QUEEN’S PARK – Doly Begum, NDP MPP for Scarborough Southwest, introduced a private member’s bill in the legislature on Tuesday that, if passed, would officially recognize June as Filipino Heritage Month in Ontario.
“Today, it is my honor to introduce the Act to proclaim June as Filipino Heritage Month in Ontario,” said Begum. “Filipino Heritage Month is an opportunity for all Ontarians to reflect, celebrate, and appreciate the history and pivotal contributions that Filipino-Canadians have made, and continue to make across the province.
“It’s time for the government of Ontario to give back to Filipino Canadians by recognizing their hard work and many contributions to our society, which have helped build the economic, social, political and cultural fabric of this province.”
Ontario is home to over 337,000 people of Philippine origin and June is an important month for the Filipino community.
Every year on June 12th, the Filipino community around the world celebrates Philippines Independence Day.
“Filipino Heritage Month in Ontario will provide all Ontarians with an opportunity to reflect on the roles and contributions of Filipino Ontarians in communities across the province, including the work of those Filipino Ontarians who are essential workers in keeping Ontarians safe and healthy and keeping the province moving during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Begum.
Begum recognized the individuals and organizations within the Filipino community in Ontario that have been working for many years to make this bill possible, and called on the provincial government to pass the Filipino Heritage Month Act, 2020, without delay.
“The provincial government must do its part by formally recognizing June of each year as Filipino Heritage Month,” said Begum.
Notable Filipino Canadians include actress Shay Mitchell, Councillor Rowena Santos, who holds the distinction of being the first Filipino Canadian to be elected to Council in Brampton, and Alicia Natividad, the first Filipino woman to be called to the Bar of Ontario.
Philippine Chamber of Commerce (Toronto)
“On behalf of the Filipino-Canadian Community and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce (Toronto), I would like to express our profound gratitude for MPP Doly Begum’s support in presenting this Bill to recognize June as Filipino Heritage Month in Ontario. It will indeed be our community’s pride to be granted with such privilege to exercise our identity, idealism and beliefs while enjoying the richness of Canadian diversity. This province-wide recognition of our Philippine Heritage will allow this generation and the future generations of Filipino-Canadians to nurture and preserve our cultural heritage. In this regard, we thank you very much for leading the passing of the Bill at the Ontario Legislature, and for supporting the Filipino-Canadian Community.”
Co-Founder and President of the Philippine Advancement through Arts and Culture (PATAC)
Past President, Filipino Canadian Parents Association in Catholic Education
“I strongly support the motion to declare June as Filipino Heritage Month. Heritage month celebrations are important in providing the space to teach and learn about cultural history of the Filipino Canadian community and how the community is viewed in the Canadian narrative. It is time to provincially and publicly acknowledge and affirm the value and the many contributions of the Filipino Canadian community, which have made Ontario a better place to live. It is time to recognize the important value of the community in Ontario’s mosaic.”
Veronica Javier, MSW, RSW
Community Organizer for Filipino-Canadian Social Workers, Social Service Workers, and Community Workers Network
“Filipino/a/x Canadians continuously offer and provide meaningful and lasting contributions to Canadian society, including providing essential health care, care work, social services, and education to Ontario residents of all ages. The Filipino Heritage Month bill will serve to amplify and exemplify the vital work of everyday and extraordinary Filipino-Canadians alike.“
Daniela Salcedo, President, Filipino-Canadian Student Associations
“This Bill will widely recognize the continued contribution of the Filipino community to Canada’s growth and prosperity. Filipino Heritage Month in Ontario will not only be a celebration of culture, but also a lifelong commitment to success.”
Ben S. Corpuz
Chair, Filipino Workers Network
Vice President, External, Philippine Independence Day Council
Vice-Chair, Kababayan Multicultural Centre
“I support the motion to declare June as Filipino Heritage Month. Filipino Canadians have been working to build Canada since the 1880s. Many Filipinos who migrated to Ontario in the 1960s came as health workers. Today, Filipino-Canadians are at the forefront in the fight against COVID19 pandemic; medical workers, personal support workers, grocery and supermarket workers, manufacturing and packing companies, hotel and restaurant workers – they risked their lives and their families for Canadian families to live safer and better. Now is the opportunity for Ontario to recognize the Filipino Canadian community’s contributions and publicly acknowledge and affirm that Filipino-Canadians are an important part of Canada’s society.”