Picture of Marie-Anne DAYÉ

Marie-Anne DAYÉ

Conceptrice - Rédactrice

When basketball and TET become one!

A full day of basketball: that’s all it took to please the Montmagny MRC’s temporary foreign workers, many of whom are fans of the sport. Some sixty of them, mostly Filipinos and Madagascans, enjoyed this activity organized by the Corporation de développement de la MRC de Montmagny (CDEMM).

Text and photos Marie-Anne Dayé

In all, some sixty TFW took part in the activity, which took place at the Louis-Jacques Casault school gymnasium on November 4, 2023. “Basketball is the number 1 sport in my country,” says Sean Ferrer, a Filipino who has been working in machine operation and furniture assembly at Teknion since January 2022. He chose to come to Quebec for better salary conditions, and hopes that his wife and 8-year-old son – also a basketball fan – will be able to join him. One of the difficulties Sean faces, like many of his compatriots, is the language barrier. “I want to learn French, so I’ve started taking classes,” he says proudly.

Filipinos, after Mexicans and Guatemalans, are the most numerous temporary foreign workers in Quebec.

Knowledge of French

A new measure introduced by the government of Quebec will require temporary foreign workers to prove that they have a minimum level 4 oral proficiency in French when renewing their work permits, after having been in Quebec for more than three years. Employers, for their part, will have to meet requirements to support their employees’ learning of French. This measure will not apply to agricultural workers.

Socializing, an essential need

Chris Baldonasa, also originally from the Philippines, joined Fonderie Poitras in L’Islet six months ago as a quality controller. Previously, he held a similar position at Toyota, but his salary was very low. “It’s a cycle. You get paid, you pay expenses, that’s it. You can’t save. Here, at least, I can save about 20% of what I earn,” he says, adding that his goal is to support his family back home. As he rubs shoulders with many Filipinos at work, he finds it easier to adapt to his new reality in Quebec. Every Saturday, they get together, cook, eat, play karaoke or celebrate a birthday. For him, this basketball day is another opportunity to socialize. And it’s even better if it’s to play the national sport!

The importance of community

Miora Razafimahefa Davidson chose Quebec to develop his career internationally. Before leaving Madagascar in November 2022, he was an industrial systems engineer specializing in energy. Today, he works for Garant, a manufacturer of snow shovels, as a laborer. He feels that his work here doesn’t necessarily match up to his lofty ambitions, but that it’s a great opportunity nonetheless.

Davidson, as his friends call him, was accompanied by ten other Madagascans when he arrived, which he says made it easier for him to settle in. “Here, it’s very subway-work-sleep, not like back home,” says Davidson, who comes from the land of mora-mora (slowness, tranquility). He believes that the lifestyle is more individual in Quebec than in Madagascar. “Back home, we know our neighbors,” says the 27-year-old. He does, however, acknowledge the support of the Montmagny accueille organization (a CDEMM partner), which has been offering him help and useful information on local services since his arrival.

These sporting activities with temporary foreign workers are also conducive to the exchange of information. The InfoTET team was on hand to distribute the general information guide and answer TFW’ questions, and a CNESST prevention advisor was also on hand to chat with participants.

The project was funded by the Government of Canada.

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