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Canada recognizes Filipinos' contribution in healthcare, nation-building

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com
Canada recognizes Filipinos' contribution in healthcare, nation-building
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joins the Filipino community at a Filipino Heritage Month reception in Ottawa on June 12, 2023.
Twitter / Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

MANILA, Philippines — As Canada celebrates Filipino Heritage Month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he recognizes Filipinos’ contribution in the healthcare and nation-building in the country as it “continues to be one of the fastest growing communities.”

Canada is currently home to almost one million individuals of Filipino descent or around 2.59% of its population. The International Labor Organization notes that there are over 10 million Filipinos living abroad and at least or over a million leave the country yearly for work. 

“I also want to thank the community for the essential roles you played on the frontlines of the pandemic response and everything you continue to do to keep our most vulnerable, healthy – caregivers, nurses, doctors, small businesses, and community volunteers, thank you for all you do,” Trudeau said at a Filipino Heritage Month reception in Ottawa. 

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He noted that Filipinos there continue to be driven by the Filipino value of “bayanihan” or by having a strong sense of community. 

Trudeau also recognized the plight of Asian-Americans following the pandemic, which spurred  instances of Asian hate. According to ABS-CBN’s iWant TFC report in April 2022, reports for anti-Asian incidents increased by 32% in 2021. There were 943 reported incidents, half of which reportedly happened in public, but there was also an increase in reports of online hate and racism. 

“This is unacceptable, we will continue to stand up against any form of racism and hate because we know and you are the embodiment of it that diversity is our strength,” Trudeau said. 

Canada recently relaxed visa requirements for some Filipinos, allowing those who have been issued a Canadian visa in the past 10 years or those with a valid US non-immigrant visa to qualify for an electronic travel authorization (eTA) instead of a visa. 

This means qualified Filipinos would no longer need to apply for a visa if they are travelling by air, while the eTA will only cost CAN$7 or around P293. The Canadian embassy in the Philippines also said most applications are automatically approved in minutes. 

“We also know that many of you have relatives in the Philippines and like Minister Fraiser said earlier, we are making it easier for you to see them by introducing visa-free air travel from the Philippines and with our Indo-Pacific strategy with countries in this region,” Trudeau said.  — with reports from Xave Gregorio

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