Every year many Filipinos move to Canada to experience a new way of life, discover new opportunities and further their careers.
Multicultural Canada has been a popular destination for emigrating Filipinos since the 1970s. Since then, many Filipinos have built fulfilling and prosperous new lives for themselves and their families in this beautiful country.
But creating a new life abroad doesn’t happen overnight. Settling in somewhere so far away from your family can be difficult.
At WorldRemit, we really understand the challenges of starting a new life overseas. Many of our customers have done just that – and send money home to support their loved ones.
That’s why we’ve put together some tips and advice to help Canada’s Filipino diaspora feel more at home.
How many Filipinos live in Canada?
Canada is known for its multicultural society and values, welcoming many immigrants from around the world each year. In fact, the Philippines has been Canada’s top source of immigrants for many years now.
The 2016 Canadian Census found that there are 837,130 people with Filipino ethnic origin living in Canada and 431,380 people reporting Tagalog to be their mother tongue.
Between 2011 and 2016, 15.58% of new immigrants settling in Canada were Filipino. According to the same census, the provinces with the highest percentage of Filipinos are Ontario (337,760), Alberta (175,130) and British Columbia (158,215).
Canadian cities with the largest Filipino communities
Filipinos make successful lives for themselves all across Canada, travelling as far afield as Prince Edward Island and Yukon territory.
For some Filipinos in Canada though, particularly those new to the country, living in a metropolitan area with a high population of other Filipinos can provide comfort, support, and a home away from home.
These are the five metropolitan areas with the highest population of Filipinos in Canada according to Canada’s 2016 census.
- Toronto (274,670)
- Vancouver (133,925)
- Winnipeg (77,305)
- Calgary (75,020)
- Edmonton (64,275)
Within Toronto’s North York district exists Canada’s well-known “little Manila”, an area found between Bathurst Street and Wilson Avenue. Here there are around 50 Filipino-owned businesses, including many restaurants and bakeries.
Elsewhere in Toronto, St Jamestown and Scarborough also have significant Filipino populations.
Where to shop:
- Da Best Filipino Bakery – North York
- Philippine Oriental Food Market – Leslieville
- Filipino N Toronto – York
- Bernard’s Filipino Specialties – Parkdale
- Marcy Fine Foods – North York
Where to eat:
- FV Foods – North York / Scarborough
- Sampaguita Village Family Restaurant – North York
- Lamesa Filipino Kitchen – Hillcrest Village
- Wilson’s House of Lechon – North York
- Tinuno – St Jamestown
Central Vancouver between Fraser Street and Knight Street, King Edwards Avenue and 33rd Avenue has Vancouver’s highest concentration of Filipinos.
Other neighbourhoods popular with the Filipino community are those surrounding the various SkyTrain stations in Vancouver including Joyce, Metrotown and Edmonds.
Where to shop:
- Aling Mary’s Filipino Store and Bakery – South Main
- Sari-Sari-Filipino Convenience Store – East Vancouver
- Tatak Pinoy Filipino Store – East Vancouver
- Great Two Supermarket – Renfrew-Collingwood
- Tindahan Ni Kuyang Grocery Store – East King Edward Ave
Where to eat:
- Pinpin Restaurant – Fraser Street
- Hapag Ihaw-Ihaw Restaurant – Victoria Drive
- Max’s Restaurant – Kingsway
- Pampanga’s Cuisine – Joyce Street
- Kulinarya Filipino Eatery – East Vancouver
Ways to connect with the Filipino community in Canada
When you’re living thousands of kilometres away from your family and friends in an unfamiliar country and culture, it’s easy to feel a little isolated.
Luckily, there are plenty of groups, organisations and events throughout Canada that help bring the Filipino diaspora together.
Groups and organisations
There are over 1000 Filipino associations and groups operating throughout Canada providing support, resources and services to help the Filipino diaspora.
Find an association or group local to you with a quick search on Google. Get involved, meet new people and discover local events.
And if you’re studying in Canada, then enquire at university about whether there’s a Filipino society that you can join.
Festivals and events
Here are some of the biggest cultural celebrations of Filipino heritage that take place across Canada each year:
June – Philippine Days Festival – Vancouver
June – Pinoy Fiesta and Trade Show - Toronto
June – Manitoba Filipino Street Festival – Manitoba
July – Philippine Festival Mississauga – Mississauga
July – Vaughan Fiesta Extravaganza - Vaughan
August - Taste of Manila – Toronto
August – Pinoy Fiesta – Vancouver
August – Mabuhay Philippines Festival - Toronto
September – Durham Filipino Fest - Ontario
Philippines Independence Day on 12th June is also celebrated throughout Canada every year. Toronto’s “Little Manila” hosts an impressive Independence Day celebration and a quick search on Google or Facebook can help you find other local celebrations.
Tips for Filipinos in Canada
Finding a job in Canada
There are plenty of jobs for Filipinos in Canada, but before you can begin working you’ll usually be required to get a work permit and a social insurance number.
The type of work permit that you require and the process for getting it will vary, depending on your unique circumstances.
You can find out everything you need to know about work permits on the Government of Canada’s website.
Some popular resources for finding jobs in Canada for Filipinos include:
- Local job fairs
- Join local recruitment agencies
- Online job boards like Indeed.ca, Monster.ca and Workopolis.com
- Government of Canada’s Website
Whilst Filipinos in Canada are employed by a huge variety of different employers, there are particularly high numbers of Filipinos working in Canada’s healthcare and manufacturing industries.
Time difference between Canada and the Philippines
Canada has six different time zones, so the time differences will depend on where you are in Canada.
The Philippines is 13 hours ahead of Toronto and 16 hours ahead of Vancouver.
Use an online time zone converter tool to discover the time difference between any area of Canada and the Philippines.
Sending letters and parcels to the Philippines from Canada
For larger items like parcels and Balikbayan boxes, you’ll need to use an international shipping service. Canada Post offers its own shipping services and other popular services include FedEx and UPS.
There are also many businesses throughout Canada that specialise in sending Balikbayan boxes to the Philippines, these include:
- LBC Express – Toronto / Vancouver
- UMAC Forwarders Express Inc – Vancouver / Winnipeg / Saskatoon / Calgary / Edmonton / Regina
- Forex Toronto – Toronto
- Reliable Cargo Express – Toronto / Scarborough / Red Deer
- Sunfreight Cargo – Branches in Alberta, British Colombia, Saskatchewan, and Northwest Territories
Calling from Canada to the Philippines
Using an internet-based calling service like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger chat, Skype or Viber is usually the cheapest and most convenient way of keeping in touch with loved ones living abroad.
If you do ever need to call a Philippines landline number from a Canadian landline number, then you’ll need to first dial the Philippines’ country code which is +63.
Friends or relatives in the Philippines calling you on a Canadian landline will need to dial Canada’s country code, which is +1.
Buying clothes in Canada
Canada uses the same clothes and shoe sizes as the US. Clothes sizes in Canada tend to be more generous than in the Philippines, so it’s best to take your measurements and use an online size guide to find out which US/Canadian size would be the best fit for you.
The size and fit of clothes will still vary from one brand to the next, so it’s always worth trying on clothes before you buy , if possible.
Locations of embassies
The Embassy of the Philippines can be found in Ottawa. The Philippine Consulate General is in Toronto. And the Consulate General of the Philippines is in Vancouver. All of these can provide the Filipino diaspora with help with passports, visas, travel documents and citizenship.
Sending money back home to the Philippines
Looking after your family back home is a responsibility that’s deeply ingrained in Filipino culture, with most Filipinos in the diaspora regularly sending remittances to their families back home.
Data from Statistics Canada found that Filipinos in Canada transferred a huge $1.2 billion in remittances to friends and family living abroad in 2017.
If you’re going to be sending money to the Philippines regularly, then it’s important to find a fast, cost-effective and convenient way to do so.
That’s where WorldRemit can help.
We provide a simple and safe online money transfer service that can be completed quickly and conveniently on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop with an internet connection.
Our money transfer service helps you to save money by cutting out the steep fees and poor exchange rates offered by high street banks and money transfer agents. This means more of your hard-earned money reaches your family back home.
We always offer fair exchange rates, one low-cost fee that’s shown upfront. Plus, there are no hidden fees – we promise!
We even allow you to choose from a variety of different pay-out options, making it easy and convenient for your family to receive money in the Philippines, too.
Would you like to share some tips for fellow Filipinos in Canada? Leave a comment in the comment section below!