Filipino Population in Saskatchewan Doubled in Five Years

The number of Filipinos living in Canada’s Saskatchewan province has more than doubled its 2011 head count, according to 2016 Canadian census.

In the latest census data, there are 20,045 Tagalog speakers in Saskatchewan, a spike of 123 per cent since 2011. Their children, however, are quick to pick up English, a report by Regina Leader-Post’s Ashley Martin said.

Filipino immigrants Paulino and Sandra Pabello of Saskatoon told Martin that while raising their three children in the 1970s and ‘80s, the couple spoke Tagalog at home, while their kids excelled in English and French immersion in school.

The Filipino-Canadian Association of Saskatoon or FilCAS, which Paulino Pabello headed in 1973, started its heritage language school too late for his kids to join.

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“It would have been nice if they did, because it is nice to know a lot of languages growing up,” said Pabello.

FilCAS has represented the Philippine pavilion at Folkfest, Saskatoon’s cultural festival, for the past 38 years. This year, the festival takes place in Praireland Park August 17 to 19.

Last year’s census showed Tagalog as the immigrant language most commonly spoken on Saskatchewan — 1.9 per cent of the entire population — and 11,345 people say it’s the language they most commonly speak at home.

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The number has risen since the 2011 census, when 10,990 people had Tagalog as their mother tongue. If the immigration trend continues, the next census could see a greater representation of Filipino languages.