New Brunswick

Foreign worker changes leave Moncton senior scrambling for help

Some temporary foreign workers in New Brunswick face deportation on April 1 and in some cases that will result in employers being forced to hire new temporary foreign workers to replace the ones being sent home.

New federal rules for temporary foreign workers program take effect April 1

Some temporary foreign workers in New Brunswick face deportation on April 1 because of changes the federal government has made to the program to ensure Canadians get first crack at jobs.

In some cases, that will result in employers being forced to hire new temporary foreign workers to replace the ones being sent home.

Rupert Tingley had to turn to the temporary foreign workers program to find a replacement for his home care worker, who faces deportation to the Phillippines after changes to the program. (David Bartlett / CBC)
Nora Almazan came to New Brunswick from the Philippines in 2009 and works as a live-in homecare worker for 90-year-old Rupert Tingley in Moncton.

Almazan lives in Tingley's home, helps him with his medication, mobility issues and drives him where he needs to go.

She sends most of her earnings back to the Philippines where her husband still lives with their three children who are in university and college.

When Tingley found out Almazan had to leave, he asked her to help him find her own replacement. More than a month passed without any applicants for the homecare position, so Tingley has had to apply to Ottawa to hire another temporary foreign worker.

"It doesn't make much sense to send one lady home who has proven herself in Canada and bring another lady in," said Tingley.

Nora Almazan faces deportation April 1 after changes to the temporary foreign workers program. (David Bartlett / CBC)
"It seems rather ridiculous to send somebody home, who has been a good citizen and an excellent worker," he said. "I'm sure the time will come (when) the lady who's coming will be as efficient as Nora but there's a long training process that I could live without."

Moncton lawyer Nicole Druckman has been trying to find a way for Almazan to remain in Canada, but without success.

"We've explored many avenues and all possible avenues for her to be able to obtain permanent residences to no avail," said Druckman. "There are just no paths for her."

"And the government clearly said that the rule came into effect as they wanted workers and employers to explore appropriate pathways for permanent residence, but there's none for Nora. So it's very sad."

Druckman says she understands the government made the changes to address the problem of the program being used for permanent hiring of cheap labour by some companies.

However she says instead of making a blanket rule applying to temporary foreign workers who have been in the country for four years, the government should have studied which fields have a need for foreign workers and made selective changes.

"The problem is, it's the government itself that allowed this to happen," said Druckman. "To go and try to change it in this manner is completely radical and unfair."

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