Canada’s oil and gas industries will provide approximately 5,000 jobs for highly skilled Filipinos, according to Arturo Brion, the Philippines’ labor secretary. He said a vast job market in central and western Canada for Philippine workers is the result of a memorandum of understanding, titled “Cooperation in the Fields of Labor, Employment, and Human Resource Development”, which was signed between the two countries.
Mr Brion, who signed the memorandum with Pat Atkinson, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Advanced Education and Employment, said on Jan. 6 the agreement affirms a preference for OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) in the Canadian workforce. Canada constitutes the world’s second-largest country by land area, he noted, and its Filipino workers are sending a growing share of remittances back to the Philippines. He further noted Central Bank of the Philippines statistics which indicated remittances from Canada to the Philippines increased by 73.8 per cent from $67.34 million in 2004 to $117.06 million in 2005.
Francisco Luna, the Philippines’ labor attaché to Toronto, said the memorandum would pave the way for “better-paying, safer, quality job opportunities in Canada” for workers such as truck drivers in Iraq and oil and gas workers in other Middle Eastern countries. He added Canada’s tight labor market has spread to the service industry, including the fast-food sector.
“Normally, these job types pay $6 to $7 per hour, but here, they pay as high as 12 to 15 dollars,” he said. The Philippines’ ambassador to Canada, Jose Brillantes, added the province of Manitoba was planning to hire thousands of skilled workers from the Philippines.