The Philippines is one of the largest exporters of labourers in the world, with 10 per cent of its current population working abroad. In 2006, it was the third highest source country of immigrants to Canada; it has been among the top five for over 25 years. As Canada’s labour crunch continues, Filipino workers are an increasingly important source of labour.
Carmilita Dimzon of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), has said that skilled Filipino workers are needed in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. These provinces are actively seeking health workers, nurses, engineers, and hospitality staff.
Filipino representatives of the POEA and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), a government agency that protects the well-being of Filipino workers and their dependents overseas, recently visited Western Canada to assess available job opportunities . According to the Philippines ambassador in Ottawa, Jose Brillantes, Philippine consulate offices in Canada have been conducting verification processes to ensure that Canadian job offers to Filipino workers are indeed credible. "The process is also designed to prevent Filipino professionals ending up in jobs far below their educational qualifications, skills and experience," he explained. Ambassador Brillantes also noted that a Philippines labour office will be established in Vancouver, which will streamline the hiring process and provide assistance to Filipino migrant workers in Western Canada.
There are currently about 500,000 Filipinos living in Canada, mainly in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. In 2008, Western Canada is looking to recruit 30,000 skilled Filipino workers.