VANCOUVER - Thousands of new jobs in the skilled trades were created in British Columbia when the federal government gave the Vancouver Shipyards the $3.3 billion contract to build 10 new non-combat ships for the Canadian Coast Guard last year.
This includes jobs in welding and pipe-fitting. Anticipating a possible shortage of qualified tradesmen, the Canadian Welding Bureau accredited test centers in the Philippines to screen well-trained welders.
"The welders that we are training in Canada right now are not sufficient to fill that vacuum that's why the Canadian government is looking of hiring temporary workers from outside, and right now, the Philippines is a very favorable place to hire the welders," said Bob Montes, certification services representative of the Canadian Welding Bureau.
Montes added that welders will also be in big demand when construction for the pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia begins.
He said Filipinos have a natural skill for welding and they have a huge plus over others.
"The advantage of the Filipinos is because they can understand and they can read and comprehend standards. When they come here, it's easy for Canadians to give them instructions. If they cannot follow instructions, it will become a safety issue here," Montes said.
He added a skilled welder can earn from 50 Canadian dollars (around P2,000) plus per hour.
Currently, there are only three centers that are accredited by the Canadian Welding Bureau: Brilliant Metal Works, Zoie Training Center and Primary Structures Educational Foundation, all based in Cebu.
Those who pass the test here will get a welding card that is valid anywhere in Canada.
With these developments, the Philippine Labor Office is confident that Canada will continue to hire more temporary foreign workers despite charges that the program is stealing jobs away from Canadians.
"There will always be a need for temporary foreign workers in Canada. If you judge it from yung the last five years, 2009, 10, 11, 12, until now, talagang pataas nang pataas yung numbers nila, Canada-wide and western Canada also especially Alberta, nandoon talaga yung boom," said Atty. Bernardino Julve.