Filipino news and entertainment giant ABS-CBN issued a rare apology after a reporter’s report on mushroom picker jobs in Canada spread on social media.
The report, which was aired on the network’s TV Patrol last week, made mention that mushroom pickers earned PhP150,000 per month just for picking mushrooms.
The Canadian mushroom industry is worth $1 billion dollars, but experiences chronic labour shortages. Canadians shy away from working in the mushroom industry, with low wages being the biggest reason for doing so.
www.FilipinosInCanada.com spoke with a recently arrived immigrant from the Philippines, who was a executive for a major bank. “I saw the news on TFC and I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been in Canada for a very short time, but I know well enough that there are many more opportunities that would pay better for a lot less work than mushroom picking.”
Migrante Ontario, the provincial branch of Migrante International, which advocates for the rights of Overseas Filipino Workers all over the world, wrote on their Facebook page that the report was not an accurate portayal of what OFW life is like in Canada.
Migrante Ontario said that the ABS-CBN article served “to abet unscrupulous recruiters in luring Filipinos to work in Canada under conditions that potentially expose them to exploitation by these recruiters and employers”.
ABS-CBN issued a rare apology on their official Twitter page, acknowledging that there were lapses in the report. The network said that they were conducting an internal investigation to find out what happened.
To make up for causing all the confusion in the first place, ABS-CBN issued an advisory, encouraging Filipinos to exercise caution when looking for work overseas.
The Philippine Embassy in Canada, as well as the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto both issued advisories against believing viral news on social media. Philippine Government representatives in Canada urged Filipinos to engage only with POEA-licensed recruitment agencies, and to check for the validity of existing job orders.
The ABS-CBN statement reads as follows:
“ABS-CBN News apologizes for a report last April 7 and 9 on the job opportunities for Filipinos as mushroom pickers in Ontario, Canada. While the job opportunities exist, upon checking with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency and other authorities, it turned out that the Canadian company has not sought accreditation with them.
*”We acknowledge our lapses in applying due diligence in covering the story from Canada. Our Standards and Practices unit is now addressing this. We have come out with a follow-up report that carried the advice and warning of POEA against unaccredited employers and recruitment agencies. *
“We will continue to follow the issue, investigate, and report on the state of our Filipino workers in Canada and other countries.”
Are you an OFW in Canada and you need help? Don’t be afraid to ask. These are the contact numbers and addresses of the POLOs in Canada:
Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) Toronto
160 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 200
Toronto, Ontario M4P 3B5
Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) Vancouver
World Trade Centre Office Complex
999 Canada Place, Suite 611
Vancouver, BC V6C 3E1
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