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It's All History by Jon Malek

New research on Filipinos in Canada

Brochure #38 in the CHA’s Immigration and Ethnicity in Canada Series, Filipinos in Canada written by Jon G. Malek, is now available online

by Jon G. Malek

After a few years of researching and writing, and a little more researching and writing, I’m happy to let readers of the Pilipino Express know that I have recently released my short publication, Filipinos in Canada, through the Canadian Historical Association. This introductory booklet presents a summary history of the Filipino community in Canada, from the late 19th century to today. It is available for free in a PDF form, shared below.

This work brings together in one piece up-to-date research on Filipinos in Canada. Some is my own research, including details on labour migration to Winnipeg (health professionals and garment workers); early immigration to Canada; and a summary of decades of other research by other scholars.

This work is also presented as a gift to the Filipino community. As a researcher, I am indebted to the community for a number of reasons. First and foremost is how I have been welcomed and accepted as a non-Filipino. The warmth and kindness of the many friendships I’ve forged through my years of engagement have deeply enriched my life. Second is a sense of gratitude I have for the sense of belonging that the community has extended to me. This includes the regular opportunity to write in the Pilipino Express. Filipinos, I have found, are generous in many things, including sharing their culture. Public festivals are aplenty, as are the opportunities to experience the culture. Third is the trust I have been given by many in the community who have participated in my research by sharing their life stories. I’ve written before on oral history and the importance of relationships in this work, and it’s humbling to be brought into the lives of participants. In sum, my research is a relationship, part of my ongoing engagement and inclusion in the Filipino community.

This publication is a way of giving back, of sharing what I have learned with those who have helped me to shape it and to the community I have come to love. History is something that is lived, experienced, remembered, and shared. The history of Filipinos in Canada and in Winnipeg is something that is shared amongst each and every community member, and it is to you all that I dedicate this work. I hope it is of much interest and use to those who read it.

I’d also like to draw attention to research being conducted by my friend Joseph Lopez. Below I share research that he has conducted that shows how long Filipinos have been living in Canada. It reminds us that Filipinos have been part of Canada since its earliest days.


Jon Malek received his PhD from Western University and currently teaches history at the University of Manitoba. He is working on a book manuscript on the history of the Winnipeg Filipino community.