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ChristineViljoen

Cost of living in Fort McMurray

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Marli

Congratulations Joseph!! And good luck with the move!

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Pierre

Joe, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

There are lots happening in your life right now.

It must be difficult to fly out from Sudbury to FMM with a newly born at home.

If you need suport at home give a shout in case there is someone in Sudbury who can assist.

Would your wife still be in hospital when you depart for FMM?

regards

Pierre

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chemeng1997

Thanks guys

We are just back home and my wife and the baby are in good health. We have many family members around so it should be ok.

Here is my baby pic.

Notice the long hair...!!!

Cheers

Joseph

(ps Joe I reduced the size of the image for the screen view - Pierre)

post-46-1156036281.jpg

Edited by Pierre

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Pierre

Beautifull baby!!!

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chemeng1997
Beautifull baby!!!

Hi All

I think that we will meet in person as I have got the job offer in FM and I am accepting it.

Wish you all best of luck.

Cheers

Joe

Edited by chemeng1997

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Pierre

Congratulation Joe!!!

That was a really quick answer/offer.

Good luck with the transition to the Fort!

Let us know if there is anything else we can help out with.

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Chris_Coetzee

Hi Guys,

just stumbled onto the site..wish I found it earlier....enjoyed reading all the posts. My family and I will arrive in Fort McMurray on 12th September .....

Chris

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Pierre

Welcome Chris. Hope you have a good transition to FMM.

Remember to make your journey here an adventure!

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chemeng1997

Thanks Pierre

Do you know (or Does anyone know) of tax advantages or breaks for living in Fort McMurray?

Cheers

Joe

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Pierre

In FMM you get a northern allowance break from the revenue Canada.

I usually have a financial consultant complete my tax returns, so I dont have the exact figure of what is allowable. I think it is $ 2500/yr. It's not a lot but it helps.

To claim this allowance you have to provide proof of spending this amount outside of FMM. Usually that is not a problem since most people travel to Edmonton and beyond.

Also one has to live here for more than 6 months before it becomes applicable.

If you need more specifics I can refer you to the consultant I use.

There are other tax consultants in town as well who know the rules.

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Ria

Welkom Chris.

Laat weet maar as julle hulp of enigiets nodig het wanneer julle in FMM aankom. Ons is al 'n klomp SAners hier.

Sterkte met die volgende paar weke!!!

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jakson

Hello,

I have a similar question. (I searched the forum and couldn't find any answers, sorry if I'm asking a question that's been asked before.)

I'm in Vancouver right now waiting for some paperwork before I can get moving. (For my car.)

1) Do you think I can land a job w/ an oil company by just showing up?? - I'm aiming for just general labour, I don't have any skills/degrees. (I have some construction experience tho and I know I'll do fine.)

2) I couldn't find anything on the net about the road conditions for driving up to FMM, but heard the roads are either closed or are closing soon...Have I missed the boat to even get there??

Thank you in advance to anyone that offers any help!!! I'm a bit worried to drive to FMM and get stranded there all winter w/ no job w/ an Oil Company....

= )

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Pierre

Jackson, Iknow of some people that showed up and got work within a week, but not directly for an oil company. It was with CONTRACTOR THAT DOES WORK FOR AN OIL COMPANY. To get a job at an oil company takes much longer.

The road here is a little better than the trek through the Karoo.

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jakson

Thanx Pierre...

Not sure what I'll do then....I know the cost of living is more up there, like more expensive food/rent.

.....If working for/thru a contractor is about the same as a typical decent job in Van, which may be cheaper living too....maybe i'll sit on it.........I'd be arriving with pretty much nothing.

Thanx again!!! = )

PS....do you happen to know roughly what kind've income one gets w/ a contractor???

Thank you!!!

Edited by jakson

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Pierre

Jakson, I had a chat with a someone briefly about your question. Here is the short reply for now.

"The rate is $19.50 to $20/hr for a labourer. When she started here 12 yrs ago it was $7.50/hr and a condo was expensive then at $60k. Now the same condo costs over $300k. If I had a decent job in Vancouver I wouldnt come here."

Accommodation is the main hurdle. Food prices here are similar to elsewhere in Alberta.

Some newcomers have more than one job as a start e.g. drive a bus over weekends, or a truck. Work lots of overtime. Live in a basement for a while, till he/she can afford to buy a house.

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jakson
"If I had a decent job in Vancouver I wouldnt come here."

Yeah...I think you are right...I've sloooowly found out a little bit more about it. (Glad I didn't rush out there.)

Thanx for all the help Pierre, it's appreciated!!

PS..I wish you a good winter in FMM!!!

Edited by jakson

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Pierre
PS..I wish you a good winter in FMM!!!

We're keeping our fingers crossed for globl warming.

Calgary got its first snow flurries today.

Over here its been raining lightly.

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SettlingInTheFort

Hi there everyone,

I was just doing a google search on Fort McMurray and I happened to come across this forum.

It is nice to see the Fort McMurray locals give advice to those who are planning on to move to Fort McMurray for a better life.

I am a university student from Lethbridge that has decided to take some time off school to enter the work force. Like most students, I have a student loan and I would like to pay this loan off and additionally have some money saved up so I can pursue my studies in UBC later on. And living in Vancouver is very expensive!

From what I have heard, labour shortage is a big problem in FortMcMurray. And I also have heard that lots of money can be made in the oil fields if you are willing to work hard.

From my knowledge, I know a few jobs that pay the following. Please correct me if it is actually different in Fort MuMurray than what I think.

One of them was being a driver (Have to take Class 1 courses for three weeks and I heard you get job offers as well) that paid $4500 Base Salary (Including Northern Alberta living allowance) and $23.50 / hour per pay period with no OT (I have also heard that you will get around 80-120 hours in a pay period).

The other one was a seismic driller helper that paid $1600 a week = $6400 / month.

Is this a typical pay for a labourer in Fort McMurray? Are these jobs easy to get for a person that has no previous experience in the oil industry?

I think these types of pay are outstanding (Even compared to Calgary) given the fact that you also get 6 days off after your 15 day work. And even with the expensive cost of living Fort McMurray offers, I think I will be able to save a significant amount of money (With a tight budget of course) so that I can pursue my studies in the future without having to worry about money.

How much does it cost to rent a bachelor's suite? Would it be cheaper for me to live with a family (Rent a bedroom)? Is it THAT hard to find accomodation within the city?

I would appreciate it if anyone could give me advice / suggestions in regards to my questions since I am debating whether I should move to FortMcMurray or Calgary (I was able to find entry-level jobs that pay $18-22 / hour in Calgary, some being labour work and some not involving physical work).

I apologize for the post being so long but I have so much questions to ask... Thank you very much for your time everyone and hopefully I'll get to see you all in Fort McMurray!!!

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SettlingInTheFort

And additional question:

What about working labour jobs in the winter? I would assume it gets to -30 and below during the winter.

Are the coats enough to keep you warm when you are at work? Or is the working clothing warm enough to keep you going for the day?

What do workers do up there to keep themselves warm?

I am very concerned because my skin is very sensitive to cold winds (Even in -20 weather) and maybe this is something I may not want to pursue. I am ready to put myself to the test, as far as working hard.

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Pierre

Well Chris Coetzee has arrived in FMM.

I met him on the bus by coincidence - I was talking to my wife in Afr on the cell phone when he overheard and greeted etc.

Welcome Chris and family and STERKTE with the settling in.

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Pierre

Hi SettlingInTheFort

I sometimes wonder why I bothered to get an engineering degree and an MBA and other people with much lower skills and training get off the mark with a bang and out preform me financially.

Anyway thats the way the cookie crumbles sometimes in life.

Yes the salary range you mentioned is correct.

Drivers are always in demand here for busses and most of the year for other construction etc.

They have a saying here that there is two seasons in FMM ... winter and construction. But actually construction carries on for most of the winter as well - they find ways to work around the cold. Anyway the mining operation carries on around the year. There is perhaps a few days per year when the work gets stopped because of cold, but then the stockpiles are utilised.

When it gets to -40 construction work on site by the projects group is stopped. Productivity gets too low.

Winter clothing - there are all sorts of winter cloting used for outside work in winter. I work in an office but have to go to site sometimes and the normal two or three layers of clothing suffices below a coverall plus a Parka jacket. The Parka is an insulated heavyjacket issued by the company and has your name on it.

In Jan 2005 we had a fire on site and afterwards had to go and do assessments and repairs when it was below -35. I noticed some guys who spend more time outside wore a 'farmer John' type one piece coverall under the Parka, which is of similar material than the Parka.

I know also sometime workers sit in warm up huts or vehicles and take turns to go out and proceed with work.

Generally though planned work is carried out in shelters which are warmed up with steam heaters.

Half the factory is covered in canvas shelters at places where repairs are done or inspections need to be done regularly. There is usually a steam heater with circulation fan installed.

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Pierre
I was just doing a google search on Fort McMurray and I happened to come across this forum.

It is nice to see the Fort McMurray locals give advice to those who are planning on to move to Fort McMurray for a better life.

Glad to be of service.

It was targeted for South Africans but I guess a lot of the info here is applicable to the general newcomer as well.

Google was on the local radio news here today. The question was asked how they get to make so much money.... is it from banner ad's.... WOW ...

How much does it cost to rent a bachelor's suite? Would it be cheaper for me to live with a family (Rent a bedroom)? Is it THAT hard to find accomodation within the city?

It is certainly cheaper to live with a family. There are lots renting out spare space in the house. Renting a bedroom is probably around $600/m or more.

I dont know what a bachelor suite would cost to rent.

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SettlingInTheFort

Hey Pierre, thanks so much for your general response. Although I am not originally from South Africa (South Korea for me to be exact :D ), I am originally an immigrant as well as most people in the forum.

By the way, I have noticed that South Africans are very nice people by the way. Our family doctor is also an immigrant from South Africa (I think he moved here about 5 years ago).

Anyways, a few more questions regarding employment. I hope you don't mind...

1. You did mention that entry-level jobs with a contractor are easily attainable that pays around $20 / hour. My question is, approximately how long does it take for you to become a Seismic driller helper, roughneck, rigger and work for an oil company? Please correct me if I am wrong but do you mean working at a management position working for an oil company? I am simply looking for a general labour job that pays good so I can save up money for school

2. I thought Seismic driller helper, roughneck, rigger are also entry-level jobs as well. If you mean working for an oil company includes these kinds of jobs, how come they are so hard to come by?

3. Is it THAT hard working in the oil fields? 15 days on, 6 days off seems a reasonable work schedule for me. If you work for a contractor, do you get the same 15/6 working schedule?

4. Is it better off being a driver than a labourer in the oil fields? Is there a difference in pay? Would you rather suggest one obtains a Class 1 License before considering the move to Fort McMurray?

5. Are there opportunities for OT work for 1.5 times pay?

6. From your knowledge, with a tight budget (Living with a family, dining at home), approximately how much would one take home per month in all the jobs mentioned above (Minus everything, including deductions)?

Over the 15/6 schedule, I only plan on flying back down home once out of every two weeks off (~$400 for 1.5 months = $200 / month).

Now I am thinking I may have rigger, working for a contractor, working for an oil company all mixed up. I hope you can understand since I am new to the oil industry and may have not gotten the grasp of things.

Thanks very much and if I ever get to settle in Fort McMurray, it would be really nice if I would get to see you in person :D.

In the meantime, I'll keep firing the questions to decide whether I should make my move or just go live in Calgary :D.

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Pierre
how long does it take for you to become a Seismic driller helper, roughneck, rigger and work for an oil company?

I dont know. Sorry. I am not familiar with seismic drilling activities around FMM. Drilling is being done to determine the location and depth of oil deposits - but I dont know who does it. I suspect it is contracted to a seismic company in Calgary.

If you work for a contractor, do you get the same 15/6 working schedule?

Yes. There are laws governing how long you may work continuously.

Many people work that kind of shift and then disappear for a few days to take a break elsewhere.

Is it better off being a driver than a labourer in the oil fields? Is there a difference in pay?

This question is too detailed for me.

There is an employment office in the provincial building - you can also find them on the Wood Buffalo website. They would be able to give the kind of information you are looking for. They also give a weekly lecture/seminar in the provincial building to work seekers about opportunities and career advice.

Are there opportunities for OT work for 1.5 times pay?

Most hourly paid workers work overtime. There are lots of opportunities for working overtime. Some prefer tose stat holidays when its double or tripple time - I am not sure about the rules. Someone else in the trades may be able to answer.

approximately how much would one take home

I dont know.

working for a contractor, working for an oil company

This is how most people get employed here initially. They also make more money that way. Later they may settle for a steady job and get employed by the oil company directly. This usually goes along with less pay and more benefits and more job security.

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SettlingInTheFort

Hey Pierre, thanks again for your kind advice. I guess I did ask some questions that are too difficult for an ordinary working person to answer. I hope you can understand since I am debating whether to move to Calgary for a $18-22 / hour job or perhaps a better opportunity in Fort McMurray. I have noticed that cost of the living is about the same (Maybe a little more in Fort McMurray, but some companies pay for your board and food with a competitive wage / salary).

As far as the Class 1 driver license is concerned, I think I will try to take it (If my savings can handle it :lol: ) since I have noticed that Class 1 drivers are in need.

In addition, I think I will take the First Aid certificate and others so that I have more options towards employment.

After all, the worst it can get is a job at McDonalds :lol:.

Once again, thanks so much for your info and I'll keep in touch ;).

P.S. : Would you happen to know the contact number / e-mail for the employment office in the provincial building? Like you mentioned, perhaps they can help me out with my employment questions.

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