Mel Vincent Tejero

Mel Vincent Tejero says the plunging loonie has forced him to take on another job so he can continue to send money to his family in the Philippines. (CBC)

The sinking loonie is making Canadian immigrants, who collectively send billions of dollars a year to their loved ones abroad, nervous they will no longer be able to support their families.

Mel Vincent Tejero, who came to Canada from the Philippines in 2004, said he sends $300 back to his wife and daughter every two weeks. The low Canadian dollar has forced him find another job to continue with the regular transfers, he said.

"I work two jobs at the moment to be able to keep up and support them," he said.

Christine Straehle, a migration expert at the University of Ottawa, said the low dollar could also be difficult for temporary foreign workers.

"Most of these people work in low- to middle-income jobs. Most people will send $500, maybe $800 per month. And every exchange rate, every worsening of the Canadian dollar in relation to the American dollar will affect the rate of return for the people back home," she said.

Families in Philippines, Somalia, Jamaica could be affected

Dilip Ratha

Dilip Ratha, the World Bank's lead economist on remittances, says international migrants will send $601 billion to their families in their home countries this year, with developing countries receiving $441 billion. (World Bank)

More than $23 billion was sent from Canada to other countries in 2014, according to the World Bank. About $2 billion of that was transferred directly to the Philippines. 

Dilip Ratha, the World Bank's lead economist on remittances, said that while the impact of Canada's weakening dollar won't be felt right away, it has the potential to be significant.

"A fall of, let's say, 25 per cent in the currency could translate to maybe a 10-per-cent impact on the remittance flows from Canada to the Philippines. So, we're talking about an impact of about $200 million," Ratha said.

Ratha said people in many other countries that rely on remittance money, such as Somalia and Jamaica, could also be affected by the sinking loonie.