Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Ontario law will protect Caregivers

By Ian Connerty, guest columnist

In the wake of the widely reported “nanny-gate” affair which saw Federal Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla get in trouble over the caregivers she hired to help her mother, the Ontario government has introduced legislation to protect the rights of the 21,000 people across the province who are part of the federal Live-In Caregiver Program.

The need for this legislation has long been promoted by Liberal backbencher and former Citizenship and Immigration Minister Mike Colle. He succeeded in convincing Premier McGuinty to go ahead with the new law, giving hope to backbenchers who are promoting other issues.

The new law will protect foreign nationals who are live-in caregivers by:

  • Prohibiting recruiters from charging fees to these employees;
  • Prohibiting recruitment fees or fees for related services, such as resume writing;
  • Preventing employers from recovering recruitment and placement costs from caregivers;
  • Prohibiting employers and recruiters from taking possession of a caregiver's personal documents, such as passports and work permits; and
  • Allowing live-in caregivers up to three and a half years to make a complaint - an increase from the current two year period under the Employment Standards Act.