Intercede: International Coalition To End Domestics Exploitation
Organization profile published 1981

Year Published:  1981  
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX2351

The International Coalition to End Domestics' Exploitation (INTERCEDE) was created in May, 1980, a joint effort of four groups: Employment Services for Women, Housewives Initiative, Labour Rights for Domestic Servants and Wages for Housework Committee; its purpose is to respond to the problems domestics are experiencing in the workplace.

Abstract:  The International Coalition to End Domestics' Exploitation (INTERCEDE) was created in May, 1980, a joint effort of four groups: Employment Services for Women, Housewives Initiative, Labour Rights for Domestic Servants and Wages for Housework Committee; its purpose is to respond to the problems domestics are experiencing in the workplace. Some of these problems include less than minimum wage and long working hours. Present legislation gives domestics very limited protection under law, i.e. they are excluded from the Employment Standards Act, the Labour Relations Act, the Workmen's Compensation Act and the Human Rights Code. The federal government allows working visas for women based on the Canadian need but, through the immigration policy, makes it impossible for these women to become landed immigrants.

The Coalition, in its short history, has already completed a brief to the Ontario government in which domestics' exclusion from labour legislation is documented. INTERCEDE led a delegation in December, 1980 that discussed the brief's recommendations with Robert Elgie, Minister of Labour; support for these recommendations was received from the N.D.P. and the Liberals.

INTERCEDE also submitted the only brief received by the Task Force on Immigration Practice and Procedures; this brief recommended the following changes:
- the assessment criteria for landing as a domestic worker should be upgraded to reflect both the demand for domestics and the skills required in the job;
- domestics should be allowed to apply for landed status from within Canada after they have been here a year;
- employer and employee should agree to and sign a contract outlining job duties and specifying wages;
- the employee would have the right to change jobs, if there is a contract violation.

As well as working with women's interest groups and planning a national campaign for immigration rights for domestics, INTERCEDE networks and gathers information about services that are available to domestics. The need for more counselling and advocacy services has been identified.

Currently the Coalition is mounting a letter campaign to Lloyd Axworthy who has responded to the Task Force recommendations in a way that INTERCEDE feels results in "a select few from the U.K. and northern Europe (being) granted landed status, while thousands of domestic workers from the Caribbean and Philippines won't have a chance."


See also CX1091.

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