By ALDWIN QUITASOL
QUEZON CITY — Gabriela Women’s Party List Representative Luzviminda Ilagan introduced a resolution expressing the condolences of the House of Representatives to the family of Juana Tejada who died on March 8, 2009 because of cancer in the colon.
The resolution entitled “expressing the condolences of the House of Representatives on the demise of Juana Tejada, a caregiver whose courage and persistence in fighting for her right in a foreign land despite her personal battle with terminal illness inspired a proposal to amend the Canadian Immigration Law for the better treatment of Filipino and other caregivers in the North American country” was received in the house of congress March 23.
Tejada was a caregiver went to Canada on March 15, 2003 under the Live-in caregiver program. After completing all the requirements for permanent residency including the 24th-month stay, she applied for an immigration to the Citizenship Immigration of Canada (CIC) in 2006. Her application was denied after she was diagnosed with a terminal cancer. The CIC said she will be a burden to the Canadian government’s health care program. She was bound to be deported by the CIC on August 8, 2008.
Tejada challenged the decision of the CIC and made an appeal on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. On July 18, 2008,she was finally allowed to stay permanently after thousands of Filipinos and non-Filipinos signed an online petition addressed to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The online petition requested Harper to reverse the deportation order against Tejada. At least 2,551 signed the petition.
The resolution praised Tejada for despite the anxiety and grief over her terminal illness, she continued to fight for her right to stay in Canada. “Her courage and persistence brought international attention to the onerous and unfair requirement that applies only to the caregiver class of temporary workers who are applying for permanent residency in Canada,” the resolution said.
After being granted residency, Tejada continued to advocate for the better treatment of caregivers in Canada. With Migrante International and other cause-oriented groups, Tejada pushed for the amendment of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, or section 38(2), automatically granting exemption to members of the Live-in caregiver class from the “good health” requirement before a permanent residency in Canada.
The act called the “Juana Tejada Law” if passed will lead to the removal of the requirement for a second medical examination before applying for a permanent status in the CIC.
Tejada, a native of La Paz, Abra, “tirelessly campaigned until she was brought to the hospital” the resolution added. The resolution concluded that Tejada deserves the highest praise, admiration and gratitude for her heroism. # www.nordis.net