The P.E.I. government is working on an agreement with the Philippines that could help bring more temporary foreign workers to the province.


P.E.I. cabinet minister Richard Brown believes the province can play a role helping Island businesses connect with Philippine workers. ((CBC))

Filipinos working abroad send much of the money they make back home,with the wagesamounting to about $13.5 billion in foreign revenue for the country.

That's why the Philippines is aggressively marketing its labour pool in Canada. It has worker exchange agreements with Saskatchewan and Manitoba and istrying to strike a deal with P.E.I.

Even though immigration comes under federal jurisdiction, Richard Brown, P.E.I.'s minister of development and technology, says the province can play a role in helping Island businesses connect with Philippine workers.

"Instead of companies going over there by themselves and trying to work through intermediaries all the time, the companies of P.E.I. would come to the government of P.E.I. and we then would go to the government of the Philippines and say these are our labour requirements," said Brown.

Lobster processor Ocean Choice had ambitious plans to increase the number of foreign workers at its processing plant in Souris this year. But a plan to bring workers from India fell through while Russian workers arrived late and there weren't as many as the company wanted.

Spokesman Jack MacAndrew said the company would welcome help from the province, suggesting it could "play a facilitating role in helping [companies] ease the paperwork and bureaucracy of getting workers in."

Brown plans to lead a delegation of Island businesses to the Philippines early in the new year.