Canada continues to offer more opportunities for Filipinos to migrate as well as better trade relations with the Philippines.During an interview at Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu Tuesday, Canadian ambassador to the Philippines Christopher Thornley said his country is in need of caregivers, nurses, lawyers, trade people and teachers.
Thornley was in Cebu to speak in a joint meeting of the different Rotary Clubs in the city.
As a country that relies on migration to sustain population and manpower for various industry, Thornley said that there is an increased demand for Filipino skilled workers in Canada.
“To date, there are about 500,000 Filipinos now in Canada, which is the largest among the ethnic groups there now,” he said while adding Filipinos have overtaken Indians and Chinese as the largest ethnic group to migrate in the country. He said majority of the 250,000 slots for immigrants last year were given to Filipinos.
“We issued more resident visas to Filipinos last year than all the other nationalities,” he said. “Filipinos are very well educated who can contribute to many of our manpower requirements. Aside from that, you also speak English well, which makes communication better,” Mr Thornley added.
He further stated that Canadian investors were looking into opportunities in mining, agriculture, food, technology, outsourcing, insurance and other financial services in the Philippines.
“Most of the investors are very keen on the mining industry here and I think we can work together on this,” he said.
Mr Thornley is also optimistic towards the Aquino administration in its efforts to eradicate corruption.
“Corruption inhibits investments and trading. The present government’s anti-corruption stand has actually renewed our confidence for the country.”
Given the Filipinos’ fluency in English communication, Mr Thornley looks at other industries such as leisure and medical tourism.
“Again the Filipinos speak English well and Canadians feel more comfortable traveling to places where people understand and can communicate with them,” he said.
But to promote this industry, in addition to addressing the need for Filipinos moving to Canada, Mr Thornley cited the need to establish more flights to Canada. Canada, the world’s second largest country in terms of land area, is one of the Philippines’ top 10 visitor markets with 61,150 arrivals in the first semester this year, a 15.5 percent growth over the same period in 2010.
“One thing we love about the Philippines is the warm weather. Canadians love to escape the cold winters,” he said.