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A live-in caregiver originally from Uganda is suing a Brampton woman for $195,000 in back pay and damages after only being paid $100 per month for two years of 16-hour days since March 2008, when she came to Canada.
The woman had a contract with her employer for $427.50 per week in pay minus a bit for room and board, and was also supposed to be paid $17 per hour in overtime. However, she as only paid $100 per month no matter how much she worked, which is about twice what the average person makes in Uganda per month. This explains why she didn’t realize she was being treated unfairly, even when her passport and work permit were taken away from her. She also wasn’t allowed to use the phone and was fired without explanation in March of 2010.
With no friends or family in Canada, the woman had to stay at a women’s shelter after being fired. Constantly facing threats of being reported to immigration officials, the woman was too afraid to speak up because she feared being deported and needed her two years of work before being able to apply for permanent residency.
This case highlights the importance of changes to the live-in caregiver program, even though there were new rules already introduced in April of 2010.
Initially, there was much concern over the fact that the nannies could take advantage of the employers, because Canadians had little recourse against nannies who used them to get into Canada and didn’t end up working for them. These rules were supposed to create air-tight contracts for the nannies. However, cases like this reflect the necessity of these new rules – but there is room for improvement: one aspect of the program that has still not changed is that nannies must live with their employer.
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