A Canadian doctor who is at the frontline in the battle against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in his country and his wife are standing by their Filipina nanny who they said deserves to continue staying in Canada.
Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, who works in an intensive care unit (ICU), and his wife Dr. Cathy Kyeremanteng, said it is 33-year old Filipina nanny Kherin Dimalanta that has allowed them to continue their respective medical practices, as Dimalanta takes care of their three children, all boys.
“We would not have been able to do what we did through the pandemic, to continue our work, if we did not have help at home,” said Cathy.
The Filipina arrived three and a half years ago under a live-in caregiver visa and had hoped to apply for permanent residency after a few years of working in Ottawa. She had hopes of eventually bringing her two children to Canada.
But Dimalanta was diagnosed for chronic kidney disease after undergoing a routine blood test as part of an insurance application. This meant she was no longer medically admissible to Canada despite working and paying taxes in in Canada.
“It just turned my life upside down,” Dimalanta said. “I feel like I don’t have the right to dream anymore.”
As a result of her medical condition, around $40,000 per year must be spent for Dimalanta’s nightly dialysis. The amount is almost twice the annual health-care cost threshold set by the Canadian Liberal government in 2018. Also, immigrants who would cost the Canadian health care system more than $21,204 a year are no longer eligible for permanent residency as they are deemed a burden on the system.
But Cathy said Dimalanta’s case should not be covered by that rule as the Filipina has been working and paying taxes in Canada.
“She fell sick while she was here, by no fault of her own,” Cathy said. “How could Canada send somebody home to die in front of their children, just because we have to pay for the medical treatment?… It doesn’t feel Canadian to me.”
For his part, Jamie Liew, an associate professor of law at the University of Ottawa, said Canada may also give importance to low-skilled workers who have proven to be essential in Canada’s fight against Covid-19.
“We, for whatever reason, don’t value [them] the same way (as skilled workers) … despite the fact that a lot of skilled migrant workers provide essential services, as we’ve seen through the pandemic,” Liew said. SOVEREIGNPH