TFC News

Filipinos named among Top 25 Canadian immigrants

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at Aug 11 2023 05:06 PM | Updated as of Aug 17 2023 04:51 PM

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Multi-awarded retired B.C. Trial Crown Counsel Winston Sayson is a proud Filipino whose latest accolade is as one of this year’s Top 25 immigrants in Canada.

Described in the Canadian Immigrant magazine’s article as “Kind Justice," Sayson is the first Filipino-Canadian appointed as Queen’s Counsel of British Columbia for his exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession.

He was also among the recipients of the Medal of Good Citizenship in B.C. In 2022 for his outstanding service to the community.

While he has received various awards through the years, Sayson said he still feels honored for the latest distinction.

"I was exceedingly surprised, at the same time deeply humbled by the recognition," he said, "because I know and I remember the many who toil in obscurity and are not recognized."

Sayson was a humanities freshman at the University of the Philippines when his family moved to Canada in 1981.

He came from an affluent Filipino-Chinese family but they left the country after his father was jailed during Martial Law.

In Canada, Sayson worked and studied at the same time until he became a lawyer in 1989. His 30-year service as a Crown Prosecutor saw him handling violent crimes against children and vulnerable victims, and vehicular fatalities.

But these cases took a toll on his mental health, which led to his retirement in 2019.

"I was not aware of the significant impact it has on you when you are constantly and repeatedly exposed to the suffering, trauma and suffering of other people," Sayson shared.

Aside from Sayson, two other Filipino-Canadians were also in the Top 25 Immigrants: nurse-educator Edward Cruz, and actress-comedian Ann Pornel.

Sayson said that the distinction proves that Canada now sees Filipinos as more than just service or health workers.

Cruz, meanwhile, offered an advice to immigrants who are facing difficulties as they start life anew in Canada.

"Have some sense of direction as you go through your journey," he said. "Seek out mentors who can guide and support you and be open to learning new ways of thinking and doing things."

Sayson keeps himself busy these days doing volunteer work, including for the Canadian Red Cross. He also continues to teach and mentor law students.

Asked about a possible career in politics, Sayson said that he has not thought of it but will keep his options open.