2012: A Turning Point for Filipino Immigration to Canada

In the search for Filipino immigrants, Tim Horton’s Mercan Canada Employment Philippines Inc. talks with a classroom of prospective workers in Manila, explaining the cultural differences to expect when they move to the country north of America. Not only must they prepare for brutal winter weather, they will have to learn new customs and a new currency. If they wish to live in Quebec they will even have to learn a touch of French. But many–100s a day in fact–show up daily to the Mercan office for their chance to immigrate.



The Philippines is considered the highest source of immigrants to Canada, surpassing India and China. Many Canadians are unaware of the trend, mainly because Filipinos do not settle among the throngs in the big city, but choose a life out of the limelight, in small towns. And there is work to be found most anywhere. Some are concerned that the immigrating population will take entry-level jobs from young Canadians; while this is a legitimate worry, the majority believe there are enough jobs to go around, specifically when considering the western half of Canadian and their dire need for hard workers.
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander believes that Filipinos make it so well in Canada because they are adaptable, hard-working and willing to learn English and assimilate into the culture. A sign of the times is the number of permanent residents that accomplished citizenship in the country in 2012. The 32,000 figure nearly doubled the number from only 8 years before. Now Filipinos are the fastest growing ethnic community in the country, with some organizations estimating their numbers at more than 800,000.

Many of the Filipinos who settle in Canada choose positions in the care-giving field. In fact, it is estimated that about ninety percent of those who care for the elderly and children in the country’s Live-In-Caregiver Program come from the Philippines. Some believe the program needs to be tweaked to ensure that only people who are properly qualified for the position are hired, but others find their attention on the other side of the employment coin. They are trying to change the current three year processing time for becoming landed immigrants and focusing on avoiding abusive employers.

Having Filipinos immigrate to Canada is beneficial to both sides, most believe. The desire to find work and carve out an existence in the harsh land of the Northern country is high among Filipinos. By the same token, the Filipino workers provide Canadians with humble and willing workers who will not shirk a duty simply because they believe themselves too good for a job.