Canada is quickly becoming the favoured country for Immigration from the Philippines. There are recent data to back up this claim.
The 2016 Canadian census on Immigration and ethnocultural diversity placed the Philippines as the third most popular source of Canadian Immigrants. In total, 588,305 or 7.8% of all immigrants, had the Philippines as their place of birth. For recent immigrants (2011-2016), the Philippines was first with 188,805- or 15.6% of all immigrants hailing from the country.
It was also the third largest source country for Permanent Residents (Table 2) in 2019, accounting for 27,818 or 8% of all Permanent residents admitted that year. It has consistently ranked in the top three source countries for Immigration into Canada.
The same census ranked Tagalog the third largest spoken language among Canadian immigrants, after Mandarin and Cantonese. It was the most spoken immigrant language in the provinces of Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It was also among the top 5 immigrant languages spoken in the major cities of Vancouver (81,105) and Toronto (164,030).
This relationship is evident in that many aspects of Filipino culture are quickly gaining mainstream acceptance, be it food, traditions, festivals or local practices. A famous example is the Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee which has grown to 26 locations in Canada since its entrance in 2016.
The history of Immigration from the Philippines to Canada
Filipino Immigration picked up in the 1990s as a result of shortages in the Canadian labour market. Many Filipinos moved to Canada and contributed to filling in labour gaps, serving prominently in critical care provider roles like nursing, which remains heavily associated with the Canadian Filipino community. Today, Filipino heritage is well represented in Canada’s major urban centres like Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton.
What is the Filipino population in Canada?
The Embassy of the Philippines in Ottawa reports over 837,130 people of Filipino ethnic origin based on the 2016 census. They comprise the fourth largest visible minority after South Asian, Chinese and Black minorities.
Where can I find other Filipinos in Canada?
Most Filipinos reside in the urban centres for economic opportunities and socialization, but this is not to say you won’t encounter others in the not-so-popular provinces. Below is a breakdown of the Filipino population in each province, according to the 2016 census data.
|Province/Territory||Total Population||Recent Immigrants from the Philippines (2011-2016)|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||1,390||855|
|Prince Edward Island||670||375|
Now that we know the most popular provinces, the cities with the largest Filipino populations were:
Why moving to Canada is ideal
Canada is a perfect immigration destination for a host of reasons. The country has maintained a pro-immigration stance over recent decades and welcomed over 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021. The trend is set to continue, with the most recent 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan targeting around 431,645 new permanent residents in 2022.
The IRCC’s Telephone Tracking survey data of March 2021, which tracks Canadian opinions on Immigration, showed that:
- Over 60% of Canadians felt the number of immigrants in Canada was about right.
- 14% Felt that the number of immigrants coming in was too few.
- 22% Felt that the number of immigrants coming in was too much.
This largely positive reception of immigrants is the first of many reasons to move to Canada from the Philippines. We take a deeper dive into other conditions that justify this move.
The standard of living, stable socio-political conditions, and environmental factors are a major part of Canada’s appeal. The conditions allow people and businesses to thrive and improve overall outcomes. This is true when comparing the two nations side-by-side in some essential indexes.
- Canada ranked 49th and the Philippines 158th out of 180 surveyed countries in the 2022 Environmental Performance Index, which compares countries based on factors like Ecosystem vitality, Health and Climate Policy.
- Canada ranked 15th, and the Philippines ranked 116th out of 191 countries in the UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI). The index is based on a country’s Healthcare, Access to education and general Standard of Living.
- The Global Innovation Index placed Canada 15th and the Philippines 59th among 132 economies in 2022.
- Canada ranked 23rd in the World Bank’s last Ease of Doing Business report in 2019. The Philippines ranked 95th.
Opportunities- job vacancies and the job market situation in 2022
Economic reasons are a significant driver of Immigration worldwide, including from the Philippines to Canada.
Statistics Canada‘s data showed that Filipino Canadians have some of the highest employment rates. The 2021 study, conducted during the pandemic, found that nearly three-quarters or 76.4%, of Filipino Canadians, were employed in some capacity. This includes 77.2% of Filipino women- among the highest rates of women employment among minority groups in Canada. Almost one-third of Filipino women were employed in the health care and social assistance industry and played a critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The unemployment rate for Filipino Canadians at 5.5% was also lower than that other non-visible minority Canadians.
The current scenario surrounding the Canadian job market is one of scarcity. Statistics Canada placed the job vacancy figures across all sectors at 997,000 for the second quarter of 2022- the highest for a quarter. It translates to higher workforce demand and, ultimately, more Immigration. Consequently, the Canadian government’s Immigration Levels Plan 2022-24 targets 431,645 new permanent resident admissions in 2022 alone. Potential immigrants from the Philippines stand to gain from this increased demand.
The overwhelming presence of Filipinos in certain caregiver and health sectors is advantageous to potential immigrants as they already have existing paths for Immigration through these routes.
The Canadian Education system
Canada boasts a modern and world-renowned education system that attracts international students worldwide. A 2021 Statistics Canada report had the number of Study permit holders at 621,600.
The Canadian government heavily subsidizes and funds public education across all three levels, Primary, Secondary and Post-Secondary. The country has a robust education system, and according to the 2016 census, 54% of Canadians between 25-64 had a college or university qualification. The proportion of college and University graduates was the highest among OECD countries.
Many Immigrant families move to Canada for its affordable, quality education that can lead to better opportunities and self-actualization, which is not available in most poorer countries.
Another factor that makes Canada an appealing destination is its accessible health care. Canada’s publicly funded universal health care system offers universal coverage for medically necessary hospital and doctor services. The process requires an individual to apply for a health card (Care Cards) with their province or territory to access health care services.
The 2021 Global Health Security Index, which measures a country’s capacity to tackle epidemics and pandemics, gave Canada an index score of 69.8 to rank 4th out of 195 countries. In comparison, the Philippines scored 45.7 to rank 57th.
Canada had an overall score of 0.80 with a rank of 12th out of 139 countries in the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, which factors in constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, Open Government, Fundamental rights, Order and security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice and Criminal justice. This compares favourably to the Philippines, which was ranked 102nd.
Cultural factors and Food
Given Canada’s popularity among Filipino immigrants, it is not hard to find little nuggets of Filipino culture sprinkled across the entire country. The community has done an incredible job of crafting a niche for itself. Major attractions like the Taste of Manila- a giant street festival, showcase Filipino culture and helps to further the country’s multicultural fabric.
Filipino cuisine is another important aspect of Filipino identity in Canada. Its popularity is gaining traction and not just within the Filipino community. Nowadays, you can find the smells and taste of Filipino cuisine in any major Canadian city- be it a Family Lechon or a late-night chicken adobo take-out. Filipino restaurants, food trucks and grocery stores are opening across Canada.
As a new immigrant, having the comfort of familiar food can be the difference between an enjoyable newcomer experience or a difficult transition. This cultural connection is a compelling reason to choose Canada.
Favourable Exchange rates
Qualified Filipinos can access more professional opportunities and better incomes in Canada. It is no surprise that the Philippines is one of Canada’s top five destinations for remittances. According to Statistics Canada, remittances from Canada to the Philippines accounted for $1.2 billion in 2017.
The last reason to move to Canada is the presence of a distinct Filipino culture and diaspora. Alienation is a big fear of any immigrant willing to uproot and restart their life in a foreign country. This is not the case here, with many of the most popular Canadian cities already having sizeable Filipino populations.
A combination of all these factors, attitudes and culture make Canada a very compelling destination. The immigration situation has never been better in the Philippines to Canada context.
We love to hear from the immigrant perspective. Feel free to share your opinions, personal experiences and unique snippets about immigrant life in Canada.