Why are we de-skilled in Canada?

Community News & Features Nov 16, 2004 at 1:41 pm

By Cecile Jayme

IMAGINE yourself in the throes of changes when you land in Canada – a new lifestyle, new environment, new culture, new everything. Like so many stories heard everyday of the struggle of each immigrant, one stands out: employment opportunities such as the one you left behind in the Philippines is not available to you!

The Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) held a conference on October 30, 2004 at the Metro Hall. Participants for the workshop “Access to Trades, Professions and Employment” brought their stories to the table. Significant amongst these stories were the employment opportunities that were applied for had nothing to do with the participants’ qualifications and skills they had back home.

Furthermore, the education and professional development were not accredited to Canada’s educational point system. Some participants had to start from manual labor to white-collar jobs that they never experienced in the Philippines. And many more woes that changed their lifestyle, their difficulty in adjustment to their environment and the culture they experience in their daily lives.

We bring with us the vision that Canada is a land of plenty, a land of opportunities. There is a need to internalize these beliefs and carry on with who we are, what we can do and integrate ourselves and our family to the Canadian system. We bring with us our skills and qualifications developed from our experiences and education. We need to keep our self-respect and continue proving our self-worth. We need, as a community, to stand together and be united; let us lessen fragmentation by forgetting our crab mentality. With our community, we need to create a network to help ourselves to our professions and our educational accreditation through networking.

CASJ will officially document and make a presentation submitting these recommendations integrating our experiences to the City of Toronto, to the provincial, then the parliament government of Canada.
The participants were given resources from representatives of PROMPT and NOW.

Lilia Concepcion of PROMPT (Policy Roundtable Mobilizing Professions and Trades), shared with CASJ the process their group underwent and where they presently are. She said that the regulatory bodies of professional associations are autonomous and have no connection to the government system. What we need to keep in mind is that the government’s objective is to protect Canadians in their professions and therefore will listen to the professional associations and their needs. What CASJ can do is continuously present their recommendations and to all government ministries and political parties. With this in mind, CASJ is protecting themselves from government system and political changes and still have their recommendations “on the table” for solutions.

Voltaire de Leon of NOW (Newcomers Opportunities for Workers) offers his association’s services. Individuals applying for positions will be placed as volunteers for a period of time; statistically, he said that 60% are employed before their program ends. Unsuccessful placement is due to proving English competency and how to communicate. NOW cross-references his clients with other agencies with the same mission.

CASJ is an umbrella group of organizations and individuals committed to social justice. It aims to help redress the grievances of the vulnerable and the disadvantaged members and sectors of the Filipino community and help eliminate institutionalized oppression.

Help yourself and make the Filipino community strong. Act now and start networking! Join CASJ and help unify and strengthen our community effectively. For more information, email casj_canada@yahoo.ca