by Quay Evano, ABS-CBN News
CALGARY — After four years of economic recession, the province of Alberta, known as the “oil and gas capital of Canada,” is now on the path of economic recovery.
Since 2014, residents of Alberta have endured one of the biggest oil and gas economic downturns since the 1930’s.
Many Filipinos were among the thousands who lost their jobs. But now, things are getting better.
The economy of Alberta is now leading the country, with a GDP growth of 4.5 percent.
“So, definitely now that the price of oil is looking to be a bit more stable than it was a year or two ago, and it’s on the uptake as opposed to be being in the depths. This is good news for investors, who are looking to invest in Alberta,” said Sarah Hoffman, Alberta Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
In a meeting with Filipino community leaders in Calgary, Hoffman reported a 3.5 to 4 percent increase in the Alberta government’s health and education budget, among other initiatives, to provide stability.
This resulted to 90,000 jobs created in 2017.
“Many times in the past we know when the price of oil went down, that would mean teachers would get laid off, nurses would get laid off, we refuse to take that path. We want to make sure we have a strong public sector, strong support for families and at the same time the private sector is recovering.”
Despite this, some families are still not feeling the economic growth within their homes just yet.
“That’s one of the reasons we are not backing off with our initiatives on economic diversification, investing and making it an attractive climate for private sector investments. And it’s another reason why we are sticking with stability for healthcare and education.
Nevertheless, the Filipino community in Alberta welcomed the good news with much relief.
“Maraming na lay-off from the oil and gas services, so I think yung news ni minister Hoffman is magiging magandang balita para sa mga Pilipino na magkakaroon ulit ng maganda at stable na trabaho lalo na sa oil and gas industry,” said Migrante-Alberta member Jay Zapata.
“Hopefully this growth can translate into more and better jobs for Filipinos and of course, we are happy to note that the Filipinos are getting their act together, so they can present a solid community and they can work for their own benefits and welfare,” said Julius Torres, Philippine consul general of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The economic growth has been seen in all sectors with the manufacturing, export and oil and gas industries bouncing back on their feet — with the prospect of new jobs for kababayans and Alberta residents alike looking much brighter than before.