The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has set up a Canadian Desk tasked to handle queries and coordinate with concerned agencies on matters relating to the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Canada.
Labor and Employment Secretary Arturo D. Brion issued Administrative Order No. 53, series of 2008, providing for the setting up of the Canadian Desk at the Office of the DOLE Secretary in Intramuros, Manila. Director Salome Mendoza of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) was designated to head the desk.
Brion said the Canadian Desk would be the Secretary's arm in coordinating with the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Manitoba in activities relating to the deployment of OFWs to these provinces as provided for in the labor agreements entered into by the DOLE and the governments of the three Canadian provinces. The POEA, as mandated by law, will continue to handle the actual deployment activities.
He added that the Desk would also attend to queries from workers seeking employment in Canada.
Brion signed the agreements with the provincial governments of Saskatchewan and British Columbia in December 2007 and January this year, respectively. He also signed a similar agreement with Premier Gary Doer of Manitoba during the latter's recent visit in Manila.
The DoLE Chief is also expected to sign another labor agreement with the Canadian province of Alberta by March of this year. Other Canadian provinces have expressed interest in entering into a labor agreement with the Philippines.
He said the purpose of the agreements is to strengthen areas of cooperation in the fields of labor, employment, and human deployment and development between the Philippines and the respective Canadian provinces.
The agreements, he said, specifically provide for an ethical, orderly, and expeditious recruitment and deployment of OFWs to Canada, non-collection of placement fees, and for the provinces to encourage employers to support human resource development efforts for OFWs as well as the reintegration of returning OFWs to the Philippines.
He stressed that the OFWs' rights and welfare will also be protected in accordance with Philippine laws and regulations and those prevailing in the Canadian provinces.
"The forging of agreements with the Canadian provinces is a milestone in the national efforts to ensure decent working conditions and the continuous training and successful reintegration of OFWs," he said, adding "the government is managing migration in such a way that the interests of OFWs in Canada will be well protected."
Canada's interest for OFWs underscores its recognition of the Filipinos' capability to help address its skills shortages. Alberta, for instance, has a booming oil and gas industry and is projected to be requiring around 400,000 workers in the next two years.
British Columbia, on the other hand, will be in need of hospitality and construction workers as it gears itself to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. It wants to attract 30,000 contract and permanent migrant workers with specific skills per year.
Canada is also in need of workers in the healthcare and education sectors. For more details, the DoLE-POEA Desk can be reached through its hotline number (02) 523-3633 or e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Information and Publication Service, Department of Labor
Thanks to breech for the heads up.