Pinoy TFWs and the Alberta Wildfire

  • Page Views 2206
  • 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

    • 27 July 2017
      3 hours ago No comment

      Philippine government disputes Toronto Sun report on the Philippines

      The Philippine government has belied a report published July 16, 2017, in the Toronto Sun about the situation in the Philippines. A spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte reacted to the report written by Brad Hunter about dangerous cities in the world. “The streets of Manila look more like a ...

    • 26 July 2017
      1 day ago No comment

      SEA Games

      The burden on the Philippine’s Southeast Games campaign to extricate itself from the hole its predecessors dug in the past three editions of the biennial conclave looks to fall on the shoulders of 21 past individual winners who made it anew to the national contingent that will carry the ...

    • 26 July 2017
      1 day ago No comment

      Bella ready to work with Angel

      According to Bela Padilla, she sees nothing wrong if she and Angel Locsin will collaborate for one screen project in the coming days. “Definitely, I would love to work with her!” she states. “She’s not only alluring but is one good actress who’s exciting to watch on screen. It ...

    • 26 July 2017
      1 day ago No comment

      Kim Chiu gets response from Justin Bieber

      A lot of female celebrities are no stranger to fangirling. Some of them even fly outside the country just to meet some of the international personalities they idolize, and some of them regularly follow them on social media like what a normal fan would do. Take Kim Chiu for example. Back ...

    • 26 July 2017
      1 day ago No comment

      Mariel is a reluctant actress?

      But after being crowned Binibining Pilipinas-International, Mariel has proven that there’s more to her than being the daughter of Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong. Her resemblance to Liza Soberano is a plus factor as she begins her foray into show biz. What made Mariel change her mind? “I ...

    %d bloggers like this: