The province of Manitoba is located between the provinces of Ontario and Saskatchewan. With an economy based largely on natural resources and agriculture, Manitoba province is a major driver of Canada’s wealth. It has 10 cities with a cumulative population of 1.282 million in the 2014 Census in an area of 647,797 km2. Not that bad compared to the 100 million populations of the Philippines in an area of 300,000 km2. 1
The MPNP is Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program. Through this program, prospective immigrants with skills and experiences targeted by the province may receive a Manitoba Provincial Nomination Certificate, which speeds up the overall immigration process. This program is in many ways the gateway to western Canada. Most of the immigrants are in Winnipeg, probably because it is the capital of Manitoba and it is now one of the crowded cities in the province. But some immigrants settle in small towns of Manitoba like Steinbach. They found a decent job, nice neighbourhood and good lifestyle there. Below is one of the MPNP inspiring stories written by Fatima Narvaez, Eastman Immigrant Services and Jill Ritchot, Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
A Welcoming Move2
Kris and Peegy Ontong emigrated from a big city in the Philippines to rural Manitoba in March 2010. Before coming to Canada, they owned their own IT business in Manila, building websites and graphic designs for corporate companies. Kris performed most of the technical tasks while Peegy looked after promotional activities.
In 2005, Kris and Peegy applied to come to Canada. It was while they were waiting for their visas that typhoon Ondoy (International Name: Ketsana) hit the Philippines in September 2009. Like many others in Manila, the typhoon was devastating to them. It washed away all their belongings, including their business projects. “Before we evacuated our place, all we could save was a laptop. It was impossible to find anything savable when we went back,” Kris said. Everything was destroyed. “But after the disaster, our immigration papers were expedited. Two months later, we arrived in Steinbach,” Peegy said with relief.
Like many newcomers, Kris and Peegy were stunned by the climate in Manitoba. “We were shocked by the cold the moment we stepped out of the airport. It was -1°C!” Peegy recalled. They were greeted by Kris’ uncle’s family and as they surveyed their new surroundings, Kris and Peegy were amazed at the friendliness of strangers and the warmth of the welcoming community. They also noticed that the houses didn’t even have fences! “The Filipino community is a big thing, too. Knowing people makes a big difference,” Kris mentioned.
After their arrival, Kris and Peegy were concerned that the rural community may not have many employment opportunities for their specific skills. But Kris now works as a website administrator and computer instructor, and Peegy is working in her field as well. The couple plans to raise their family in rural Manitoba. “I appreciate the simple living, small town feel and the tightly-knit community,” Kris said. “The town feels safe for children. And the schools, like everything else, are just close by,” Peegy added.
“Do your homework,” is Peegy’s advice to immigrants hoping to come to Canada. “Prepare yourselves and have a plan.” Kris advised that perseverance, courage and faith are your strongest assets.
Of the 13,520 immigrants who came to Manitoba in 2009, 1,586 settled in areas outside of Winnipeg and Brandon. Winkler, Steinbach, and Morden were the three most popular spots. Similarly, of the 6,890 who settled in Saskatchewan, 18 per cent went to destinations other than Saskatoon and Regina. Rural communities Lloydminster, North Battleford, Leroy and Swift Current all attracted more than 150 immigrants in 2009.
To all immigrants out there you can also share your brief encouraging experiences at the comment section of this article.
1 Google search, Manitoba Population 2014, Philippine Population 2014
2 Story 1 link