Manitobans heading to Philippines for nurse recruitment

A delegation of Manitoba’s healthcare leaders are heading to the Philippines to recruit future nurses to the province. As Mike Albanese reports, the Filipino population in Canada think they’re perfect for the job.

By Mike Albanese

A delegate is heading to the Philippines next week to recruit nurses to bring back to Manitoba and the local Filipino population in the province can’t wait to welcome them.

Sharry Mae Ibanez is a registered nurse in Manitoba who says most of her Filipino coworkers came to the province after the first recruitment initiative in the early 2000’s.

“I believe this is really a great place for Filipino nurses to come,” said Ibanez. “I believe that every opportunity is a blessing.”

“As every immigrant, we want a greener pasture right? and at the same time, most of my relatives are here in Canada.”

Manitoba has the largest Filipino population per capita in Canada, and the group of healthcare leaders heading to Manila, Cebu, and Iloilo for five days of interviews hopes to increase that.

Since this project’s announcement on January 24th, there have been 37,000 visits to the project’s website – almost half of those from the Philippines.


“Winnipeg is like another place in the Philippines. It just so happens that it’s here in Manitoba,” explained Leila Castro, a prominent member of Winnipeg’s Filipino community.

Castro says projects like these benefit both countries. “One of the reasons our economy doesn’t just sink now is because of the dollars that are sent back home.”

She added almost every Filipino is bilingual, but it’s more than a non-existent language barrier that makes Filipinos a good fit in the prairie province, it’s instilled values.

“Whether you are a client, you’re a neighbour, you’re a friend – we treat you like family,” said Ibanez. “We’re very resilient, we’re very hard-working, and at the same time we’re happy people, so we transform the energy to give the best service that we can provide to our clients.”

Chief Nursing Officer of Shared Health Monika Warren says they’re encouraging internationally educated nurses already in Canada to apply for positions as well – as healthcare systems continue to deal with a global nursing shortage.

“All of our educational institutions are increasing their nursing seats,” said Warren. “So we know we’ve got at least three years or so before we’ll start to see our own Manitoba-grown nurse volume go up. This is really a helpful bridging step to get a workforce that, they’ve already had lot’s of great experience in the Philippines looking after patients.”

The delegation begins their first day of interviews on February 21st.

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