Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News

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In 1979 a diverse group of Toronto feminists responded to the call of foreign domestic workers for support in fighting discrimination in government policies and unfair treatment by their employers. INTERCEDE was formed as a volunteer advocacy group of foreign domestic workers and their feminist supporters to raise awareness and lobby for changes in federal and provincial legislation.

A diverse cross section of domestic workers from the Caribbean, the UK and the Philippines became active in INTERCEDE and worked with their allies to define their goals and aspirations. Central to their position was the demand that Canada recognize the value of their work in the private homes of the nation and their right to stay in Canada permanently because of the strong labour market demand for their services. Their rallying cry was “Good enough to work, good enough to stay.”

INTERCEDE mobilized public support in the media and in social justice circles for the demand that foreign domestic workers be given a path to permanent status in Canada by reforming the federal program under which they were recruited to come here only as temporary workers. In 1981 the lobby effort, which had become national in scope, resulted in historic changes to the federal program which opened a path to landed immigrant status and eventually citizenship for thousands of foreign domestic workers who otherwise would have had to leave Canada. No other temporary foreign workers have ever won the same path to a permanent future in Canada, before or since. It remains the crowning achievement of INTERCEDE whose core position was that due to labour market demand domestic workers deserved to come to Canada as permanent residents rather than as temporary workers.

Further lobbying campaigns followed and led to reforms in the provincial Employment Standards Act which gave foreign domestic workers rudimentary protections that rendered them less vulnerable in the workplace. Similar efforts took place in other provinces with some notable gains which gave foreign domestic workers tools to seek redress from unfair and sometimes exploitative employers.

INTERCEDE responded to other urgent needs such as legal advice on immigration matters, counseling on employer related problems, referrals to educational retraining programs, etc. In 1984, federal funding helped establish the INTERCEDE Service Unit which worked in collaboration with volunteers, such as law students from Osgoode Hall Law School, to provide free legal advice and other much needed services. INTERCEDE produced written booklets about labour rights and immigration policies and procedures which were widely disseminated and available free of charge.

In time, INTERCEDE came to focus less on lobbying campaigns for domestic workers’ rights and more on service work: newcomer integration and settlement counseling; training in job skills, leadership and advocacy; and community development and support programs. As the range of services expanded, funding was secured from all three levels of government and the programs continued throughout the 1990s and 2000s. However, due to changes in funding priorities, in 2011 INTERCEDE’s services were assumed by Toronto’s Working Women Community Centre, an award-winning settlement agency serving immigrant women, funded by the federal Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship as well as other governmental and non-governmental sources.

INTERCEDE was a beacon that drew foreign domestic workers, across ethnic and racial lines, to work in partnership with their feminist allies. This helped them raise their voices against exploitation and fight for their rights as immigrant workers, with public support from the wider community. As a result, thousands of foreign domestic workers have continued to enter Canada with the unprecedented opportunity to remain here permanently and make a life for themselves and their families.

Judith Ramirez, a founder and coordinator of INTERCEDE 1979-1988

(Note: name changes in 1994)

Title Date
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 1985 April 1985
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 1986 April 1986
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 1987 April 1987
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 1988 April 1988
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 1989 April 1989
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 1990 April 1990
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 1991 April 1991
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 1992 April 1992
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 1993 April 1993
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 1994 April 1994
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 1996 April 1996
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 1998 April 1998
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 2001 April 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 2002 April 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 2003 April 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 2004 April 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 2005 April 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 2006 April 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – April 2007 April 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 1984 August 1984
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 1985 August 1985
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 1986 August 1986
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 1989 August 1989
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 1990 August 1990
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 1991 August 1991
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 1992 August 1992
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 1993 August 1993
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 1994 August 1994
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 1996 August 1996
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 1997 August 1997
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 2000 August 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 2001 August 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 2002 August 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 2003 August 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 2004 August 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 2005 August 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – August 2006 August 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 1984 December 1984
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 1985 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 1988 December 1988
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 1989 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 1990 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 1991 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 1992 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 1993 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 1994 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 1999 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 2001 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 2002 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 2003 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 2004 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 2005 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – December 2006 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1985 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1986 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1987 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1988 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1989 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1990 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1991 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1992 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1993 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1994 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1995 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1997 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 1999 --
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Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 2003 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 2004 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 2005 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 2006 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – February 2007 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 1985 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 1986 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 1987 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 1988 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 1989 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 1990 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 1991 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 1992 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 1993 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 1994 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 1995 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 1996 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 2002 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – January 2005 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 1984 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 1986 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 1987 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 1988 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 1990 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 1991 --
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 1992 July 1992
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 1993 July 1993
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 1994 July 1994
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 1995 July 1995
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 1996 July 1996
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 1997 July 1997
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 2000 July 2000andafter
Domestics’ Cross-Cultural News – July 2001 July 2000andafter

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