The story of Filipino migration to Canada is a fascinating journey through time, taking us from the first signs of Filipino presence in the 1890s to the steady flow of immigrants that continues to this day. This story is filled with challenges, triumphs and a tireless desire to seek a better future for generations to come. In this article, we will explore the evolution of immigration from the Philippines to Canada and how this community has contributed to the rich cultural diversity of the North American country.

immigration from the Philippines to Canada

The Beginning: 1890s

The first signs of a Filipino presence in Canada date back to the 1890s. Although this community was small at the time, it represented the beginning of a lasting connection between the Philippines and Canada. These early immigrants probably came from the United States, and their reasons for settling in Canada ranged from economic opportunities to the search for a new home.

1960s: A Significant Shift

It was in the 1960s that Filipino migration to Canada underwent a significant change. In 1965, a total of 1,467 Filipinos entered Canada, almost double the number admitted in the previous two decades. What caused this increase? The answer lies in Canada’s immigration policy, which focused on the country’s labor needs. This policy allowed skilled and educated Filipinos to arrive in Canada in large numbers, ready to contribute to the Canadian workforce and society.

1970s: Mass Emigration

The 1970s saw massive emigration from the Philippines to Canada. Overpopulation, economic hardship and political circumstances in the Philippines led to more people seeking a better future in Canada. The declaration of martial law in 1972 also encouraged many people to seek opportunities abroad. By 1995, more than 220,000 Filipinos had arrived in Canada as landed immigrants. These immigrants were seeking not only economic opportunities, but also the hope of providing a better future for their families.

Family Reunification Program: Union in Canada

An important feature of Filipino migration to Canada is the Family Reunification Program. Once settled in Canada, many Filipino immigrants were able to bring their families with them, allowing families to reunite and establish roots in a new country. This program provided an opportunity to bring parents and children together, strengthening family ties in a completely new environment.

The 1980s and the Live-in Caregiver Program

In the 1980s, the type of immigrants in need in Canada changed. In response, the federal government introduced the Live-in Caregiver Program, which allowed more than 30,000 Filipinos to immigrate to Canada between 1982 and 1991. Many of these hired caregiver workers became landed immigrants under this program, contributing significantly to Canadian society.

Subsequent Decades: Independent Immigrants

From 1992 onwards, Filipino migration to Canada has continued steadily. Between 10,000 and 20,000 Filipinos enter Canada each year, strengthening the Filipino community in the country. The Philippines has become the leading source country for “independent immigrants” to Canada, selected for their skills and potential to contribute to Canadian society and the economy.

The Latest: Philippine Contributions in Canada

The 2011 National Household Survey confirmed the importance of Filipino migration to Canada. During the period from 2011 to 2016, the Philippines became the most common country of origin for new immigrants, with 15.6% of all immigrants arriving from the Philippines. This underscores the enduring influence of the Filipino community in Canada and its pivotal role in building a diverse and multicultural nation.

A Journey of Hope and Contribution

The story of Filipino migration to Canada is a testimony of hope and perseverance. Over the years, Filipino immigrants have contributed significantly to Canadian society and economy. Their search for economic opportunities and a better future for their families has left an indelible mark on Canada, which continues to thrive thanks to the cultural diversity and tireless work of this community. Migration from the Philippines to Canada is more than a chapter in history, it is a legacy of tenacity and contribution that will endure for generations.

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Calgary Filipino Group