RP, Manitoba renew OFW deployment agreement

The flag of the Canadian province of Manitoba,...Image via WikipediaProspective overseas Filipino workers in Canada – especially those in health, agricultural production, hotel and restaurant, and construction – stand to benefit from a renewed labor agreement between the Philippines and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

Department of Labor (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz signed the renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Manitoba's Department of Labour and Immigration (LIM).

“This MOU is closely aligned to the overarching goal of President Benigno S. Aquino III to invest and develop our human resources to make us more competitive and employable. It is also in line with the 22-point labor and employment agenda which, among others, calls for expanded protection of our OFWs," Baldoz said in an article on the DOLE website, after the signing.

Baldoz said that with the new RP-Manitoba agreement and the improving world economy, more OFWs may be deployed to Manitoba starting this year.

She said Filipino workers from the health, agricultural production, hotel, and restaurant and construction sectors will continue to be in demand in Manitoba.

“We hope that the MOU will result not only to the increased protection of Filipino workers being deployed to Manitoba, but more importantly, to the facilitation of the recruitment and hiring process, which in turn would enable the Philippines to get a bigger share of the projected demand of Manitoba for approximately 20,000 workers by 2016," Baldoz said.

Baldoz signed the agreement for the Philippines while Premier Greg Selinger signed on behalf of Manitoba.

Selinger flew in to Manila to sign the MOU and to lead a delegation seeking to explore trade, investment, and cultural cooperation with the Philippines.

The renewed agreement is a follow-through of the initial MOU signed by the DOLE and Manitoba in 2008.

It provides a framework for the partnership and collaboration between the Philippines and Manitoba in the recruitment and deployment of skilled OFWs to Manitoba, in their protection, and in the further development of human resources.

Baldoz said that with the MOU, the recruitment and deployment of OFWs for Manitoba that began in 2008 will be sustained, adding it is a testimony to the continued preference of Manitoba employers for OFWs.

Under the MOU, both parties will work together to enable Filipino workers to enter Manitoba under a process that is effective and clearly communicated to employers and workers alike.

The shared priorities for collaboration and cooperation under the new MOU are:
  • Ensure that the need of Manitoba employers for Filipino workers with appropriate skills are met through training and credential-recognition activities;

  • Expedite the approval of selected workers for employment opportunities in Manitoba, including efforts to support the work of the Canadian visa office in Manila it the processing of worker workers’ permits and visas;

  • Promote sound, ethical, and equitable recruitment and employment practices;

  • Share information to support initiatives, subject to privacy laws of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of Manitoba, Canada; and

  • On prior agreement, explore the role for the International Organization for Migration to support the foregoing initiatives.
Both parties also agree to regularly determine other priority areas for collaboration and cooperation.

Under the RP-Manitoba agreement, 91 OFWs were deployed to the Canadian province in 2008. Deployment rose to 162 in 2009, 44 percent higher than the 2008 deployment.

Of the total deployed in 2009, 61 percent were nurses, 23 percent were production workers, and 16 percent were service workers.

In pursuing the areas of collaboration and cooperation under the MOU the DOLE and the LIM agree to act in compliance with their respective laws and regulations.

These include the Employment Standards Code, the Worker Recruitment and Protection Act, and the Workplace Safety and Health Act on the part of Manitoba; and the Philippine Labor Code, as amended, and the 2002 POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Land-Based Overseas Workers implementing R. A. 8042, as well as amendments to such legislation on the part of the Philippines. — LBG/RSJ, GMANews.TV
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