An Iqaluit woman wants to write a book about the significant Filipino community living in Nunavut's capital.
Rhose Harris-Galia came to Iqaluit as a nanny 10 years ago under the federal government's live-in caregiver program. She's since been licensed to work as an operating room nurse in Qikiqtani Hospital. She is married, has a son and a employs a Filipina nanny herself.
Harris-Ghalia says it's not an uncommon story: "A majority of the nannies I know that came are still here," she said. "I think it's the fact that the sense of community is very strong."
Harris-Ghalia guesses there are about 100 Filipinos in Iqaluit, doing everything from nursing to government work.
"I was thinking how many nannies, how many Filipinos here, in Iqaluit or Nunavut, came up as nannies. Now they have high-paying jobs in government, or are business people, or are the people to go to when you have problems. And how many of them started the way I did?" she said.
Harris-Galia said that living in a friendly, small town atmosphere makes it easier for people to integrate in the community while still retaining their own culture.
Since the 1980s, Canada's live-in caregiver program has allowed thousands of domestic workers to come to Canada and work in Canadian homes. For foreign nannies, the program offfers housing, work and the chance to apply for permanent residency.
In Iqaluit, the arrival of the Filipina nannies has also helped shape a new and unique community.
Caregiver Joevie Acbayaan has lived in Iqaluit for two years. And while she is now working for her third employer, she plans to stick around a while longer.
"I mean, you will surely miss the trees down south, but living up here, you just have to enjoy the things they have here," she said.