Today, four out of five Canadians who have died from COVID-19 in Canada are linked to long-term care homes. The first death from COVID-19 in Canada was an elderly resident of the Lynn Valley Care Centre in British Columbia. It marked the first of dozens of outbreaks in long-term care homes in Canada that have taken thousands of Canadian lives.
These are just a few of the names of Filipino nurses, personal support workers, and caregivers in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, who have died after providing frontline support to clients and patients with COVID-19 in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and private residences. The need to fill in job vacancies for health care personnel in migrant-receiving countries like Canada, and the existence of a labour brokerage policy that make the ‘export’ of labour and transfer of payment to home countries a vital part of migrant-sending countries’ [like the Philippines] economic growth strategy, compel thousands of Filipinos to seek jobs as migrant workers. Because many Filipino migrant workers go abroad to become care workers, the Philippines has effectively created what author and historian Catherine Ceniza Choy describes as an “Empire of Care”.