Virginia Guiang-Santoro, Arlene Ruiz awarded Canada’s top immigrants

HSBC Philippines
Virginia and Arlene Canada's top immigrants
Virginia Guiang-Santoro and Arlene Ruiz are among the RBC’s top 25 Canadian Immigrants this year. Photos from Canadian Immigrant Awards.

Filipinos Virginia Guiang-Santoro and Arlene Ruiz are among this year’s top 25 Canadian Immigrant awardees presented by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to honor immigrants who have made a positive difference in the country.

The only national awards program that celebrates the inspiring achievements of Canadian immigrants celebrated its 12th anniversary by announcing its 2020 winners.

“RBC is proud to celebrate and support newcomers across Canada as they establish themselves and strengthen the fabric of our communities,” says Amit Brahme, Senior Director, Newcomer Segment.

Hundreds of nominations were received this year, from which 75 finalists were shortlisted and judged by past winners. The 25 winners of RBC’s Canadian Immigrant Awards including two Filipinos were chosen based on nationwide online voting and judge’s scores and announced on September 17, 2020.

Virginia Guiang-Santoro

The Philippines-born Virginia Guiang-Santoro worked as a library professional at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and was recognized for her inspiring volunteerism and advocacy as the founder of the Filipino Domestic Workers Association of Manitoba (FIDWAM) which campaigned for the rights of caregivers in Canada for 35 years.

“It’s truly a great honour to be recognized for all that I’ve contributed to the community, especially to newcomers and foreign domestic workers in their struggle to be considered part of our society and free from abuses and mistreatment. That’s why I organized FIDWAM,” Guiang-Santoro remarked.

“I welcome the respect of my culture and traditions that I brought with me and I’m able to share it with other cultures,” she added. The Filipino immigrant has worked hard to make a life for herself and others in Canada since her arrival in 1969.

Virginia Guiang-Santoro was the president of the Philippine Association of Manitoba, a representative to the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada, a founding member of the Coalition of Filipino Canadians on Violence Prevention, a board director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and executive director of the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba.

Now retired, the RBC Canadian Immigrant awardee gives back by working in her local church as a communion minister, volunteer teacher, and more.

Arlene Ruiz

Arlene Ruiz is the owner of an immigration consultancy firm in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She launched Alexene Immigration & Employment Services Inc. to make the process easier for people who want to move to Canada.

“I want to make a difference in the lives of people,” says Ruiz, who came to Canada as a young immigrant from the Philippines.

Arlene Ruiz not only helps her clients move to the country, but she also personally sees to it that they start off on the right path. “For example, I offer a pickup service from the airport, and help them apply for their health care card and social insurance number, and even open a bank account,” Ruiz added.

The entrepreneur even connects her clients to Saskatchewan employers with job vacancies. Ruiz also volunteers with organizations like ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) Make-A-Wish Foundation and Children’s Wish Foundation.

The Filipino immigrant is planning to expand her company with a second location in Regina.

The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners will receive a commemorative plaque and ceremonial gift package. Winners will also be featured online and in the September print edition of Canadian Immigrant magazine.

Filipino immigrants around the world are being recognized for talent and dedication to their work.

Another Filipino entrepreneur Gelaine Santiago of Cambio & Co. was a Top 25 Canadian Immigrant awardee last year. Two Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) were also awarded Outstanding Migrant Workers in Taiwan.

Filipino artist Patrick Fernandez showcased his exhibition “Luntian” (Green) at the 5th Edition of Art NOW Fine Art Fair 2020 in Canada. His show was the only solo exhibit at the premier event.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Virginia Guiang-Santoro and Arlene Ruiz for being awarded Canada’s top immigrants.

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Margo Hannah De Guzman Quadra
Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.