DOLE eyeing ‘unli’ OFW deployment to Canada

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    THE Philippine government is eyeing a government-to-government deployment agreement with Canada to facilitate the employment of “unlimited” number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

    Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the Philippines and Canadian government have an existing joint communiqué “that will pave the way for the deployment of skilled workers there.”

    “Unlimited. They have a huge requirement. They need a lot of skilled workers. We are planning to deploy on a government to government basis,” Bello told reporters.

    “We will adopt a government to government arrangement for us to be able to deploy our overseas workers with minimum requirements,” he said.

    In particular, Bello said the Canadian province of Yukon is in need of nurses, caregivers, hotel workers, machine operators, cooks and chefs, and engineers.

    Aside from the high demand for workers, Bello said he is also encouraged by the good feedback from OFWs already working in Canada regarding their working conditions.

    “In my conversation with the Filipino community there, it seems that our workers there are well protected. Not a single Filipino worker or OFW gave a negative comment of their stay there. They all appear to be very prosperous,” he said.

    “If it were up to me, I would want all our OFWs to just work there. Because everybody is happy. Not a single person stood up to complaint,” he added.

    Bello said the respective labor departments of the Philippines and Canada have formed their respective technical working groups to discuss and prepare the bilateral agreement, as well as the contract template of employment.

    “We are talking of a timeline as early as November (for deployment),” said Bello.

    To note, Yukon is the smallest and westernmost of Canada’s three territories, and has the smallest population of any province or territory in the country, with 35,874 people.

    Aside from Yukon, Bello said they are also looking at expanding the deployment program to British Columbia, also in Canada.

    “I am in discussion with the deputy minister of labor of Vancouver,” related Bello.

    Records show that there are nearly 100,000 OFWs based in Canada.