Canadian Parliament Declares June as Filipino Heritage Month

Photo above: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau celebrates with the Filipino community in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 31, the day after the passage of Motion 155. (Photo courtesy of Gary Anandasangaree)

In a unanimous vote of 290 in favor and none against, the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada adopted on Tuesday, 30 October, Motion 155–declaring the month of June of each year as Filipino Heritage Month throughout Canada. The private member’s bill was authored by MP Salma Zahid who represents the Scarborough Centre district in the Greater Toronto Area.

In her speech before the Filipino community, Ms. Zahid reiterated that the passing of Motion recognizes, celebrates and raises awareness of the Filipino community in Canada. “It is also a way of showing our Government’s official appreciation of the Filipino community for their important contribution throughout Canadian history and for helping to make our country the rich and vibrant place it is today.” 

M-155 reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should recognize the contributions that Filipino-Canadians have made to Canadian society, the richness of the Filipino language and culture, and the importance of reflecting upon Filipino heritage for future generations by declaring June, every year, Filipino Heritage Month.

Moving forward, Ms Zahid anticipates on “building a diverse and inclusive society by promoting and encouraging awareness, understanding and respect for many different cultures” which is one of the government’s priorities. 

Ambassador Petronila P. Garcia led leaders of various Filipino community organizations from Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto in expressing their appreciation for the parliamentary gesture which recognized the valuable contribution of the Filipino diaspora in Canada at a reception hosted by Member of Parliament Salma Zahid  in Ottawa.

The Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen also spoke on behalf of the federal government and assured the Filipino-Canadian community, now numbering more than 900,000 in the country that a pathway towards permanent residency will always be made available. 

The Filipino community in Canada is now the second largest Filipino diaspora after those in the United States. •

Ambassador Garcia addresses invited guests as Canadian parliamentarians who sponsored Motion 155 stood behind her. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Embassy)
(from left) Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk, Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Salma Zahid, Randeep Sarai, Ken Hardie, Frank Baylis. (Photo courtesy of Gary Anandasangaree)
Ambassador Garcia joins MP Salma Zahid and her parliamentary colleagues, including Canada-Philippines Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group Chair Kevin L’Amoureux (1st row, without coat). (Photo courtesy of Philippine Embassy)