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Top 25 Canadian Immigrants

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) celebrated its eight annual Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Awards with ceremonies in Toronto, on June 21, and Vancouver on June 23.

Perla Javate, president of the Philippine Heritage Council of Manitoba, was among the 25 awardees, honoured for her years of service working to preserve and promote Philippine culture. This past month also marked her 40th year in Canada.

“In the 1980s, the Filipino population was about 20,000. It has steadily grown to 70,000 plus today and Filipino [Tagalog] is the second most used language in Manitoba,” said Javate, who was a social worker before she came to Canada, with Toronto as her first stop.

“I came to Canada with impressive employment background in the Philippines and in the Netherlands,” she said. “At least, that is what I thought I brought with me. Little did I know that Canadian experience is all that matters!”

Javate first worked in a group home in Toronto but after a visit to Winnipeg, she found two jobs here; a part-time job as assistant head of residence of Balmoral Hall School, an exclusive girls’ school and a full-time job as a staff member in Sara Riel, a residential mental health facility.

Later she was hired as the Filipino Community Liaison Officer for the Winnipeg School Division and she’s still there today, with the new role of Intercultural Support worker.

“It has always been my hope that our students achieve their full potential and be successful in their chosen field, the very reason why their parents chose to immigrate,” said Javate.

Perla Javate was also recently named president of Pinays Manitoba Inc., a new women’s group and she is also involved with the Stronger Together Initiative, a joint undertaking to connect immigrants and refugees of all cultures.

“Being a Canadian means accepting our multicultural heritage, accepting and respecting each other, and allowing ourselves to be enriched by different cultures,” said Javate. “I am proud to be a Filipino-Canadian.”

Newcomer Renan Orquiza, an engineer in Mississauga, Ontario, was the only other Filipino awardee at among the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2016. Other honourees were: Kiran Ahluwalia, Leen Al Zaibak, Godwin Chan, Tilak Chawan, Queenie Choo, Igor Dobrovolskiy, novelist Emma Donoghue, Josephine Etowa, Chandran Fernando, Azita Haddadi, Narmin Ismail, Christians Izquierdo, Jin Jiang, Ignat Kaneff, Leon Lee, Fiona Macfarlane, Mina Mawani, Nasser Rad, Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan, Fred Farhad Soofi, Kumaran Thillainadarajah, Avan Yu, and Félix Zogning.

Pilipino Express