Philippine Asian News Today | Page 8

A8 PHILIPPINE ASIAN NEWS TODAY February 1 - 15, 2016 HEADLINES Philippines now largest source of immigrants to Canada Last year the Philippines overcame China and India as Canada’s top source country for new immigrants. According to the latest data from the government, approximately 32,000 Filipinos immigrated to Canada last year. There are currently an estimated 535,000 Filipino Canadians in the country, though some experts argue that that figure is in fact much higher. There are many reasons that Canada has become an attractive desti- nation for Filipino citizens seeking opportunities. The labour shortages, combined with the high quality of life are attracting record numbers. Filipinos bring much to the table for Canadian employers as well. Most citizens are quite adept at speaking English, one of the biggest challenges faced by many newcomers to the country. They are also known for working hard and being adaptable to Canadian life. Many choose to settle in smaller urban and rural centers, as opposed to the majority of newcomers who head to Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver. “[Filipinos] are committed to being citizens, to being volunteers, to being public minded,” says Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. “People like them because they take up challenges beyond just working and finding a place to live.” Employers in Canada have increasingly been importing temporary workers from the Philippines for years now, and many of those workers are able to apply for permanent residency within two years of arriving in Canada. Despite recent controversy over temporary foreign workers, Minister Alexander says that his government is committed to helping employers find the labour they so desperately need – particularly in the booming Prairie provinces. The government has been working to improve the temporary program so that worker’s rights are ensured and those who are most needed are able to come and build a life for themselves and their families in Canada.• - Pinoys in Alberta hang economic recovery on pipeline plan Many Filipinos in Alberta working in the oil and gas industry were among the many laid off last year due to the collapse in oil prices. But with recent talks between the Canadian government and the oil and gas sector, kababayans are hopeful this will be the start of the province’s economic recovery. With the price of oil down at below $30 per barrel, Albertans believe approving a 4,600 kilometer energy east pipeline that will start from Alberta and end in New Brunswick will help the province recover from the oil slump. Henry Pacunayen has worked in the oil and gas industry since 2006 as a piping designer. He got laid off in the 2008 economic recession, found work in 2009, and then he was laid off last year again when his company downsized. “Dapat ang gawin nila ang pipeline ay masimulan na. Yun talaga ang problema ng oil and gas dito sa Alberta ngayon kasi kailangan nilang i-push ang mga product para kasi ang kompetisyon dito sa North America, before ay sinusupplyan natin ang US, ngayon kompetisyon na natin sila,” said Pacunayen. Raymund Roy is thankful that he was one of the last staff to be laid off from his company last year. Now he struggles to pay the bills and support his family. “They have to work together and approve this plan that they have kasi importante yan sa Alberta and not only in Alberta, but all over Canada,” Roy said. The pipeline was one of the highlights during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent visit to the province. While there was no agreement reached, both government and the oil and gas producers said the meeting was very encouraging. “We all know that Albertans and industry leaders in Alberta and this government don’t control the price of oil internationally. But what we can control is how we respond to it,” said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. Trudeau said he will let the National Energy Board’s process go forward to allow them to do their job without political interference. “We Canadians are there for each other in times of difficulties. We’ve always been that way and we will always be that way. I have tremendous confidence in our ability to make it through collectively the challenges we are facing,” Trudeau said. Around 20,000 Albertans lost their jobs in 2015, the highest since the 1982 recessions. While the job forecast in 2016 remains dim, many are hopeful that ongoing talks between the federal and provincial governments and the oil and gas producers will yield positive results.• - Q. Evano, ABS-CBN Canada’s housing sector calls for 100,000 new affordable homes to meet critical need Access to the middle class and elimination of homelessness depend on adequate affordable housing supply. Ottawa, ON - During a increased by 30% while the objectives such as ending press conference on Parlia- annual federal investment homelessness, addressing ment Hill, a coalition of sev- in affordable housing de- the housing needs of Aben housing sector leaders creased by 46%, according original people, combatting released a joint pre-budget to the State of Homeless- climate change, and reducstatement, Affordable hous- ness in Canada report. As ing poverty. ing: a foundation for social a result, nearly 1 in 4 Ca“It’s urgent that vR&V