Installation of Officers
District Deputy SK Wilfred Gomez, PGK, PFN DD, installed the 2014-2015 officers of the Prince of Peace Council # 9144 in the Prince of Peace Church in Scarborough.
The officer installed are: Grand Knight SK Keith Coutinho, SK Greg Saldanha, DGK, SK Jaime Marasigan, Chancellor; Bro. Rommel Acayan, Financial Secretary; SK Andrew Anyaele, Treasurer; Bro. David Mathias, Recorder; Bro. Allan Figueiredo, Warden; SK Seth Aniceto, Advocate; Trustees SK Berty Nadarajah, SK George R. Poblete, SK Ed Prillo ; and Guard Bro. Jack Feng.
KC # 9144 Appreciation Night
SK Keith Coutinho, Grand Knight, honored the Knights, Ladies and Friends who supported the Prince of Peace Council in the successful Fraternal Year 2013-2014. The Prince of Peace Council # 9144 have been actively helping the Church, Community, Families, and the Youth in Scarborough.
Other awardees include:
Knight of the Month: SK Berty Nadarajah, SK Donald Ajoku, SK Seth Aniceto, Bro. Joe Angeles and Bro. Gerry da Silva
Family of the Month: SK Ed Prillo, Bro. Allan Figueiredo, Bro. Rommel Acayan, SK George R. Poblete and Bro. Eli Pascua.
Certificate of Merit and Appreciation were also presented to the following major supporters of KC # 9144: They include: Thelma Antazo, Pat Martyn, Bro. Tom Mitrovski, Fr. Regulo Imperial, Ellen Ahong, SK Jake Apacible, Fatima Sequeira and Kayla Ver/ Angela Lopez.
Grand Knight SK Keith Countinho, they expressed their appreciation to the aboeve Knights, ladies and friends who made a major contributionto the success of the KC Council # 9144.
SK George R. Poblete, PGK, FDD, PFN and his active committee managed this Appreciation Night. All the guests also enjoyed the delicious and sumptuous dinner after the awarding ceremony.
We sought comments from Dr. Salimah Valiani, labour researcher and author of the book,
Rethinking Unequal Exchange: The Global Integration of Nursing labour Markets; and
from Petronila Cleto, Secretary-General of GABRIELA Ontario. -– Editor
• Kenney misleading public on LCP — GATES
• ‘Changes’ do not alter TFWP fundamentally — Migrante BC
• Temporary status breeds super exploitation — Dr. Salimah Valiani
• GABRIELA Ontario on Jason Kenney’s ‘announcement’
• Tory gov’t mum on LCP review process]]>
Dr. Salimah Valiani’s comments on the 2014 reforms of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program(TFWP) and Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP):
I agree with Migrante (BC) that “Under these “changes”, migrant workers are generally still where they are – being used, abused, and then disposed of”, but I would add that this is the case for BOTH so-called ‘low wage’ and ‘high wage’ migrant workers. We should not be fooled by the new line being drawn by government between low wage and high wage temporary migrant workers. All temporary migrant workers in Canada tend to earn lower wages than Canada-based workers—whether so-called low-skilled, skilled or high-skilled. In fact, those entering Canada with more formal education have higher income differentials relative to their Canada-based colleagues. A June 2010 Statistics Canada study demonstrated that while a Canadian-born worker with a university degree earned 674 dollars per week more than a Canadian-born worker without a degree in 2006, a temporary migrant worker with a degree earned 512 dollars more per week, and a temporary migrant worker from a country of the global South earned only 196 dollars more per week. So the scrutiny to be applied only to the use of migrant workers in ‘low wage’ occupations in the reformed TFWP misses (a) the key problem, which is that temporary immigration status breeds super-exploitation, and (b) the key goal, which is equality and permanent residency for all.
On the whole, this reform is about the coming federal elections, and the need of the Conservatives to appear to be championing the rights of Canadian workers. In its typical racist style, the Conservative Party is using the reform of the TFWP – which had become a demand from all quarters – to draw a division between ‘Canadian workers’ and ‘foreign workers’. Through the reform, the Conservatives are reserving dwindling job opportunities in Canada for unemployed workers based in Canada. In this sense, Canadian unions which were concerned narrowly with the replacement of local workers with temporary migrants have gotten their way through this reform. But those unions and others concerned about full rights and entitlements for all workers know the reform is woefully inadequate. It does nothing to welcome workers making much needed contributions as permanent residents. In the Maritimes, for example, there are even employers who favour offering permanent residency to temporary migrants because they are vital to building communities where there are actual labour shortages, including in so-called ‘low wage’ occupations.
Another area in which the reform is likely to be inadequate is in curbing workplace abuse of temporary migrant workers. The government claims it will hire more federal labour inspectors who will do spot checks of employers with temporary migrants on staff – one out of every four of such workplaces. Within the context of massive cuts of the federal public service under the Conservative government – some 7.5 billion dollars or 60,000 jobs between 2007 and 2014 – it is hard to believe that money will be spent on new labour inspectors. This must be watched, but even so, one of every four workplaces is a poor ratio for situations in which abuse has been proven to be widespread: everything from the removal of passports of temporary migrant workers by employers to the lack of enforcement of safety standards for temporary migrants in Canada.
In terms of Jason Kenney’s most recent pronouncement that the Live-in Caregiver Program is being used for back door family reunification – this is nothing but the usual for Jason Kenney. As retired senior CIC official Andrew Griffith (2013) has documented in his book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism, anecdotes and popular sentiment are used as a basis for policy making rather than facts. Kenney was recently in Manila and claims he heard questions from people going to work for family members under the LCP. Most likely from this, he has concluded that this is the case for everyone or most in the LCP. For sure there are some workers who come to Canada to care for family members under the LCP. This is because like other employers in the LCP, these ‘relatives’ need caregivers for their children or elders in the family, and the federal or/and provincial governments are not providing adequate public care services for these needs. But as in other cases of the LCP, LCP workers employed by relatives face abuse – given the temporary immigration status, the requirement to live-in, and the power differential that goes along with these. Added to these are family dynamics and histories, and we know there is a history of violence for women in families of all kinds in Canada. In focus groups I did with LCP workers across the country, some of the most harrowing accounts of abuse were told by those working for relatives in Canada. Is this what Kenney means by ‘back door family reunification’?
**For more analysis of so-called high skilled temporary labour migration in Canada, see my opinion piece at
Contrary to claims made by Employment Minister Jason Kenney, very few people are using the live-in caregiver program for family reunification.
As detailed in media reports late last month, Jason Kenney claimed that Filipino families are abusing the live-in caregiver program by using it as a backdoor family-reunification program.
However, a new national study funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council shows these claims to be incorrect. The study finds that only one in ten live-in caregivers surveyed was recruited by relatives, a number that has actually been in decline over the past 10 years.
“The reality is that the vast majority of live-in caregivers we surveyed came to Canada through employment agencies,” says Dr. Ethel Tungohan, co-investigator of the Gabriela Transitions Experiences Survey and postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Alberta. “There is little credible evidence that backs up Minister Kenney’s claims.”
The national study of live-in caregivers was conducted last year. 61% of those arriving within the last 5 years said they were recruited by employment agencies. 27% were hired directly by non-relatives. Only 11% of recent live-in caregivers said they were hired by relatives, compared to 14% for those who arrived between 5 and 10 years ago.
“Why does any family turn to the live-in caregiver program?” asked Tungohan, “It’s because of an absence of childcare options. “We need to ask real questions about these programs, instead of stoking fears about immigration.”
(GATES Press Release)]]>
The “changes” did not fundamentally alter the program. These did not address the need for permanent immigration, with its pathway to citizenship, instead of labour migration.The “changes” made sure that the TFWP was a program of guest workers.
TFWs are still being tied to their employers, a locked-in situation which makes for the precarious situation that migrant workers find themselves in, a situation that creates the vulnerability for abuse and exploitation. The many cases of abuses by employers and recruiters, violations of employment standards and workers’ and human rights, including the right to organize have been documented and publicized by migrant advocates, labour federations, and academics, but have largely been ignored by government.
Fees have been increased. The time limits for workers have been reduced. The National Occupational Classification and the skill levels have been replaced by low-wage/high wage levels. The Labour Market Opinion has been replaced by the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which still needs to be filed by employers and which still needs to be approved by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), which everyone knew from before as Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC).
However, effective immediately, ESDC will not process LMIAs in the Accommodation, Food Services and Retail Trade sectors. These will include food counter attendants, cashiers, grocery clerks, janitors, cleaners, security guards, construction trade helpers and labourers. ESDC also will not process applications for positions that require little or no education or training in economic regions with an unemployment rate at or above six percent.
The new “changes” have essentially divided the TFWP program into those workers needing an LMIA to get their work permit to enter Canada and those under the new International Mobility Program (IMP) who enter Canada with no barriers to employment, no required LMIA, and with the right to bring their own families – and they can choose to work anywhere and for anyone, regardless of wage levels. They can even apply to work at McDonald’s and Tim Hortons, if they so choose.
What programs have remained untouched as of this date are the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program and the Live-In Caregiver Program. Under these programs, migrant workers work and live in precarious situations and are rendered vulnerable to potential and real abuse because of the inherent structural features of the programs. It is also a reality that these workers toil far away from the public eye, either out in the farms or inside the privacy of homes. These are also jobs that no locals are willing or interested in doing. Undeniably, farm lobby organizations are very powerful and will not let any government changes harm their business and profits.
Under these “changes”, migrant workers are generally still where they are – being used, abused, and then disposed of. — MIGRANTE BC
It implies firstly, that Filipinos, though they are citizens, don’t have the same right to be employers as other Canadians do. Secondly, a nastier implication, is that Filipinos should be barred from any benefit of Canada’s family reunification policy outside of the conditional terms set in the LCP. That is, the only Filipino who can aspire to benefit from Canada’s family reunification policy is she who must go through the two years of indentured service in order to deserve it. Again, this means that the Filipino who is a Canadian citizen has limited rights in pursuing efforts for family reunification. Outside of the Family Class sponsorship process, such a pursuit is looked at as shady.
Minister’s Kenney’s profiling of Filipinos is obviously to be a new ploy to grind back the LCP into the Temporary Foreign Worker ghetto. That ghetto has long been in anomalous existence, where abuse by employers and recruiters are rampant, and where the protection promised by monitoring of the workplace has not gone through in the past. Safeguards for the protection of temporary workers, and LCP workers are just a special category, are unlikely to happen, as Professor Salimah Valiana observes, given federal cuts to the budget for services.
This kind of profiling of Filipinos has been obvious for a long time. Many researchers will agree with Professor Valiani that this belies that distinction government makes between low-skilled Filipino workers and high-skilled Filipino workers. Such profiling is profitably used to maneuver in the lowering of wages and salaries for all Filipinos and other people of colour.
Again, why are there only a few non-coloured people in domestic work, farm work and food services? The income from such work has been brought down precisely because they have been connected with people of colour. These jobs now belong to the ghetto. A government that has denied its mothers a decent day-care system, and has made the farm industry and food industry dependent on the exploitation of foreign workers has successfully completed another maneuver. Now when other workers take these jobs, they have to bend low. But how long can workers stay blind to this?
Secretary-General, GABRIELA Ontario
The federal government would not divulge to media details of how it is reviewing the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP).
The Philippine Reporter inquired with the offices Employment Minister Jason Kenney and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, about how the review process is being undertaken after news reports have speculated that the LCP is next to be reformed. This is after the federal government last June 20 announced sweeping reforms to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) which includes the LCP as one stream.
At the June 20 announcement, when Alexander was asked what’s next for the LCP, he said: “We are not reforming it (the LCP) today. … We will continue to look at a reform in this area. Expect plans in that respect to come forward. I can’t tell when but it will be an area of focus for us down the road.”
In recent days, Kenney was quoted in the media as saying that the LCP has “run out of control” as it has been used as a backdoor for family reunification. He noted that some live-in caregivers are being hired by their own relatives.
But a research team that has recently conducted a study on Filipino live-in caregivers refuted Kenney’s statement.
A government-funded study called Gabriela Transitions Experiences Survey (GATES) has revealed that “only one in ten live-in caregivers surveyed was recruited by relatives,” the research team said in a media statement. (See press release on page 5.) The statement added that this number “has actually been in decline over the past 10 years.”
“The reality is that the vast majority of live-in caregivers we surveyed came to Canada through employment agencies,” said Dr. Ethel Tungohan, co-investigator of the Gabriela Transitions Experiences Survey and postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Alberta. “There is little credible evidence that backs up Minister Kenney’s claims.”
GATES is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
Asked for details on the basis for Kenney’s statement, his office referred The Philippine Reporter to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
CIC spokesperson Alexis Pavlich emailed The Philippine Reporter: “We are not going to comment and speculate on hypotheticals. We are always reviewing our immigration programs to ensure that they are working in Canada’s best interests.”
The LCP program is the only stream in the TFW program that allows TFWs to apply for permanent residency after completing some requirements.]]>
By Rachelle Cruz
It was full house at the annual GMA-sponsored Pinoy Fiesta and Trade Show last June 28 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. In celebration of Philippine Independence Day, the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation’s community-based fiesta kicked off featuring local talents Canadian Idol Martha Joy; award-winning vocalist Lilac Cana, and former Broadway “Miss Saigon” performer Emilio Zarris; including ballad singer Bong Castillo. Culture Philippines of Ontario, a premiere Filipino Dance Company didn’t miss a beat in celebrating the culture with Tinikling and Singkil, decked out in traditional garb and colourful accessories. The icing on the cake was a performance, including a meet and greet with fans of Kapuso actress Lovi Poe.
“Our aim is to promote Filipino culture, arts, heritage and also charity. So what do we bring to the community? We bring the best Pinoy entertainment while at the same time, we are able to donate to the needy in the Philippines,” Rosemer Enverga, Pageant Director and PCCF officer expressed. Tickets were sold for $15; and kids under 10 could get in for free, with proceeds going to PCCF that supports various community charitable projects.
“I am very proud to be able to bring the Filipino culture to the mainstream. This is the only community event where I and my husband are involved in that has been going on now for more than 10 years,” she added.
Later in the day, Senator Tobias C. Enverga, Jr. also made an announcement that Canada once again will extend its generosity to Philippines by providing $800,000 in new humanitarian assistance funding to the International Organization for Migration, to help conflict-afflicted families suffering from decades of ongoing fighting in southern Philippines.
With more good news to come, the spirits remained high. The pageant competition drew in the biggest ticket, and garnered many screaming fans jumping to their feet as they cheered on and voted for their favourite candidate.
The 2014 Miss Philippines Canada winner Adrienne Eduria, 16, couldn’t contain her surprise and excitement, “I was definitely overwhelmed! I cried, but I’m just so thankful! but my experience has definitely been overwhelming. I got to meet new people, new best friends, and just thankful because this experience is once in a lifetime! I want to showcase that Filipinos are smart and we do give back to the community,” she said.
Of course it’s not a fiesta without a feast. The event had over 50 trade exhibitors, including Filipino concessions that served Philippine delicacies and all-time favourites like Pancit Palabok, Lechon, Halo-Halo, and Adobo.
“We are very happy to get a complimentary ticket. We came here for lunch, the food is so good. My cousin treated us to FV foods!” Concepcion Cabanes Diaz, North York resident, said.
Illustrated by Jojo Sabalvaro-Tan
My graduating class of 1965 of the University of the Philippines Preparatory School loves reunions. The most beloved of these reunions and the ones that get us particularly excited are those that take us to countries outside of the Philippines. This wanderlust was instilled in us by our many high school field trips to different parts of the Philippines. Not only did our school open our eyes to the wonders of the Philippines but also the marvels of the rest of the world.
I’m sure, like me, my classmates were fascinated with the art, culture, architecture, music and food in the Americas, Europe, Africa and the rest of Asia. It is no surprise then that freed from the seemingly incessant family and career building we were challenged with for many of the years after we graduated from college, we jumped at the opportunity to hold reunions in different parts of the world.
In the past 15 years, our class held reunions in Los Angeles, New York, Niagara Falls, Vienna, Vancouver, BC, Mexico City, Chicago, Bangkok and Den Haag (The Hague).
The first reunion outside of the Philippines that I recall was a casual affair when classmates from the Philippines and Canada were coming to visit Los Angeles. Using the just developing electronic mail on the internet, an all-out invitation was broadcast to the rest of the class to join in and “crash on the floor” at classmate Daddie Albaladejo-Matic’s home.
A few years later, another classmate, Linglingay Fonacier-Lacanlale (currently Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs) invited the class to the 1999 Philippine Independence Ball in New York City where she was posted as Consul General. Classmates from the Philippines, Singapore, Canada and the United States came and it would mark, for most of us, the first time we would see some of our classmates since we graduated from college at the University of the Philippines in the late 60s and early 70s. The euphoria of that reunion lasted for years and still feeds our fervor to spend time with each other every opportunity we get.
For the coming golden anniversary of our graduation from high school, I am featuring sketches and notes from my watercolor travel journal of the places we visited as my classmates and I gathered outside of the Philippines.
The reunion at Niagara Falls in 2001, hosted by Philippine Reporter co-Founder Mila Astorga-Garcia, offered the thunderous magnificence of the Niagara Falls, the natural beauty of the quaint town of Niagara-on-the-Lake as well as the cosmopolitan character of Toronto. We picnicked along the banks of the lake as we told our life stories and expressed our gratitude for being given the abundant blessings of studying at UP Prep and henceforth, each other.
Hosted by our Vancouver-based classmates, we were treated to Vancouver’s multicultural living and its abundant natural beauty with the ocean and the mountains as backdrop. Crossing over to Vancouver Island on a ferry, we visited the breathtaking Butchart Gardens near the very British capital city, Victoria.
The mini reunion in Mexico City in 2003 was hosted by classmate Ruth Monserrate-Villareal. Mexico City was a surprise and delight for all of us as we experienced its historical and archeological treasures of the pyramids of Teotihuacan, among many others. Throwing ourselves into Mexican culture, we cruised on the colorful boats in Xochomilco, watched the swirling dancers of Ballet Folklorico, and mixed among the locals at Bazar Sabado. From Mexico City, we took a road trip to Acapulco where we enjoyed its seaside treats and then to Mexico’s silver capital, Taxco.
The 2007 reunion was held in Vienna with side trips to other areas in Austria such as Salzburg as well as to Budapest, Hungary and Prague, Czech Republic. Our classmate Linglingay Fonacier-Lacanlale who was serving as Ambassador hosted the event. The historical and cultural tour in Vienna allowed us to behold the baroque opulence and majesty of the Hapsburg Empire, the artistry of artists such as Mucha, Hundertwasser and Klimt and the music of Mozart and Strauss.
During the Vienna reunion, we also enjoyed a cruise along the Danube river stopping at Melk Monastery, with its impressive library, on our way to Salzkammergut and then on to Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart and the setting for the beloved musical ‘The Sound of Music.’ One of the most touching highlights was a thoughtful surprise from the Philippine Consul ad honorem to Salzburg, Baron Thomas Wagner who treated us to a live performance of music from ‘The Sound of Music’, when we visited Schloss Leopoldkron, the house used as the Von Trapp home in the movie
The Vienna reunion group also toured Prague and Budapest. In Prague, we visited the church where the Infant Jesus of Prague is venerated. Some tried the Pilsen beer at the Old Town Square, as we watched the oldest working astronomical clock in the world chime with its parade of Apostles and other figures. Inside the gothic Cathedral of St. Vitus, we admired the windows decorated by Czech Art Noveau artist Alfons Mucha.
The day before, we toured the twin cities of Buda and Pest in Hungary, located on opposite banks of the Danube, now simply known as Budapest. We had a chance to see how Herend porcelain is hand decorated, shopped for Hungarian embroidery, saw remnants of the World Wars and the communist era. We were most amused pronouncing the name of our lunch stop, Vendeclo a Zsakbamacskahoz, where we had Hungarian goulash.
After the official reunion the attendees dispersed into groups that continued to tour Italy and Berlin, Germany. And then finally, gathering up again to throw coins into the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
The party for the Chicago reunion in 2006, which I hosted, was held at the 44th floor of the iconic John Hancock building with sweeping views of Chicago’s skyline. The reunion group set sight on Chicago’s Navy Pier, China Town, Millennium Park (home of The Cloud Gate sculpture) and the shopping districts of Chicago – State Street and The Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue). The highlight was a cruise on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan which showcased Chicago’s architectural treasures and history. A taste of Chicago-style pizza and hotdogs introduced the flavors that made the city famous. This reunion was made special since it was also a celebration of the 70th birthday of our Everlasting class homeroom teacher, Ms. Fraternidad Mistica-Magdongon.
Following the Chicago reunion, a group of attendees took a road trip to South Dakota to view Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse’s monument, the Badlands, the buffalos roam in Custer National Park and in Wyoming, the Devil’s Tower.
Classmates from Canada and the Philippines were welcomed to Bangkok by Philippine Ambassador to Thailand Linglingay Fonacier-Lacanlale and her husband Eric. According to attendee Ana Urbina, in spite of the weather being hot and humid, they enjoyed exploring the religious sites of Bangkok such as the Grand Palace with its Emerald Buddha, the various temples including Wat Pho where coins are offered to the giant Reclining Buddha. Visits to the Erawan Museum, Vimanmek Teakwood Mansion and Ancient Siam rounded out their cultural experience. The entertainment level was cranked up a few more notches by the Follies Calypso Show with its talented female impersonators and then, at the Rose Garden where members of the group rode elephants.
Our classmate Atty. Dennis Morales decided to host a reunion in Den Haag (The Hague), Netherlands where his wife, Lulu, iwas then posted as Ambassador. Set for Spring of 2013, the official reunion was based in Den Haag and included a tour of various towns in the Netherlands and Belgium and an extended trip to France. Classmates from the Philippines, the United States, Canada and Europe tiptoed through the thousands of tulips in full bloom at the Keukenhof Gardens near Leyden, cruised the canals of Amsterdam, shopped for blue and white porcelain in Delft, visited the windmills in Kinderdijk, watched cheese being auctioned in Aalkmar and joined in the festivities when King Willem-Alexander ascended to the throne.
In Belgium, the Brussels’ Grande Place is indeed grand with its impressive square lined with 17th century buildings and colorfully accented by the daily flower markets. The visit to Brussels was highlighted by the dinner at the Philippine Embassy hosted by the Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, Victoria Bataclan. In Ghent, the group was impressed by Jan Van Eyck’s masterpiece, The Adoration of the Lamb, an altarpiece housed at the gothic St. Bavo’s Cathedral. And then, maximizing their adventures in Belgium, the group took pleasure in cruising the canals, walking the cobblestone streets, studying the medieval architecture and shopping for the hand-made Belgian lace of romantic and mysterious Bruges.
After the tour of Belgium, the group embarked on a tour of France’s Normandy and Brittany regions visiting the harbor town of Honfleur, the ancient walled port city of St. Malo, the medieval town of Bayeaux with the close by Normandy landing sites, and the lofty isolated Mont St. Michel. For quiet contemplation, there was time to pray to St. Therese at Liseux and roam Monet’s gardens in Giverny. Then, on to Paris to bask in the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Seine River and indulge in macarons and croissants.
A group of attendees went on a pre-reunion road trip to Germany’s Rhine river valley, while other groups went on post-reunions trips to Switzerland, Istanbul, Turkey and Dubai, UAE.
What never ceases to amaze me about these destination reunions is that here we are almost 50 years after our high school graduation and we are still taking field trips together, still enjoying each other’s company and still wanting to learn more about the world. I, for one, am looking forward to the next one.
Please visit my blog: http://passporttocreativity.blogspot.com]]>