Kenn Mariano refers to his move to Canada as the “opportunity of a lifetime.” Kenn is a proud first-generation Filipino Canadian, who moved to rural Manitoba for a career in the hog sector and more importantly, to be in a place where he and his family could set down roots long-term.
Before coming to Manitoba, Kenn and his family were forced to live separate lives. Kenn had a job in veterinary medicine in the Philippines, but his wife and daughter lived in Dubai where his wife could find employment. That meant Kenn was only able to be with his wife and young daughter once every few months. Once Kenn was able to get a job here in Manitoba, thanks to the hog sector, he was able to bring his family while also encouraging others from his home country to join him. Kenn has been working in Manitoba for 13 years, and since 2009, 35 more foreign workers have immigrated to the community.
High-quality, skilled employees like Kenn are critical to ensuring Manitoba’s hog sector continues to succeed. In 2020, over 50 percent of hog operations reported they were not able to fill the positions they needed. Bringing more people like Kenn and his family to our country, and providing them access to skills training specific to the agri-food industry, is vital for the long-term success of both the hog sector and the provincial economy.
Communities like Brandon, Neepawa, Roblin, as well as those across the southeast, are thriving and diverse thanks to the increase of newcomers to the province. Newcomers drawn to Manitoba by jobs in the hog sector are welcomed as our new friends and neighbours, and as an important part of our community.
Today, several families from the Philippines have moved to Manitoba thanks to rewarding jobs in the hog sector, and in the meantime, they have been able to establish a home in communities across the province. Kenn and his family proudly host regular dinners for fellow newcomers. These gatherings serve as an important time for bonding and for building a sense of community, as well as an opportunity for Kenn to warmly welcome newcomers to Canada just as he was welcomed when he first arrived.
Hog farmers are proud to be one of the few sources of new job creation in rural areas. The Manitoba hog sector is forever working towards making a positive contribution to local communities and enriching the lives of all Manitobans.
To learn more, visit manitobapork.com/rural.