza took note of Canada’s model of family reunification and universal health care — which she believes the U.S. can adopt so they can take better care of their domestic workers.
“It’s really great here in Canada that you know they’ve been working to take care of their visas where family members can come at the same and that’s a model for us in the United States. We need to have something, we need to fight for something like that as well.”
Much like Versoza, Elmore has also championed the rights of caregivers and temporary foreign workers in her ten-year stint as MLA.
“I’m so proud that BC has the strongest legislation protecting temporary foreign workers. We have the TFW Protection Act. So I’m very proud of all that and I’m very happy now that the province has made a commitment to $10 a day childcare, and also a commitment to bring in a poverty reduction plan.”
Elmore credited her success to the strong support from her team and from Filipino-Canadians.
She lamented though, that despite being the third biggest ethnic group in Canada, Filipinos continue to be underrepresented in Canadian politics.
Civic leader Narima Dela Cruz said many Filipino Canadians have already become more actively involved in public life — but she admitted that getting more Filipinos elected is something that the community still has to work on.
“We need to encourage the younger ones. The younger ones have better chances than us in the older generation.”

Elmore’s 10th-year celebration also kicked off her fund-raising for her re-election bid to British Columbia’s provincial legislature.

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