WINNIPEG – Manitoba has recorded its strongest population growth in 36 years, according to Statistics Canada figures released on December 19. As of October 1, Manitoba’s population stood at 1,210,500 people. During the last 12 months, the population jumped by 13,124, the largest one-year growth in 25 years. It grew by 25,300 in the last two years, which was the strongest two-year growth in 36 years.
“Manitoba had the fourth-fastest growth rate among the provinces during the past two years,” said Manitoba Competitiveness, Training and Trade Minister Andrew Swan in a recent press release. “We welcome these new Manitobans who add immeasurably to the diversity and economic strength of the province.”
Stats Can figures show that 15,733 more individuals came to Manitoba than left for other jurisdictions in the last two years. Manitoba welcomed a record 21,748 international immigrants from October 2006 to October 2008, the highest influx since 1971 when modern records began.“Manitoba is attracting people from all corners of the world as the preferred location for their new home,” said Swan. “Our government’s successful Provincial Nominee Program now accounts for more than 70 per cent of all new arrivals in Manitoba.”
John Paul Sumbillo and his wife, Quennie, emigrated from the Philippines and settled in Winnipeg two years ago with their young children, Paulo and Queencie, now four and three years old respectively. Before immigration, John Paul was a branch manager and marketing chief of a Philippine trucking company while his wife, Quennie, was a marketing assistant at the Philippine Bank of Commerce.
“No regrets,” said John Paul, “we are very happy with our decision (to immigrate)… I believe that our dreams for the future, for our family, can be accomplished here (in Canada).” They chose to come to Manitoba because Quennie’s grandparents and aunts have been long-time Manitobans, and generously helped them to settle when they arrived in 2006. The Sumbillos will be moving to a new home in Winnipeg this January.
Rene and Rachel Roque are also immigrants from the Philippines who arrived in Canada as Manitoba nominees in 2007. Rene currently works at New Flyer Industries while Rachel works at Luxotticca. “My family lives in the U.S. (New York and California)… it is easier for me to visit them now that I am in Canada than when I was in the Philippines…” said Rachel. “I like the independence… I know we can do anything we want as long as we work hard… and I have met friends who are now like family to me and Rachel,” said Rene. Now expecting their first born in the spring, the Roques will also move into a new home this winter. “It’s a beautiful new beginning for us as a family,” added Rachel.
The Philippines has become Canada’s largest combined source for immigrants and temporary workers. Immigrants arriving from the Philippines in 2007 numbered 19,064 while 15,254 Filipino temporary workers also entered the country – more than any other nationality, except for Americans.
China had been the main source of immigration to Canada for several years but as its economy has boomed, the numbers have declined. While permanent residents from China are still the largest new immigrant population, their numbers decreased by one-third between 2005 and 2007. The number of immigrants from India, the second-largest group, dropped by 20 per cent in this period. Filipinos are the third-largest group of permanent residents, since their numbers have more than doubled in the past decade.
Last month, 89,000 people took the professional board exam for nursing in the Philippines, many with plans to obtain employment overseas. Temporary worker data released by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in December showed that many Filipinos filled care-giving and service-sector jobs in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.