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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

DOLE forms team to implement labor agreements with Canada

Department of Labor and Employment has begun efforts for the implementation of the labor agreements with western Canadian provinces, that will provide Filipino workers greater access to employment opportunities in Canada.
Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque issued Administrative Order No. 303, series of 2008, creating a composite team tasked to work out mechanisms for the implementation of the memoranda of understanding which the DOLE entered into with the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Manitoba to strengthen areas of cooperation with the Philippines in the employment and deployment of Filipino workers to these parts of Canada.

The DOLE forged the MOUs with the provincial governments of Saskatchewan in December 2007 and British Columbia and Manitoba early this year. It is scheduled to enter into a similar agreement with the Canadian province of Alberta this month.
Roque said the DOLE team has been directed to address urgent concerns affecting the employment of Filipino workers to Canada in areas provided for in the MOUs such as ethical recruitment, human resource development, training and credentials recognition, and workers protection.

The team is headed by Undersecretary Luzviminda Padilla with technical representatives from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and DOLE Canadian Desk as members.

He said the MOUs specifically provide for an ethical, orderly, and expeditious recruitment and deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Canada, non-collection of placement fees, protection of OFWs' rights and welfare, and for the provinces to encourage employers to support HRD efforts for OFWs and the reintegration of returning OFWs to the Philippines.

He added that the DOLE team, pursuant to the MOUs, shall exert efforts towards the setting up of the Philippines-Canada joint consultative council or working committee in a bid to ensure the implementation of the MOUs’ provisions.
“The successful implementation of the MOUs would pave the way for many skilled OFWs to find better-paying and more quality employment that ensures ample protection of their rights and welfare in Canada,” the DOLE Chief said.
He said the team shall specifically discuss recruitment guidelines with the respective government representatives of the Canadian provinces particularly on procedures and requirements for hiring workers under the temporary workers and the provincial nominee programs involving government and private employers in Canada.

The team shall also explore talks on HRD to provide for Filipino-Canadian cooperation in skills training and upgrading of Filipino workers, Roque said adding the DOLE has already drafted an HRD framework upon which the talks would be based. The DOLE team shall likewise endeavor to address kinks in credential recognition affecting Filipino nurses and other professionals and trades people. It shall also determine each province’s skills requirement to facilitate skills matching, training, and employment of Filipino workers in the provinces of Canada.
Talks on skills certification and training program of Saskatchewan and training collaboration with other western Canadian provinces shall also be explored. At the same time, the DOLE team shall start discussions on the extension of the MOU with Saskatchewan, which is due to expire on December 2008.

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