Tait: Foreign worker’s impact not temporary

July 9, 2015

By Cam Tait, Edmonton Sun |

The first time I met Roscyl Carido two years ago, I knew it would be hard to say good-bye. And on Friday, it certainly was.

A little background is in order.

My wife and I live in Creekside Condos. We bought new, back in 1997, for one main reason: home care was provided. Seven of us — all with physical disabilities — formed a not-for-profit company to hire personal care assistants to help us.

I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair. I need help getting in and out of the shower, shaving, dressing and other personal tasks.

Each of us is on a schedule and has care assistants come into our condos at set times to help us.

They assist with some of the most personal tasks. When that happens, you can’t help but form personal bonds, even though it’s an employee/employer relationship.

And over time, personal care assistants get to know the little things in your life that can get your day off to a great start: just the right amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush and the exact position of where you like your coffee mug on the kitchen table.

So when someone leaves their employment at Creekside to further themselves, we understand.

But … you can’t help but feel a sense of loss.

Now: back to Roscyl’s story. She joined Creekside two years ago in the temporary foreign worker program.

She was young — 23 at the time — but was eager to learn.

Roscyl is from the Philippines, and became a valued member of our staff. She picked up extra shifts on a moment’s notice and never complained.

I’ve been working with Roscyl in the morning for the last two years. She knew what I needed so well, which gave me confidence.

I could concentrate on work commitments when Roscyl was with me … I didn’t have to worry about my personal needs not being fully met.

We knew the day was coming when Roscyl would leave Canada. In December, we started discussions with Roscyl and began planning to file paperwork for her to apply for an extension.

But it wasn’t meant to be.

Last Friday — July 3 — was Roscyl’s last day. She put my computer bag on the back of my wheelchair — her final task in our morning routine before I leave for work– and then flashed her warm smile before she gave me a fist-pump.

“I don’t know when I’ll see you again,” she said. “But it’s been fun.”

That was shortly after 9 a.m. Twelve hours later, she was on a plane back to the Philippines.

The purpose of this piece isn’t to criticize the TFW program. And it isn’t a public plea for the federal government to immediately review Roscyl’s file and get her back to Canada.

I respect and appreciate the guidelines of the TFW program.

Rather, this is to celebrate how a young woman came to a new country and made an impact in many people’s lives.

When somebody relies on others for every day fundamental help — such as myself — we are reminded changes happen.

People move on.

But it’s hard — darn hard, in fact– to say farewell to someone who has made a significant impact in my life.

Thank you, Roscyl, for all your hard work, and your understanding. I wish you well.

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