Wanted: Tagalog-English Interpreter In Canada

by Joseph G. Lariosa


CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – The eight Filipina former Live-in Caregivers (LIC’s) and PINAY, a Filipina human rights group in Montreal, Quebec, are due in court Monday (Feb. 11) before the Quebec Superior Court in Montreal to challenge the subpoenas of the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission they are suing for $90,000 for mishandling their complaint for last three years.

According to a press release, the Filipina group is appearing at 9 a.m. at the Montreal Court House at 1 Notre Dame East, room 2.16, where they will be directed to another room where the case will be heard.

The Filipina caregivers are going to challenge the human rights commission’s subpoenas to appear for cross-examination, without accommodating their scheduling requests and without addressing their need for an English-Tagalog interpreter.

Their court appearance follows a ruling last October handed down by Superior Court of Quebec Justice Thomas Davis, denying the motion to dismiss filed by the Commission against the Filipina caregivers.

In supporting the group, Justice Davis recognized the circumstances in this case that justified the delay of two months when the group filed their motion for Judicial Review. Davis also highlighted the importance of this case and its potential for justice to present and future LIC’s.

In their motion for judicial review, the Filipino women asked the Superior Court to review in June 2012 the Commission’s dismissal of Pinay’s complaint originally filed in May 2009 concerning discrimination, harassment and exploitation in employment, housing and immigration against John Aurora, a West Island, Quebec immigration consultant, who hired them, but had died in September 2009.


As a result of numerous errors of fact and law committed by the Commission during a three-year investigation, Pinay and the eight of the original 26 victims asked the Superior Court to reverse the Commission’s decision and remand the case back to the Commission for reinvestigation. The group also asked for $90,000 in moral damages against the Commission for its gross negligence in handling their case.

Two weeks ago, the Commission sought to interrogate all eight individual plaintiffs and Evelyn Calugay, past President of Pinay, for two days in mid-February as part of the preparation of its defense.

The women requested for a flexible schedule to accommodate their rigid work schedules so they can avoid the risk of losing their jobs. They proposed an after-work hours or weekend hours for interrogation. They also requested for a Tagalog-English interpreter since the women are more fluent in Tagalog than in English. Only Calugay, a registered nurse, can face an English interrogation.

The Commission, however, refused the request for scheduling accommodation regardless of the prejudice that might cause these women and had remained silent on the women’s request for interpreter.

Since last week, each of the women received a subpoena to appear on Friday, Feb. 15, for interrogation. This prompted the women to file a motion to challenge the Commission’s subpoenas and insist on their constitutional right to an interpreter by invoking Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Under Sec. 14 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, it provides that “A party or witness in any proceedings, who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf, has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.”

The Filipino women are assisted by their legal counsel, Melissa Arango, and Fiel Salazar, president of Pinay.


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