Due to the serious shortage of workers, it is possible that Canada will grant immigrant visas to foreign workers in the coming years. This is according to Peter Sutherland, the Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines.
Filipinos make up one of the largest immigrant groups in Canada, an estimate of 450,000 Filipinos currently resides there. Other big immigrant groups are the Chinese and the Indians.
Canada is an attractive and hot destination for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as evident by the increasing number of Filipinos being deployed there. From the 500 OFWs deployed in 2006, the number rose to 3600 by 2006. For the first six months of 2007, almost 3900 OFWs went to Canada with a two to three year work contracts.
Sutherland also informed that the government of Canada would give Php700 million over the next eight years for its recent bilateral project, the Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED).
This move is part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Sutherland and Interior Secretary Rolando Puno which obligates Canada to work with Philippine government agencies to encourage local economic development and reduce poverty.
Under the project, a Canadian agency would work in partnership with the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Trade and Industry, and selected local government units (LGUs).
Sutherland said, “The project will not only create better and decent employment for the poor but also expand tax bases, leading to increased revenue generation and improved services within local governments.”
Canada has been funding developmental projects since 1992 and has strengthened more than 200 LGUs in the areas of management, income generation, citizen participation, and delivery of services.
At present, Canada is working with almost a hundred LGUs in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) through the LGSP-ARMM to strengthen leadership, participation, service delivery, and peace-building.