Inspired

Our Canadian dream is turning into a nightmare

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Inspired

Hallo everyone,

It has been such a privilege to be a (silent:D) partner of such a great forum! Learning so much from all of you and reading all the inspiring stories over the past year and a half, praying and hoping for the same for our family. But, we are devastated and need advice...

Just a quick introduction. We are a family of 4. We arrived in Alberta, Canada in August 2016 on work permits. My husband is on a LMIA 2 year work permit for 40 hours per week. I have a 2 year open work permit. We are living in a small town in Central Alberta where my hubby is working as a farm supervisor. The 2016 - 2017 harvest season in this area has been a disaster. The late rain and early October snow made it impossible to harvest everything on time and his employer lost almost 25% of the crops. Needless to say, it is affecting us BIG time. Since November, shifts have been cancelled left and right but it has reached levels of disbelieve. This month, he has only worked 3 days...

We've been very understanding of the situation up to now as we were both self-employed since 1999 and know what it takes to make a business succeed. There is difficult decisions to make. We were prepared to wait it out till end of this month as we were hoping to receive our PR by then. Our PR application was submitted in October 2016 under Express Entry (Federal Skilled Trades stream) which means our 6 months processing period will end this Sunday.

BUT, that was before today. We phoned CIC to ask for a status update, hoping they would tell us the application has been finalized and we will receive our passport request this week. The lady replied our application is in process, it looks really good and all the background checks have been done. There is nothing outstanding. Great news we thought. But then she continue and tell us there is no fixed timeline for this stream under which we applied and she can't tell us when it will be finalized. Hopefully at the end of the summer :(. We should phone them again end of September 2017...

We have been digging into our life savings to stay afloat, hoping it will only be for a little longer before hubby can make a move and apply for other jobs elsewhere. But now to wait another 5 months under these conditions would be impossible to do. There are very little (basically none) employment opportunities for me in this town. I worked in the construction industry as an architectural technologist and project manager in South Africa, but the Alberta economy has been severely affected, and the construction and housing industry has not been spared. LOADS of unemployment and people are still being laid off.

We are stuck! And the worst part of it all is to not be able to take control of this terrible situation. We are trying to see the lesson in this but it is hard...

Would really appreciate some advice...

 

 

Edited by Inspired

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CarelG

I have read about a bridging visa/open work permit for people who are already in Canada, and then started the PR process.....and if I recall, it was on for FSW Express Entry.... however I am completely clueless on how it works and if it will apply to you. But it seems that you get some kind of temporary resident status and will be able to work.

Might be worth researching? 

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Merida

@Inspired, maybe this information will be helpful: http://www.blaney.com/articles/employment-termination-and-maintenance-of-lawful-status-in-canada

You might need to move from the small town in Alberta to somewhere where you can find a job, even if it's just a survival job until your PR is finalized.

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Nettie

Hello @Inspired.

I am sorry to hear about the challenges that you are facing.

If you qualify for social assistance, this may be an option in the interim:

http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/financial-support/3171.html

Alberta Works

Alberta Works helps unemployed and low-income Albertans meet their basic needs and find jobs.

Services include:

Contact us to find out how we can assist you.

 

1 866 644 5135 Customer Service or visit your local office.

 

Best of luck.

 

 

Edited by Nettie

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Jules

To the OP when you say there are no jobs for you would that include minimum wage service jobs? I know it's not ideal but even earning minimum wage at a Tim Hortons helps cushion the financial strain. I know family who moved to the UK and couldn't find work so they started cleaning houses - turned into a profitable cleaning business.

For now, I would even visit a food bank each monthly to reduce your grocery bill. You've got to do whatever it takes to get though this season. Clean houses, pour coffee, flip a burger... Using a farming analogy you are in a drought right now in your life but the rains will come and so will the harvest. Don't give up. 

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graciax452

@Inspired Hang in there! I know it seems tough now but it will happen. Most PR's are making the 6 month timeline so I'm sure yours will follow soon.

My sister is an aeronautical engineer, also in Alberta, after maternity leave she could not get a job because as you said Alberta is in a major slump right now, she started working at an insurance call centre and now is looking to go into actuary. She did what she needed to, and now is a manager. Call centres are always looking for people, yes they have odd hours but it will tide you over. As @Jules said look for any minimum service job to tide you over till you can move.

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Lizelle

Both Edmonton and Calgary are doing pretty good, construction wise (talking about big construction here - waste water, bridges, roads - not sure what the housing industry looks like.  Calgary is set to start construction of a huge part of the ring road this year -https://www.transportation.alberta.ca/sw-crrgp.htm - , they will surely need people there).  Edmonton, especially, was not as greatly affected by the oil downturn (a lot of the oil headquarters were/are in Calgary, Edmonton is government).  Grande Prairie is not doing too bad either (gas seems to be picking up on that side).  Do you have any bigger towns that you can move closer too, while still being driving distance to the farm?  

If the shifts are that far and few, hubby can drive 2-3 hours to a shift once in a while, and then you can be closer to a bigger town/city for work.  Yes, it sucks, but that will give you some choices, and enable you to wait for PR, which then opens up the whole Canada to you.  

Another important thing - A Site Manager in South Africa is NOT the same thing as a Site Superintendent in Canada.  In SA the Site Manager sits underneath the PM.  Here they tend to sit at the same place in the organization.  The PM tends to be more focused on the paperwork side of things, getting things ordered on time, ensuring that permits are done in time.  The Superintendent is the person on site actually building the thing, and deciding what to do when.  Depending on the size of the organization the Superintendent may be one the same level, lower or higher than a PM.

An Estimator is also not the same as a Quantity Surveyor (though I cannot remember the distinction right now).

The easiest "in" into a construction company is probably the Co-ordinator.  A good Co-ordinator can move up in the company pretty easy, and since you work with both the PM and the Superintendent, your good work can easily be seen.  

Edited by Lizelle
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Hennie Calgary

A good website with all the Canada benefits is:

http://www.canadabenefits.gc.ca/f.1.2c.6.3z.1rdq.5.2st.3.4ns@.jsp?lang=en

You answer a series of questions, and then it summarises the plans to those that may apply to your situation. There is one which provides income support in the specific case where your employer goes bankrupt or into receivership, for instance. Good luck!

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Inspired

Just want to say a HUGE thank you to all of your insightful opinions and great advice. Duly noted. We have some research to do and need to make a decision soon. You guys are awesome!

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Lanieb

Morning Inspired

 

What is happening in your life now ? Still in Alberta? We are in Southern Alberta. Have you got PR yet? 

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