How having an opinion can get you in trouble.


Here is a copy of a Facebook conversation I had with a friend of mine who has run for the Conservative party municipally and Provincially.  He posted that he will was invited to a dinner event with Immigration minister Jason Kenney, who I just posted about due to my concerns with the recent changes to the live-in caregiver program.
 
I congratulated my friend of over 20 years and asked him to get some information for me.  Now looking back, and knowing my friend, there was no way he would just up and question the minister, however if he had a moment, I guarantee he would ask for me.
 
Someone saw this exchange and must have thought I was criticizing my friend, or the progress being made by this government – which I kind of am doing – and below is a transcript of the conversation.
 
Urbandaddy: Awesome, Mike Yen. Can you ask Jason what he’s doing with the Canadian Live-in Caregiver program? He’s messing up the agencies and the nannies already in it. He’s causing headaches for the employers too. I posted a couple in-depth blog posts you can refer to @ www.urbandaddy.wordpress.com, if you’d like.

urbandaddy.wordpress.com
 
Person: Urban Daddy, you’re little unfair to the minister.. and also mike, by not completely briefing mike prior to meeting Jason kenny.First off you make no reference ( in your blog ) to ” why ” the new changes have been made. Nor do you offer any history into the amount of abuse that was bestowed, under the old rules.There are very good reason’s for the change.Caregivers now have 4 years to get in two years employment,( or equivalent hours ) up from 3 years. This was done, to allow the employee freedom, and not be locked into miserable jobs because of a calendar. Under Minister Kenny, a hot-line has been set up “just for caregivers” working / living in abusive situations… no other minister had done this before.

Clamping down of unscrupulous agents and consultants has been a great accomplishment by Minister Kenny. Maybe a blog on that topic would shine some light on the other side of the fence. And then another one or to on the “abuses of authority” employers rein down on some of these woman.

And of course the wait time to be processed is going to be longer.. more people are applying for the PR, and of course the process time to get here will be longer, more people are applying to come here.

Over the last 5-7 years, there has been a popular and very lucrative and in many cases, unscrupulous, industry created around ( primarily ) Filipinas coming to Canada via Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai. Again, this explains the extended wait times.

In my experience, the only ones that are “really upset” with the minster’s new rules, are those that are attempting to live off the avails of caregivers. See consultants and agents above.

To send Mike at the minister, using only the info in your blog, could very well be an embarrassment to him.

Jason Kenny has done a great job with the changes. They are not perfect, but the door has been slammed on the bastards that were using and abusing the caregivers. And for that, he gets my full respect.

 
Urban Daddy: Hi.  I don’t think I’m being unfair to Mike at all, actually. I’ve known him for over 20 years personally and Mike would never just read what I’m writing and speak to the Minister on that. I was hoping that if he knew him and had a moment to ask him about where the government is going on this he would. Mike’s a pretty strategic fellow. And as for my views on the program, I’m coming at it from a very honest straightforward view. I worked in government, and I’ve employed nannies (still do). Going through the process for me was a little more difficult because it had to be even more by the book. While I understand there has been some corruption in the program, I have never seen it personally, so I’m looking out for the honest folks, like myself, the agency that helped us on 3 occasions and the wonderful woman who have helped take care of my children.
 
– I’ll saw here that a lot of what this person said was legitimate, however, had he read any of my 3 blog posts on this topic he would know that not only do I have the government experience, and I’ve sponsored 3 nannies and helped them all go through the program, complete their paperwork and get jobs after, but I have also sent my posts to an amazing nanny agency called Wee Care here in Toronto to vete my thoughts to ensure they are not biased.  This agency is about as legit as you can get and just for doing business they are required to jump through hoops. 
 
I’m all for getting the bad guys but let’s not lose sight of the fact that not everyone is a bad guy.  Good guys can complain too about process / procedures because they make little sense.  Those trying to cheat the system will do so regardless of what obstacles are in front of them,.  So why make the honest guys suffer.  My kids current nanny is this petit sweet very Christian girl who just wants to get her residency so she can get her career moving and help her family back home.  She wants to run a business here and upgrade her education.  To do so, she needs her residency but until that time she can’t even take courses.  She’s devoted 4 years of her life to this country and in return she is asked to wait an additional 18 months to get her residency.  If the minister really wanted to be fair to everyone, he’d grandfather (grandmother) the current group and start fresh with the next lot.
 
Back to the discussion –
 
  • Person: Urban Daddy, my wife is a Filipina, that came into this country through the caregiver program.. I have met many caregivers, and only one, has had what I’d consider a really good employer. By that I mean her employer stuck to the duties spelled out clearly on the contract.Caregivers are not dog walkers, snow removers, lawn cutters, house painters, furniture movers, car washers, gardeners ( read: weed pullers ) etc. However, most, almost all, are called upon to perform many of the tasks I’ve noted. Employers are getting all those services for min wage. If they were to pay the caregivers market value for those extra tasks, ok, then that would / could be acceptable.. but that is not the case.What Minster Kenny has set up, is a system whereby, caregivers can now leave their slave-driving employers, with no penalty to themselves. This is a great change.

    I agree with you, there are a few good agencies. Just a few. The new guide lines, are closing down the exploiters very quickly. I just heard of another one tonight.

    The new wait times are longer. I know this can be frustrating.
    But there are more than enough here, that will accept part-time, until the other caregiver arrives. We’re currently waiting for my brother in-law to arrive from Dubai. There’s a job waiting for him when he arrives, and until then it is being filled by a woman with a PR Card. She’s aware of the temporary nature of the job. Plus, she’ll be working there on the weekends when he’s with us. And of course, under the new guidelines ( as I’m sure you’re aware ) no fee’s are being charged to the employee, for the job.

    I really think it’s noble how you care for your employee’s future here in Canada. I also believe we have a great guy ( Minster Kenny ) steering the ship.

    Whenever I get frustrated at the new rules, ( that my brother in-law is experiencing ) I just think of the added protection to the caregivers.

Again I appreciate that this is his view, however, now in over 6 years of employing caregivers and having many at our house, often, I cannot say that I have ever seen this.  I have not heard of, nor would I ever ask an employee – nanny or tax staff – to do something not in their contact.  Again I think each person sees different things or gets asked different things.  I’ve been asked if nannies are allowed to go out at night, or if they are on call 24/7 and yes, I have set people straight.  How else do people learn. 
 
I like some of the changes to reduce nanny abuse and require them to be treated equally under the law as a regular employee but to up the costs to employers and make life difficult and expensive for potential employers tells me the minister is trying to make this program available only to the rich and I have problems with that since it’s usually the middle class who need the live-in caregivers so both parents can work as it’s a cheaper option that a live-out caregiver.
 
All I wanted from the minister was answers… Where is he going with the program.  I ended the conversation this way: It looks like we both pretty much see things the same way. Happy to see corruption kept out of the program and let the legit businesses run properly and help those fantastic workers do their stuff and come to be productive Canadians. Pleasure having this discussion with you. I’ve learned a lot. Cheers.
 
What are your thoughts?  If you comment and you have either a nanny or an agency, please disclose.
 
Thanks!
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4 thoughts on “How having an opinion can get you in trouble.

  1. mamasnotes December 7, 2011 / 11:38

    They obviously have seen another side to the program. Personally I liked reading both views as a person who has been on the fence re a live in nanny it was a good perspective for me.

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  2. Mindy December 7, 2011 / 14:20

    We’ve never had a live in nanny, we’ve only had live out. However, I know a lot of people who have live in nannies and over the past few years, we’ve had a few women who work as live in caregivers during the week do cleaning for us on the weekends. I think the people who treat their nannies well, don’t force them to work outrageous hours and pay them reasonably are very much in the minority. I have a lot of friends who I consider to be good, kind people who tell me that their nannies work 12 hour days and that you don’t have to give them overtime pay. I have friends who tell me how much they pay their nannies and I am absolutely shocked by how little it is. I also know people who expected their employers to give them a one year mat leave when they became pregnant but think nothing of terminating their nanny when they become pregnant. I know that you treat your nanny well but most people don’t.

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  3. Mindy December 9, 2011 / 23:54

    in case there are any nannies coming to this page who are being mistreated, here is some information about your rights. In Ontario, your work relationship is covered by the employment standards act. This means that the parts of the Employment Standards Act relating to hours of work, breaks, overtime pay and termination pay apply to you. if your rights under the employment standards act have been breached, you can file a claim for compensation. For more information about the employment standards act, check out this website: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/. information about filing a claim; http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pubs/claim/index.php

    if you think your human rights have been violated, for example, you were terminated or harassed because you became pregnant or took a maternity leave or you were harassed or terminated because of a disability , you may have recourse under the human rights code. For information about filing a human rights claim in ontario, check http://www.hrlsc.on.ca. if you call the number for the hrlsc you can call the intake line and get a sense of what assistance we might the hrlsc might be able to provide for you. services can range from legal advise to representation at a mediaion nor hearing.

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  4. irnldy December 17, 2011 / 11:25

    I’m afraid I must agree with the nanny abuse charges. People I know to be otherwise kind and caring treat their nannies as human chattel. I know nannies who are being forced to work 6 and half days a week, let off on Sunday mornings for church, and then right back. I know of one nanny who was fired because she had the audacity to believe that when she got off at 7 she had the right to go and meet her friends at a Country Style for coffee, and then returned at 9 to find her employer livid. We ourselves hired our wonderful (now ex) nanny when she had not been payed by her employers for over 4 months, and they have never made their mandatory contributions on her behalf, telling her it should come from her own take home salary which was less than what she should have been taking home (they gave her 1000 a month for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week). She was given the job of priming and painting the entire house, washing their cars, mowing their grass, and weeding the garden, on top of her non-stop childcare/maid duties. She cleaned the entire house to bottom, all laundry, and all cooking. Again, an otherwise normal seeming family. When we switched the caregiver agreement to us (which took months to do) we had to pay into her contributions as though we were her last employer, trusting them to deposit the money, instead they ripped us all off and pocketed it. She still does not have her family here due to the gaps in her employment and despite living and working here for 5 years. She has told us repeatedly that we are one of the few employers she knows of from her many friends who did not abuse their nanny in some way.

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