Ruby Dhalla now faces multiple probes over nannies

June 6th, 2009 - 9:09 am ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, June 6 (IANS) Indian-Canadian MP Ruby Dhalla faces multiple-agency investigations over charges of exploitation by her three former nannies.

Thirty-five-year Dhalla is Canada’s first Sikh woman MP, representing the Indian-dominated Brampton-Springdale constituency on the outskirts of Toronto since 2004.

The three Filipino nannies, who were illegally hired by Dhalla in early 2008 to take care of her mother, have alleged that they were underpaid, overworked and made to do non-nanny jobs such as washing cars and cleaning shoes.

Two of them - Magdalene Gordo (31) and Richelyn Tongson (35) - also appeared before a parliamentary committee last month to tearfully explain how they were exploited and their passports taken away by Dhalla.

But in her testimony before the committee, Dhalla vehemently denied the charges.

After hearing the nannies and the young Indian Canadian MP, the parliamentary panel has recommended that the central and Ontario provincial governments hold in-depth investigations into the allegations.

The 31-page report, leaked before its presentation next week, recommends that “the provincial and federal governments investigate allegations of the former live-in caregivers in the Dhalla residence and take measures as appropriate.”

According to the report, “the (parliamentary) committee regrets that such situations may occur under the live-in programme.”

Touching upon Dhalla’s testimony, the report says the Indian Canadian MP “addressed some of the specific claims made by the caregivers concerning pay, tasks, and passports and asserted that people entering the family home were treated well and with respect.”

After the panel’s recommendations, Dhalla face a grueling investigation by various federal agencies, including Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Canada Border Services Agency.

All these departments are responsible for issuing work permits and bringing foreign workers into Canada.

The labour department of Ontario province where Dhalla lives will investigate allegations of labour law violations such as low wages and poor working conditions as alleged by the nannies.

A former Miss India-Canada runner-up, Dhalla has been rated as one among the hottest women politicians in the world today by Maxim magazine.

She has been touted as a minister in any future government by her Liberal Party.

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