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Jun 02nd
Home Sections Health and Medicine Filipino Caregivers in Canada Get Split Ruling
Filipino Caregivers in Canada Get Split Ruling PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Health and Medicine
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 18:19



(© 2013 Fil Am Extra Exchange) 


C HICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – The seven Filipino Live-in Caregivers (LIC’s) in Montreal, Quebec in Canada were allowed to have an English-Tagalog interpreter but not a flexible schedule for interrogation.


Legal advocate Me Heidy Melissa Arango, in an email to this reporter, said Quebec Superior Court Judge Carole Hallee of the Montreal Courthouse at 1 Notre Dame East allowed the plaintiffs LIC’s to exercise their right to have their own English-Tagalog interpreter “but they had to pay the costs.”


Ms. Arango said, “I am very disappointed (with the ruling) but that will not keep us from fighting.”


On the other hand, Evelyn Mondonedo, past president of PINAY, a Filipina human rights group in Montreal, who is one of the witnesses in the case, said Judge Hallee set aside the argument of the plaintiffs LIC’s to give them weekend schedules for interrogation. Hallee said the LIC’s will be interrogated only during weekdays, saying never in her “practice that she ever heard the court catered to any plaintiff or defendant on the time and dates of their convenience.”


On the matter of interpreter, Ms. Mondonedo added the judge said interpreters are provided only in criminal cases free of charge if requested by parties. She rejoiced, however, when her group found an “interpreter, who accepted our offer, from people who live below the poverty line.”




J udge Hallee issued the split ruling last Monday, Feb. 11, when the LIC’s and PINAY challenged the subpoenas against them by the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission they are suing for $90,000 for mishandling their complaint during the last three years.


The Commission issued the LIC’s subpoenas to compel them to appear before the Commission for cross-examination. But the LIC’s challenged the subpoenas before the Quebec Superior Court, saying because of the rigors of their schedules, they would not be able to attend weekday schedules but weekends and they needed Tagalog-English interpreters.


Mondonedo said out of the seven women and PINAY, there were already three LIC’s who testified. There are four more women, who will be interrogated.


“The interrogation was stressful for all of us. But at least, we already have an idea when it is time for us to testify in the actual court hearing. One step at a time. We are learning so many things. Hopefully, no other plaintiff will give up on this case.” Mondonedo added.


Their court appearance follows a ruling last October handed down by Superior Court of Quebec Justice Thomas Davis, denying the motion to dismiss filed by the Commission against the Filipina caregivers.

In supporting the group, Justice Davis recognized the circumstances in this case that justified the delay of two months when the group filed their motion for Judicial Review.
Davis also highlighted the importance of this case and its potential for justice to the present and the future LIC

In their motion for judicial review, the Filipino women asked the Superior Court to review in June 2012 the Commission’s dismissal of PINAYs complaint originally filed in May 2009 for discrimination, harassment and exploitation in employment, housing and immigration against John Aurora, a West Island, Quebec immigration consultant, who hired them, but had died in September 2009.


As a result of numerous errors of fact and law committed by the Commission during a three-year investigation, Pinay and the seven of the original 26 victims asked the Superior Court to reverse the Commission’s decision and remand the case back to the Commission for reinvestigation. Two weeks ago, the Commission sought to interrogate all seven individual plaintiffs and Evelyn Mondonedo, past President of PINAY, for two days in mid-February as part of the preparation of its defense.

The women requested for a flexible schedule to accommodate their rigid work schedules so they can avoid the risk of losing their jobs. They proposed an after-work hours or weekend hours for interrogation. They also requested for a Tagalog-English interpreter since the women are more fluent in Tagalog than in English. Only Ms. Mondonedo, a registered nurse, can face an English interrogation.

The Commission, however, refused the request for scheduling accommodation regardless of the prejudice that might cause these women and had remained silent on the women’s request for interpreter.

Since two weeks ago, each of the women received a subpoena to appear on Friday, Feb. 15, for interrogation. This prompted the women to file a motion to challenge the Commission’s subpoenas and insist on their constitutional right to an interpreter by invoking Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. # # #


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