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.
Recently the Sami News had a story about a beauty contest to be organized by several Finno-Ugric organizations and bodies. The contest is for “Finno-Ugric girls” and it’s called the Northern Star 2009. The final contest will be held in next March in Syktyvkar, Komi Republic and it’s open to those Finno-Ugric ‘girls’ who have won ethnic beauty contests in their local areas in 2008. The website for the contest was only in Russian so I wasn’t able to find more information about it.