Thursday, January 31, 2008


RP, Canada sign labor accord

Needed: 30,000 skilled workers a year RP, Canada sign labor agreement; British Columbia needs 30,000 workers a year
Charissa M. Luci
The Canadian government has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Philippines to address the shortage of skilled workers in the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Canadian Ministry of Economic Development said yesterday.
Canadian Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen and Labor Secretary Arturo Brion signed the accord last Jan. 29. The agreement seeks to strengthen relations between British Columbia (BC) employers and Philippine recruiters.
"The British Columbia economy is growing at a rate faster than the overall Canadian economy and definitely faster than the overall American economy," Hansen said.
The agreement caters to Canadian companies engaged in tourism and hospitality, retail, and construction industries that are in need of skilled workers.
"To maintain this momentum, we need to attract 30,000 workers per year with specific skills from outside British Columbia," he said.
Secretary Brion said the Philippine government is receptive to partnering on international recruitment.
"Our agreement with BC truly confirms the opening of a new chapter of sharing Filipino labor with other countries through contract migration," he said.
Earl Wilde, president of the BC Hotel Association, said the memorandum of understanding will provide British Columbia employers "effective, quicker access to foreign workers."
"We are looking to attract temporary or permanent immigrants in areas where we have labor shortages," he said.
The Philippines is the third largest source country for immigrants to British Columbia, the Canadian Ministry of Economic Development said.
It said the memorandum is a commitment under WorkBC, the provincial action plan to address skills shortages in the Canadian province.
With more than a million new job openings expected over the next 12 years, and only 650,000 young people in the K-12 school system, meeting labor market demands will be a key challenge over the coming decade, the ministry said.
It said by 2011, the majority of Canada’s labor force growth is expected to come from immigration.