Mycah Panjaitan, York University; Jessica Ticar, York University; Ethel Tungohan, York University
In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Southeast Asian migrants, specifically Filipina migrant care workers in receiving countries such as Canada, have been impacted by experiences of insecurity around immigration, problems of mobility, and the devaluation of an “essential” service such as care work. Using Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology and photovoice methods, our project examines the experiences of Filipina care workers in Canada during COVID-19 in the areas of their work, home, and personal lives. This project included 19 focus groups with a total of 74 participants of care workers (including Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Personal Support Workers, and Caregivers) with varying employment roles, immigration statuses, workplace situations, and socio-economic backgrounds. The narratives shared by the women further underscore the issues that were present even prior to COVID-19, such as the undervalued status of care work that is particularly racialized and gendered. The temporary status and inconsistent implementation of the pandemic pay throughout Canada, for example, poses an urgent critique to the mainstream lauding of “essential” care workers as “heroes.” Moreover, in applying an intersectional approach in examining the narratives, we find that gender, race, class, immigration status, and the migration pathways that these women use to enter Canada affect their experiences during COVID-19.
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