Evangeline Cayanan

Dates: 2019, 2022
Location: Edmonton 
Profile: Evangeline Cayanan is an undocumented worker whose harrowing tales are an indictment of the Temporary Foreign Worker program and treatment of undocumented workers.
          Evangeline Cayanan emigrated to Canada as a TFW from the Philippines in 2010 to help her poverty-stricken family back home including her daughter. The tourist restaurant owner who hired her and others had promised 40 hours work per week but only offered 20 on arrival, charging rent that absorbed most of that pay. When he required the workers to cut trees, Cayanan complained to the hiring agency. After the employer fired her and several friends, they found work in a Filipino bakery in Scarborough where her best friend required hospitalization. She paid his bills because neither had health insurance, but he tragically died. Her next employment was as a manager at an Edmonton chain restaurant where the employer was sexually harassing TFW female workers. 
          Having lost her TFW status in 2015 for reasons outside her control, Cayanan survived as a cleaner at three downtown Edmonton buildings for a Bee Clean subcontractor who paid undocumented workers less than minimum wage. She received no health insurance, no safety gear, and no training regarding the cleaning chemicals. Evangeline Cayanan was helped by Migrante to get health insurance for her Canadian-born daughter and for other children in the same position. But Cayanan was turned down for permanent residence at least three times even though her daughter, MacKenna, has severe ADHD that a specialized behavioural therapy program is helping with. She continues to apply for permanent residence in Canada and hopes to help others in her situation through volunteering with Migrante. She and her daughter face deportation if Cayanan’s current appeal, to be heard in July, 2022, is unsuccessful.
Keywords: Bee Clean; Health insurance—who in Canada is not qualified to receive; Migrante;  Minimum wage—lack of enforcement for undocumented workers; Philippines; Safety of TFWs; Sexual harassment of TFWs; TFW employers who break contract promises;  Undocumented workers.
Download Transcripts (PDF): 2019, 2022

See also: Health and Safety; Systemic Racism; Temporary Foreign Workers; Women and Work