Rob Norris, the Minister for Advanced Education, Employment and Labour for the province of Saskatchewan, has recently traveled to the Philippines to work with government officials and representatives of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration towards bringing more Filipino skilled workers to Saskatchewan.

The Philippine government and the Saskatchewan provincial government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for that purpose.

Minister Norris stated that Saskatchewan will need 10,000 to 12,000 Filipino skilled workers over the next five years. This is largely due to an increase in business infrastructure in the province, particularly in the manufacturing, construction, retail sales, and restaurant services sectors.

Jim Gregg, a Saskatchewan business owner, accompanied Minister Norris on his mission to the Philippines. He was looking to recruit 16 tradespeople for his business. He interviewed 60 people and made offers to 22.

Three people from Saskatchewan’s Immigrant Nominee Program also went on the mission. They worked with the staff at the Canadian Embassy for a few days to accelerate the recruiting of Filipino workers to Saskatchewan. While they were there, 224 applications were processed.

"I've characterized the mission as being successful," he said. "It's been an important opportunity for Saskatchewan to help raise the profile of our province as well as, in my estimation, ensure that we're attentive to the level of interest that the Philippines is certainly garnering from Western Canada."