Filipina-Canadian Rechie Valdez Trailblazes from MP to Small Business Minister

Rechie Valdez  Small Business Minister
Discover the inspiring journey of Rechie Valdez, the first Filipina-Canadian woman to be appointed as the Small Business Minister in Canada. Learn about her commitment to entrepreneurship, her dedication to community advocacy, and the Filipino influence in her successful career—photo from Rechie Valdez’s social media.

The first Filipina-Canadian Member of Parliament, Rechie Valdez, again made history when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named her the new Minister of Small Business. This appointment marked Valdez as the first Filipino woman to serve in the Canadian Cabinet, an accomplishment that resonates with pride within the Filipino community around the world.

During her oath-taking ceremony on July 26, 2023, an emotional Valdez commenced with a resounding “Mabuhay,” a Filipino salutation that translates to “Long live.” The audience erupted in cheers as Valdez passionately pledged her commitment to her new role. Choking back tears, she recited, “I, Rechie Valdez, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will truly and faithfully, and to the best of my skill and knowledge, execute the powers and trusts reposed in me, as Minister of Small Business. So help me God.”

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Following this historic appointment, Valdez took to social media to express her feelings. She posted, “I am truly honoured and privileged to serve as Canada’s Minister of Small Business. I look forward to working with and supporting small businesses across our country. I would like to thank PM Justin Trudeau for your faith and confidence in me. I also want to give a special thank you to the constituents of Mississauga—Streetsville for your support. To my Cabinet colleagues, I am excited to get to work!”

Valdez, who hails from Mississauga-Streetsville, has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since October 2021, another significant milestone as she became the first Filipino woman elected as a Canadian MP. A mother of two and a former corporate banker, Valdez is also an entrepreneur who established a Filipino fusion pastry line. These baked goods are featured in two major Asian grocery chains in Mississauga, a city neighboring Toronto.

Valdez’s influence extends beyond her local community. She has interacted with Filipinos globally through the PH Time Is Now movement, which aims to mentor Filipinos as future world leaders. Her advocacies as an MP covered various areas, such as combating climate change, investing in women entrepreneurs, advancing pay-equity legislation, enhancing healthcare investment, and supporting first-time home buyers and small business owners.

Besides her political commitments, Valdez is the driving force behind Battle 416, a non-profit basketball festival hosting men’s, women’s, and youth basketball tournaments and music festivals in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square.

Valdez represents the second Canadian of Filipino descent to hold a position in the House of Commons in nearly two decades, following Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, who represented Winnipeg North in Manitoba until 2004.

Born in Zambia, Africa, Valdez moved to Canada and was brought up in Mississauga, Ontario. She worked as a corporate banker for fifteen years, where she gained cross-enterprise expertise in change management, project management, and strategy. As an entrepreneur, she also served as the Vice President of Marketing and Creative Head for multiple brands spanning various industries.

Valdez is the proud owner of Chietopia Bakery, where she is a published baker specializing in cakes and dessert tables. She co-founded an innovative Filipino Fusion line of pastries that are popular in Mississauga. With around 957,355 Canadians of Filipino descent as of 2021, Valdez’s efforts symbolize the vibrant contribution of Filipinos to Canadian society.

During his cabinet reshuffle announcement, PM Trudeau emphasized his confidence in his team to continue their focus on what matters most to Canadians, including making life more affordable, growing the economy, and creating good jobs for the middle class. His choice of Valdez to head small businesses is a testament to her background as an entrepreneur and her dedication to the cause.

In her new role as Minister of Small Business, Valdez is expected to bring the same drive, determination, and leadership she demonstrated in her past ventures. As the Government’s introduction of her states, “Minister Valdez is a Canadian entrepreneur, television personality, and community advocate…committed to ensuring the diverse voices of her community are heard.” This appointment marks a significant step forward in reflecting the diversity and talent of the country, and Filipinos in Canada and globally can take great pride in this accomplishment.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS AND WELL WISHES in the comments below to Rechie Valdez, the first Filipino named in the Canadian Cabinet!

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The Good News Pilipinas Team is a group of Filipino journalists who advocate putting more good news stories about the Philippines and Filipinos on the media.