Canada’s House of Commons on October 30 unanimously passed M-155, a motion officially designating the month of June as Filipino Heritage Month across the country.
Federal Liberal Salma Zahid, who is Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre in Ontario, sponsored the motion beginning in February 2018. See https://canadianfilipino.net/news/470-parliament-to-tackle-motion-declaring-june-as-filipino-heritage-month-across-canada
The declaration of June as Filipino Heritage Month has been established at different levels of government in the last year. In November 2017, Toronto city council voted unanimously to designate June as Filipino Heritage Month. On June 1 of this year, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell signed a provincial proclamation designating June every year as Philippine Heritage Month in the province of Alberta. In May, the cities of Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta declared June as Philippine Heritage Month with the City of Fort Saskatchewan doing the same on June 9.
Zahid said in a statement that the motion “recognizes, celebrates and raises awareness of the Filipino community in Canada,” adding that the motion shows the Canadian government’s “official appreciation of the Filipino community for their important contribution through Canadian history and for helping make our country the rich and vibrant place it is today.”
Zahid cited a number of well-known Canadian Filipinos from sports to politics like soccer player Jonathan de Guzman and former MP and cabinet minister Rey Pagtakhan. She adds, “Building a diverse and inclusive society by promoting and encouraging awareness, understanding and respect for many different cultures is one of our Government’s top priorities. Now that June is designated as Filipino Heritage Month, we can continue to put our values into action.”
The following day, a special receptionat the Wellington Building in Ottawa was hosted by MPs from various ridings in Ontario and attended by members of the Filipino communities to celebrate the passage of the motion.
At the event, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen spoke on behalf of the federal government, praising strength in diversity and recognized Canadian Filipinos as an “example of that strength that you brought … not just in the big cities but everywhere that I go, I see the growth and integration of the Filipino Canadian community and for that I would say ‘thank you’ for everything that you do, every single day…and know that you have a friend in us (Canadian government).”
Also at the reception was Philippine Ambassador to Canada Petronila Garcia who expressed appreciation for the declaration which “formally gives recognition to the contribution of Canadians of Filipino heritage in this land of the true north from coast to coast to coast.” Garcia added, “Canadians of Filipino heritage have made Canada a better place with their recognized hard work, solid family ties, and strong religious moorings.”Noting that the “relationship between Canada and Filipino immigrants are certainly mutually beneficial,” she expressed hope that “the academic credentials and skills of Filipino immigrants to Canada would be recognized and fully harnessed by Canadian employers.”
There are over 900,000 Filipinos and Canadians of Filipino descent in Canada which represent over two percent of the Canadian population. Based on Statistics Canada’s 2016 census report, Filipinos comprise the fourth largest visible minority group in Canada.
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