challenges --
is a photo series
by Filipina care workers
during COVID-19  
during COVID-19  


Filipina Care Workers During COVID-19

Women in line staring at the camera wearing a mask


Matatag -- steadfast amidst challenges -- is a photo series by Filipina nurses, personal support workers, and in-home caregivers during COVID-19. 

Using participatory action research and photovoice, care workers captured everyday moments of struggle while caring for the most vulnerable. They did so despite pandemic-related challenges, such as a lack of PPEs and sick days, intensified working requirements and precarious citizenship. Through kwentuhan (talk-story) sessions, they highlight what it is like to navigate work, immigration processes, and family separation and reunification. Above all, their narratives of hope, faith, and strength shine through.

Copyright © 2020 Photographs courtesy of project photographers. All photographers retain copyright of the images they have taken. Images may not be reproduced without permission from the original photographers.

Woman getting ready for a jog. One leg raised and bent
While they have been lauded as resilient heroes, the romanticization of resilience cannot obscure systemic failures.

By visualizing the lived realities of Filipina care workers, we aim to make a meaningful impact on Canadian labour and immigration policies that affect them the most.

Woman packing food (cans, boxes etc) into a box

The Exhibition

OCT 20, 2021 - JAN 2022
3 people installing exhibition in A Space gallery windows
It is crucial for our voices to be heard to let the policy makers know what we are really experiencing not only with regards to the application process but also our situations in this field of work.”
Participant, Home Care Provider

Act Now!

Filipina care workers in Canada, including nurses, personal support workers, and caregivers have faced incredible challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic while caring for the most vulnerable. Research, media, and deeply personal storytelling depict experiences of precarity, exploitation, and safety concerns in the workplace that are shaped and perpetuated by systemically unjust labour and migration systems. 

As we rebuild from the impacts of the pandemic, much of which continues to be felt among the most underserved and marginalized, we urge for federal leadership and accountability to care for, protect, and honour our fellow care workers.

Read our open letter to learn more

Woman in a supply closet staring at the camera wearing a mask

Since July 2020, the “Filipina Care Workers and COVID-19” research team has been working with frontline Filipina to identify their needs, concerns, and aspirations amid the pandemic. This project is led by Dr. Ethel Tungohan (Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair, York University) and other scholars, researchers, and community organizers from Gabriela-Ontario and Migrants Resource Center Canada: Dr. Jessica Ticar, Mithi Esguerra, Dr. Marissa Largo, Dr. Conely de Leon, Mauriene Tolentino, Bea Serdon, Silvia Gonzalez, Myka Jaymalin, Angela Natial, Leny Simbre, Mycah Panjaitan.

Maraming salamat (many thanks ) to the 78 titas and ates who shared their stories.
A gloved hand holding another ungloved hand

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We acknowledge that this project takes place on the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations. It has been stewarded by the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Huron-Wendat, and is now home to many First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities. We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is subject of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement to peaceably share and care for the Great Lakes region.

In our work as settlers on stolen land, it is important that we honour this treaty and take care of the lands and peoples around us as we work to ensure the rights of our kababayans (community members) in so-called Canada.