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Child care, nannying, and race: What you need to know about migrant care work

A SYTYCB entry

This week, I received an email from SC. In this email, SC mentioned that because she knew of my “interest” in migrant workers rights, she wanted me to know that she is hiring a Filipina “nanny” through Canada’s Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) to help take care of their first-born kid. (Quick aside: the LCP is Canada’s official migrant domestic worker program, where Canadian families can hire women from overseas to work in their homes for a mandatory 48 month live-in period, followed by an additional 12 month period where the caregiver can opt not to live with the families who hired them. When their work contracts are done, live-in caregivers can apply for permanent residency and eventually, Canadian citizenship.  This opportunity is the carrot that draws a lot of live-in caregivers to Canada.) She then ended her email by saying that she wanted to cook a Filipino meal for when her “nanny” arrived and that she was wondering what I could suggest. (I’ve placed this in quotation marks because these were her terms; I prefer the use of the term ‘live-in caregiver’ because this is one of the semantic distinctions care work activists insist on to show pride for their work).

I had a visceral reaction to this email as various thoughts ran through my head. First thought: I had more than an “interest” in migrant workers rights. I have spent the better part of the last decade researching and advocating on behalf of migrant ...

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