Photo: Graham Hughes The canadian Press
Ze Benedicte Carole, an asylum seeker from Cameroon, responded to the call of the prime minister Legault to go lend a hand in NURSING homes.
Some asylum seekers who came to Quebec in quest of a new life now find themselves on the frontlines of the health crisis, working by the hundreds in residences for seniors have been hard hit by the COVID-19.
Ze Benedicte Carole, an asylum seeker from Cameroon, is recovering at home after having contracted the new coronavirus. She had responded to the call of prime minister François Legault and had volunteered to work in a care home long-term to the west of Montreal.
“My dream has always been to feel important in the society, to do my part,” said the young woman, arrived in the country as a worker foreign temporary four years ago.
Ms. Ze Benedicte rumored to have been assigned to tasks such as the cleaning in what was to be an area ” cold “. But residents of his area have quickly proven to be carriers of the virus.
Three days later, she began to suffer from headache, fever and muscle pain, even if she had worn masks, gloves, jackets and visors.
When she called the phone line for the COVID-19, was told that she could not get tested without a medicare card, does it, even if she has a social insurance number and that it has been exposed to the virus in the course of his work.
“It is when we die to the front that we are called guardian angels, grieves-t-it. But when we need to be treated as a full human being, we are not guardian angels. It is no longer a person. One becomes invisible. “
She was finally able to undergo a screening test after you have requested the assistance of a group of migrant rights. Two weeks later, she said to finally feel better, despite fatigue and persistent pain, and cannot wait to return to work.
She is one of thousands of asylum seekers who have found jobs in households of long-term care and other front-line services, where some are paying the price for having chosen to take care of others.
Montréal-Nord saves the infection rate is the higher of the metropolis, with its overcrowded living conditions that make the social distancing impossible, and a population that works in large part through essential services such as health care, security and food sector.
Ruth Pierre-Paul, who is campaigning for the haitian community of Montreal, estimates that hundreds of migrants who crossed the border outside official points of entry in recent years turned to the homes of long-term care as a gateway to the labour market, due to the speed of the training required and the large bank of available jobs.
Ms. Pierre-Paul, and other activists are asking the governments of Québec and Canada to grant permanent residence to many asylum seekers who work in essential services in recognition of their contribution during the pandemic.
“These people live a double stress : they have to go to work and are at the forefront for a disease that could bring them up to the grave, and their status grants them no benefit,” she says.
In addition to that it does not hold health insurance card, the asylum seekers do not have access to subsidized childcare.
Ze Benedicte Carol, who supports the demands of permanent residence, is also concerned for those who are undocumented and who do not have access to emergency financial assistance.
Last week, the mp for independent Catherine Fournier filed a motion to acknowledge the contribution of “hundreds of asylum-seekers, mostly of haitian origin,” working as orderlies, and for asking Ottawa to ” regularize their status, in a spirit of recognition of the work accomplished during the crisis current health “.
The motion was rejected by the Coalition avenir Québec and the prime minister François Legault was later suggested that it could encourage more asylum seekers to cross the border, which is currently closed due to the pandemic.
“We were asked to support the arrival of asylum-seekers. Neither the Quebec government nor the government of Canada does not support it now “, he said in a press conference in Montreal.
Last year, Pierre Kiosa Nakatala brought his family to Canada by the irregular path of the path Roxham, after having fled the violence in the democratic Republic of the Congo.
Motivated by her christian faith and her dedication to the elderly since he has taken care of her own grand-mother, the 45 year-old male has attended a training course to become certified. He now works long hours with the sick — and sometimes dying — in an institution which is hard hit in Montreal-North.
Many of his colleagues have been infected, which means that two employees must now do the work of three or four.
He was worried about catching the virus and bringing it back home to his wife and their three young children, who do not always understand that they can’t embrace their father before he takes his shower.
Although he hoped to obtain permanent residence, Stone Kiosa Nakatala says that this is not his main motivation to work in the care home.
“We don’t do that for the papers. We do it to help. “
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