The recent investigative series in The Toronto Star sheds light to the often illegal practices of hiring and exploitative working conditions of foreign ‘nannies’ in Canada. Part 1 details how nannies are lured into and trapped in bogus jobs or forced to work illegally while living and working in unacceptable conditions. According to the Star, “the popular federal Live-In Caregiver Program has become a nanny trap.” One Filipina caregiver recounts how her passport was taken away by a Toronto recruiter and how she ended up with 16 other unemployed Filipina caregivers sleeping on the floor of the recruiter’s basement “in custody, detention, imprisonment and incarceration, without proper food … harassed, frightened, scared.” Part 2 reveals how federal agencies fail to protect foreign caregivers. It seems there are serious gaps and sloppy practices in the two federal departments who are supposed to be overseeing the Live-in Caregiver Program. The Star notes that ” federal offices have made questionable approvals of applications from nanny recruitment agencies.” What the two-part series doesn’t discuss are the reasons why Filipina women are compelled to leave their homes, families and country behind.
Ok, if all the news and stories of increased poverty and social suffering, exploitation of workers, dispossession of peoples from their lands, laid-off people, collapsing ecosystems haven’t convinced you yet, here’s finally a reason to rethink your values: “Growth in materialism is taking a toll on mental wellbeing.” A recent book The Selfish Capitalist – Origins of Affluenza by Oliver James argues, based on WHO studies, that selfish capitalism has resulted in a startling increase of mental illness in both children and adults since the 1970s. And those suffering most are, for some reason, the Anglos, or the English-speaking capitalist nations.