Pinoy TFWs and the Alberta Wildfire

  • Page Views 1905
  • Tinig Migrante by E. Maestro

    The wildfire that continues to blaze in Fort McMurray, Northern Alberta drove the massive evacuation of 88,000 residents and workers from their homes and work sites to the safety of evacuation centres or homes of friends and families in nearby towns or outside of the city. Thousands of people lost their homes and possessions in the blaze that consumed 200, 000 hectares. There were those who had to immediately leave for safety with what they had on their backs and whatever money they had in their wallets and bags. Lives were more important, as it should be, than homes, furniture, and property.

    In the exodus to safety from what some described as hell are Filipino temporary workers staying in evacuation centres or some other temporary accommodations. Like many ordinary people in Alberta who continue to help out their neighbours, Migrante Alberta members are also doing what they can to help out their kababayan, particularly the temporary foreign workers (TFWs). Pinoy TFWs may not have the established network of friends and families to help out with the accommodation crisis; they are also burdened with what to do about work.

    With the threat of death from a blazing fire taking a side step (but not forgotten), the reality of work, or no work, takes centre stage for our TFW kababayan.

    Why?

    Because the work permits of temporary foreign workers are tied to their employers. The displacement, the loss of work, the closure of work sites, while not their employers’ fault, is a major problem for TFWs. Simply because their work permits may no longer be valid if their employers no longer have any work to offer them. TFWs, because they are tied to their employers, are not allowed to work, until they find another employer willing to go through the bureaucratic process to hire them. With warnings that the fire could burn for months, depending on the weather, and with orders that Fort McMurray is still too dangerous to enter, the prospect of work has also gone up in smoke. Removal or deportation from Canada because there is no work, and therefore no work permits, is a reality that TFWs have to deal with.

    Documents like passports, copies of work permits, even applications for permanent residency for those with pending applications, have gone up in smoke.

    Migrante BC calls on the Philippine government, through the Consulate General and its staff, to extend help to its citizens, its constituents, with issuance of new replacement passports, with contacting relatives in the Philippines, drawing up of affidavits, etc.

    Migrante BC and other migrant advocates call on the Canadian government that one of the concrete measures it can provide for temporary workers is to take the humanitarian and compassionate approach — i.e., give these workers open work permits so that they can find work when life returns to some sort of normalcy. Refugees and Citizenship Canada was quoted in the media declaring that they are closely monitoring the situation in Fort McMurray and “assessing whether and when special measures will be necessary to address the needs of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and temporary residents in the region.”

     

    If you know anyone in Fort McMurray or you yourself are a Filipino TFW from Fort McMurray, know that you can contact Migrante Alberta using their email address migrantealberta@gmail.com and their phone number 1- (888) 366-0194 for information.

     

    The Filipino Workers Network (FWN) has set up an online fundraising for temporary foreign workers from Fort McMurray affected by the wildfire in www.fundrazr.com. Migrante Alberta, with other community partners, has organized emergency meetings with affected TFWs to get  updates on emergency financial assistance like the preloaded debit cards from the provincial government of Alberta, to find solutions, to discuss issues of status and how to collectively work together to help each other.

     

    Thank you to the more than 500 firefighters on the ground, other city departments, community groups, volunteers, and ordinary men and women who continue to battle the wildfire and who continue to look out for each other.

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 24 March 2017
      6 hours ago No comment

      Summer Trip to Corregidor

      Located at the entrance of Manila Bay, Isla ng Corregidor was identified by the Spaniards as a strategic defense location when they arrived in the Philippines in the 16th century. They named the tadpole-shaped island Island of the Corrector since this was the place where all ships entering Manila ...

    • 24 March 2017
      9 hours ago No comment

      ABS-CBN involved in Enforcement Effort Against Sellers of Pirated DVDs of ABS-CBN Content

      DALY CITY, CALIFORNIA – Six stores selling DVDs in Toronto and Montreal surrendered last March 7 and 8 over a thousand pirated DVDs of ABS-CBN content.  Included in the enforcement effort were the following stores: Bulacan Fashion, Bon-Bon, Waynes Collectibles, a store at 23 Glen Watford Drive in Dragon Centre, ...

    • 24 March 2017
      12 hours ago No comment

      Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the attack in London, United Kingdom

      The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the attack in London, United Kingdom (U.K.) “We strongly condemn today’s attack in London. I was shocked and saddened to learn of the innocent people who were killed and injured as a result of this cowardly attack. “Canada ...

    • 23 March 2017
      23 hours ago No comment

      Impeachment against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte belittled

      Pantaleon Alvarez, who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, expressed confidence the impeachment complaint filed against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte by the Magdalo party list, represented by Congressman Gary Alejano, will not prosper. Alvarez noted that not only the charges were fabricated and had no evidence to ...

    • 23 March 2017
      1 day ago No comment

      World Happiness Report: Norway tops list, Canada is 7th, Philippines ranks 72nd

      A new report shows Norway is the happiest country on Earth. Norway jumped to the top slot in the World Happiness Report released on March 20 although prices of oil,  a key part of its economy, are falling. Income in the United States has gone up over the past ...

    %d bloggers like this: