VANCOUVER, Canada - Canada has ordered the removal of a Filipino caregiver who has been working illegally in the country for almost five years.
Marjorie Gaceta spent her last Labor Day in Canada behind bars.
While Canadian workers marched around downtown Vancouver to mark Labor Day, Gaceta was getting ready to leave the country she had called home since 2014.
Last week, officers of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) arrested, detained then brought her before an immigration judge for sentencing.
“Nung siya’y nahuli, nagpapadala siya sa isang remittance agency at nong tumalikod daw siya ay nandoon na yung CBSA. So dinetain na siya agad,” said Julie Diesta, a caregiver rights’ advocate.
(She was sending money at a remittance agency when she was arrested. She was detained immediately.)
Diesta said her group only heard of Gaceta’s case less than a month ago.
Gaceta told them that her employer asked her to leave when she refused to take care of her employer’s young wards.
They originally hired her to look after an elderly ward with high medical needs.
“Nagalit daw 'yung employer. Ang sabi ay umalis ka na lang kung ayaw mong magtrabaho. So magmula noon ay umalis siya dahil hindi na maganda ang kanilang relasyon,” said Diesta.
(Her employer got mad at her and told her to leave if she doesn’t want to work. She left since their relationship was already strained.)
Gaceta was forced to work underground to support her children and cancer-stricken husband. He died two months after she came to Canada.
When her work permit expired, she went to different groups for help but nothing came of it.
Despite lacking proper papers, she still continued to work because of her children.
After nearly five years working illegally, the CBSA caught her. But the judge reconsidered and instead handed out the less harsh "exclusion order" which will make it possible for her to go back to Canada after one year.
Diesta, meanwhile, appealed to other caregivers who have gone underground.
“Huwag mag-violate kung anuman ang regulasyon. Ang aming call is for them to come as landed status pero habang hindi pa 'yun nandiyaan ay talagang kailangang sumunod sa batas,” she said.
(Do not violate any regulation. Our call is for them to come as landed status but while they don't have that yet, follow the law.)
On Wednesday night, authorities escorted Gaceta to the airport for her flight back to the Philippines.
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