The province of Alberta and the Philippines have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate the flow of Filipino skilled workers into Alberta. Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and British Columbia have entered similar agreements with the Philippines over the past year, all working towards alleviating chronic labour shortages in their growing economies.
Along the same lines as the other provinces’ agreements, the Alberta-Philippines MOU contains information about comparability of credentials and qualifications, potential partnerships whereby Alberta would deliver education programs in the Philippines, the sharing of labour market information, and measures to ensure that workers are treated fairly.
“The Philippines has been a significant contributor to the economic success of Alberta as a major source of workers to the province,” said Hector Goudreau, Alberta Minister of Employment and Immigration. “This agreement is about working with the Philippine government to ensure Filipino workers understand what skills are in demand, and about protecting the interests of workers coming here.”
Goudreau, whose province has been suffering from labour shortages in many sectors, is pleased to welcome Filipino workers because of their “good work ethic, skills, flexibility, and adaptability.” Last year, Alberta welcomed close to 6,000 temporary foreign workers from the Philippines.
Canada has a need for 1.8 million foreign workers over the next ten years in various industries. The emphasis of the current recruitment program in the Philippines by the four provinces is on skilled workers in the construction, gas, health, and hospitality and tourism sectors.
The Government of British Columbia (BC) recently held its first job fair in Manila. Michael Chew, associate director of British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) called it “match-making between the needs of the employers in BC and the available skills in the Philippines.” British Columbia business leaders and government officials plan to return to the Philippines next year for further skilled worker recruitment fairs.
Many of the overseas Filipino workers that the Philippines’ Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) plans to transfer to Canada are currently working in Middle Eastern countries on contracts that will soon be expiring. According to Philippine Labour Secretary Marianito Roque, overseas Filipino workers earn higher wages in Canada than they do in the Middle East.
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