Bill C-690: The Live-in Caregiver Access, Respect and Employment Act

On June 11, 2015, John McCallum, the Member of Parliament for Markham — Unionville, and a member of the Liberal caucus, introduced Bill C-690, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (live-in caregiver). Its short form is the Live-in Caregiver Access, Respect and Employment Act.  Considering how close Mr. McCallum introduced Bill C-690 prior to the upcoming federal election, Bill C-690’s provisions will presumably form part of the Liberal Party of Canada‘s election platform.

Bill C-690 is short, and its substantive portion would introduce a new s. 32(d.11) into the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”) so that s. 32 of IRPA would read:

Regulations

32. The regulations may provide for any matter relating to the application of sections 27 to 31, may define, for the purposes of this Act, the terms used in those sections, and may include provisions respecting

(d) the conditions that must or may be imposed, varied or cancelled, individually or by class, on permanent residents and foreign nationals, including conditions respecting work or study;

(d.1) the conditions that must or may be imposed, individually or by class, on individuals and entities — including employers and educational institutions — in respect of permanent residents and foreign nationals, or that must or may be varied or cancelled;

(d.11) for the purposes of paragraph (d.1), the restriction of the right to enter into an employment contract with a foreign national who is a member of the live-in caregiver class to entities authorized to do so by permit, and the issuance, renewal and revocation of such permits;

The summary for Bill C-690 states:

This enactment amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to provide for the making of regulations requiring that the employer of a foreign national who is a member of the live-in caregiver class be an entity holding a permit authorizing it to enter into an employment contract with such a foreign national.

In a press release, Mr. McCallum stated:

C-690 shifts the employment of caregivers from individual families to these private caregiver agencies. This means that caregivers in an abusive situation do not have to fear for their employment if they report abuse and families no longer need to navigate the bureaucratic temporary foreign worker system, instead they can focus on finding the right caregiver for their family.

Further, with only a few dozen employers of caregivers instead of tens of thousands of individual families, the government can closely regulate and monitor the hiring of caregivers.

Given how short Bill C-690 is, and how much of its substantive changes would be implemented through amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, rather than IRPA, it is difficult for me to comment.  I would accordingly be extremely grateful if anyone in the Liberal Party of Canada, or any stakeholders who know more about Bill C-690, could answer the following five questions:

  1. Under this scheme who would be responsible for conducting recruitment and applying for Labour Market Impact Assessments to hire caregivers? If it is the agency, then how will the Government of Canada ensure that families have first exhausted the domestic labour market before seeking a foreign caregiver?
  2. The Conservative Government of Canada recently amended IRPR to allow the Ministry of Employment and Social Development to conduct audits of caregivers, including the ability to compel attendance at interviews, and in certain cases inspect residential dwellings with a warrant.  Will Bill C-690 shift this responsibility to employment agencies?
  3. For the purpose of demonstrating employment experience under the Caregiver Class, who will write the reference letters? Families or the agencies?
  4. Bill C-690 only refers to Live-in Caregivers, while Mr. McCallum’s press release refers to all caregivers.  Is Bill C-690 intended to be broader than what it currently says?
  5. How does introducing of a middle agency allow the government to more closely regulate and monitor the hiring of caregivers?