Canada's Saskatchewan province Minister of Health Paul Merriman during a reception in Pasay on Nov. 29, 2022. (PNA photo by Joyce Ann Rocamora) 

MANILA – An entry-level salary of 74,000 Canadian dollars (around PHP3 million) per year awaits Filipino nurses in Canada's Saskatchewan province as it turns to southeast Asia, including the Philippines to boost its health care workforce.

In an interview Tuesday night, visiting Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman said recruitment is ongoing for Filipino healthcare workers, specifically nurses and continuing care assistants (CCA).

The starting rate, he said, is on top of the pension, health care, and other benefits offered by Canada.

“Saskatchewan will fully assist and support Filipino healthcare professionals with skills, qualifications, education and training credentials as they enter our workforce," he said.

"We will also provide needed assistance and support for families settling in our communities. We are committed to following ethical principles in the employment of Filipino healthcare workers, while creating the positive environment that makes us a top destination of choice for employment,” he added.

Claudine de vera, 35, who has been working as a nurse in a hospital in Mandaluyong for four years, was among the newly-hired CCAs.

De Vera sent her application in June 2022 and got a job offer in September. In January 2023, she's expected to fly to Canada.

De Vera said migration is already part of her plan but Canada's competitive salary for nurses is among the biggest factors why she chose Saskatchewan.

"Unang una mas mataas ang salary sa kanila tapos may health care, pati na rin 'yong sa education ng mga bata (First of all, the salary is high then there's health care. Also a consideration is education for my kids)," she told the Philippine News Agency.

"Nababalitaan kasi namin na kapag kailangan kang operahan or what libre na compared dito magbabayad ka ng mahal, so malaki talaga 'yong difference (We've been hearing it a lot that they cover even surgeries for free unlike here where you have to shell out a huge amount, so the difference ia really big)," she added.

The Canadian province, according to Merriman, will hire more than 1,000 healthcare workers from several countries, including the Philippines.

Merriman is currently in the country until Friday to meet with Filipino stakeholders and provide information sessions for interested applicants.

He will also participate in a number of events to strengthen collaboration on health care and between post-secondary institutions. (PNA)