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30 Top News in 2017 in the Ontario Filipino Canadian Community

By Tony A. San Juan, OCT.
December 17, 2017


"Ang simoy ng Pasko ay nandito na, wika nga". T'is also the season of the year for recollection and reflection.  To me it's a quick review of news highlights in the the great Pinoy community hereabout. Here' s what I gathered and considered, arguably or unarguably, as the top stories over the months in the year 2017.

1) Canada Immigration announced changes and implementation in immigration rules and policies, among which were: the initial lottery for parents immigration,  spousal sponsorship,  backlog removal of caregiver PR status processing, modified foreign skilled -trade and skilled- workers immigration system and many more.

2) Dr. Eileen De Villa, a USA-born Filipino Canadian with a Master's degrees in business administration and health science and certificate in health law, assumed the position of Medical Health Officer of the City of Toronto on March, 27, 2017.

3) The Alberta- based Pinas : The Filipinos Global Newspaper , published twice a month by Swara Sug Media corporation came off the press in March, 2017.

4) Effective April 19, Alberta province imposed a temporary hiring closure and a 2- year ban for temporary workers in 28 job categories  due to sufficient number of qualified local workers. temporarily closed.

5) The 2017 summer basketball  tournaments : 11th FCT- Victoria Invitational  was held on May 19 - 21, 2017; 14th PIDC Mabuhay Cup on July 19 to 23, 2017

6) Erstwhile veteran actor and ex-matinee idol Romeo Vasquez, a.k.a. Ricardo Sumilang,  and formerly married to actress Amalia Fuentes, passed away on May 2, 2017

7) On May 23rd, Philippine President Rodrigo  Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao following ISIS- inspired Maute group attacks in Marawi City.

8)  The Filipino Canadian Parents Association in Catholic Education-FCPACE, held its third annual  conference , with Ministry of Education PRO grant, on May , 2017 st St. Maria Goretti Catholic School in Scarborough.

9) The new Temporary Foreign Worker ( TFW) program , under the "Global Skills Strategy", was introduced in June to help Canadian employers bring highly qualified workers to Canada "much more quickly"

10) Lt. Col Joseph Nonato, a Royal Military College graduate and veteran of Afghanistan and South Sudan missions, on June 4 2017, took the command of the Royal Regiment of Canada, the first Filipino Canadian to lead one of Canada's oldest and largest regiments.

11) FilCan teenager Jana Panem, a Grade 11 student of Madonna Catholic Secondary School in Toronto won the "Doodle for Google Canada" national contest, out of 12,000 entries, and awarded $10,000 in cash prize and another $10,000 for her school on Jine 24th.

12) The FCT- Filipino Centre Toronto's Pistahan ng Bayan on June 11 at Nathan Phillips Square, City Hall; PCCF's  Pinoy Fiesta & Trade Show sa Toronto on June 24 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre . Also, FCT building in Parliament Street, Cabbagetown, has been sold for about $ 5.9 million .

13) The Bank of Canada increased the key interest rate, for the first time since 2010 to fight inflation, but to some, is bound to hurt consumers in respect of loans, mortgages, prices of goods & services.

14) On July 1, 2017 two Filipinas : Agnes Miranda, co-founder and vice-chairman of World Financial Group( WFG) was named one of RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants in 2017. Likewise, Flor Marcelino of Winnipeg and sitting Member of Legislative Assembly of Winnipeg, on June won the prestigious national award.

15) Isabel Kanaan, a Carlos Bulosan Theatre performer and alumna of Seneca College Acting for Camera and Voice is the newest face on the Canadian show CBC's Air Farce Canada on July 1, 2017.

16) The Kalayaan Community Centre held its "Fiesta ng Kalayaan" on July 6-9 at Celebration Square in Mississauga City.

17) The ABS-CBN 's The Family Channel ( TFC ) , on July 29th, conducted overwhelmingly its first "ASAP Live In Toronto " in  downtown's Ricoh Coliseum.

18) FilCan solicitor- barrister Antonio Villarin tried and ran  for the PC Nomination in Toronto's Scarborough Centre, but lost over a hotly- contested process against a Sri Lankan lady candidate.

19) The Kapisanan of Filipino Arts and Culture's 12th Kultura Arts Festival was held at Daniel Spectrum Theatre; PCCF's Philippine Fiesta Fashion and Trade Show was conducted in the MTCC.

20) On August 19 & 20, the Philippine Cultural Community Centre - PCCC's "Taste of Manila IV" was held in Toronto's  "Little Manila" Bathurst & Wilson area, North York; the ever- popular PIDC Mabuhay Festival, Parade and Fashion event was conducted over 3 days on August 25-27, 2017.

21) Showcasing Philippine fashion and regional culture, the Philippine Tapestry event, sponsored by PIDC and WFG's Agnes Miranda  was held at Toronto's Arcadian Court on August 24th

22) On September 29th, the Federal Minister of Immigration  announced the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Program offering loans to newcomers and providing support services of getting their foreign credentials recognized and aptly covering the cost of getting their internationally- based training credentials recognized by provincial professional licencing bodies..

23) The Ontario government announced a children and youth Pharma care program, dubbed OHIP + that will make prescription medicines, over 4000, free come January 1, 2018 for those under 25 years old regardless of income or private coverage.

24) The First Golden Balangay Awards, a Canada-wide search and recognition  for outstanding Filipino Canadians , sponsored by iKubo Media, was held on September 9, 2017 at BMO lnstitute for Learning, Scarborough, Toronto.

25) Seafood City Supermarket, a large Filipino grocery chain with its "Grill City, Noodle Street and Crispy Town" eateries, opened its first Canadian store in Mississauga on September 28, 2017.

26) "A Taste of Broadway : Remastered", a musical show sponsored by the Markham Federation of Filipinos Centre-MFFC was held on October 7 & 8 at Flato Markham Theatre.

27) The Outstanding Canadian Awards Council honoured more than 150 Canadians, Filipino and non-Filipino community & business leaders and professionals , on October 7th at Sheraton Parkway Hotel in Markham, Ontario in celebration of Canada's sesquicentennial nationhood.

28) Ottawa announced to raise annual immigration by 13 percent to 340,000 by 2020, under a multi-year plan, bringing the  yearly immigration level to 0.9 percent, from 0.8 % of Canada's total population " in order to offset the economic effects of an aging population and low birth rate".

29) The " Filipino Heritage Month-FHM". starting next June, 2018,  was approved by the City of Toronto on November 11, through the motion in council by Ward 48  Councillor Nathan Shan and the petition drive spearheaded by Filipino community advocate Paulina Corpuz.

30) On November 16, 2017, the Honourable Tobias " Jun" Enverga, Jr. first Filipino Canadian Senator and former first Filipino Toronto Catholic District School Board -TCDSB Trustee , at  61 years old, died of heart attack while on parliamentary trip in Colombia.( Tony A. San Juan)

Maligayang Pasko at Masaganang Bagong Taon sa Lahat !!!

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