Remembering Juana Tejada

Today CPSO remembers the passing of Juana Tejada, the Filipino caregiver who campaigned for overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) and immigrants’ rights in Canada even while waging a fight against cancer, on this date in 2009. Through her struggle a campaign was launched resulting in reforms to to the Canadian live-in caregiver program called “Tejada’s Law.”

Tejada came to Canada in 2003 as a caregiver under the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). Like all immigrants to Canada Juana had to pass an initial medical examination, and had finished the requirements to apply for landed immigrant status in 2006. However, during the required second medical examination it was discovered she had developed cancer while working in Canada and was turned down twice due to her health condition which made her a “burden to Canada’s health system.” This resulted in a loss of status for Tejada which meant her access to provincial health insurance was terminated and she was told to immediately leave Canada.

Juana Tejada refused to accept this blatant exploitation of her labour and dismissal of her basic humanity by the government of Canada. A grassroots campaign launched by various human rights groups such as Migrante, was successful in lobbying the government to allow her to stay on humanitarian grounds. Tejada however was not content with being granted special status and recognizing the similar plight of many OFWs in Canada and continued to agitate for the rights of all migrate workers. Although she passed away in 2009, her efforts along with many others succeeded in forcing the Canadian government to drop the second medication examination.

CPSO is inspired by courage of Juana Tejada as we stand with the people of the Philippines against the imperialist exploitation which manifests itself in the Labour Export Policy, implemented by the original Marcos and which continues to force many Filipinos such as Tejada, who first became an OFW in 1995, to leave their homes and families in search of work and a better life for their families.

#TejadasLaw #InternationaWorkingWomensDay #RegularizationForAll

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