– Janitor, Vancouver
Luisito Tadlip works as a janitor at British Columbia Institute of Technology in Vancouver. Originally from Mindanao in the Phillipines, he moved to Vancouver in 2010. To Luisito, coming to Canada meant opportunity.
Luisito lives in a small home with his wife along with their son and daughter-in-law. The latter two lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic and are now depending on him and his wife financially.
“We almost couldn’t pay our rent this month,” he says. “If it goes on like this, I don’t know what will happen to us. We live pay cheque to pay cheque.”
Luisito and his wife both work as janitors and are also at risk of getting laid off. But even with employment, they are barely making it.
Luisito is a strong supporter of the Invisible to Essential campaign.
He believes property managers, building owners and the cleaning companies need to work “hand-in-hand” to provide everyone with essential pay and to promise that it doesn’t go back down after the fear of Covid-19 is gone.
“We come to work putting ourselves at risk; even taking transit is risky,” says Luisito. “We have to take care of ourselves.”
Now they are provided personal protective equipment, but this wasn’t always the case. “There were so many things happening to us before we had a union,” he says. “If you don’t have a union it’s very easy for an employer to abuse you. Now we feel a little better.”