MM2C Podcast by Ben Alagnam

SEARCH the Related FSW Canada Topics HERE!

01 May 2015

Top 5 Problems We Encountered As an Immigrant in Toronto Canada

Some of our relatives and friends that were in Canada may hide the negative aspects of their lives in the country, which they don't want us to know the real situation.

As always, my style was to give my readers all the positive aspects of a country where I reside in and true when I was in Singapore.

Like My Singapore Story, it's always focused on the positive side because I thought that showing those were easy than focusing on the darker regions.

This time, I had to lay down the "negative" cards in Canada because one of my readers (Anna) emailed me and asked about the problems that I had encountered here.

Here's her message...
"We just received the ITA from CIC yesterday so we will have to hand in the documents in 60 days and after 6 months should get the visa. 
I just read your wife, Net's writing on your blog that she just resigned from her job. How is your family situation now? Is it difficult to adapt there?...
....Please do share with us about your problems. We hope that we can see you soon in Toronto."
After reading her email, it made me realize that I should be starting to post about my problems that I've encountered here.  This is for the benefit of all FSW applicants and new immigrants.

Problems We'd Encountered In Canada
Like you, I was clueless about how Canada look like and how's life inside the country.  I got the information only from my relatives, friends and online forums.  

Although there are government sites that provide us information to settle, but it's not personal.  This time, you will have it straight from me in Toronto, Canada.

I will start from the month before we landed until the present.

1. Budgeting For The Airline Tickets
As we know the fact that the distance between Philippines and Canada is 6,921miles.  This means that the airline ticket is not expensive, but VERY expensive.

The price of our ticket on 2014 was PHP110,000.00 (USD2,500) for 2 adults and 2 kids, terminal fees and travel taxes are exclusive.  Instead of using the amount for my Proof Of Fund, it was diverted to my expenses.

Imagine if we are going for a vacation in Philippines, 4 of us, we might need to save money in 2 or more straight years just for the ticket and I wonder how much would it be then.

2. Permanent Residence Card
As soon as we arrived in Canada, the immigration officer at the airport informed us that we will receive our PR cards 8 to 10 weeks upon landing.

We waited for over that timeframe until I decided to call the CIC customer hotline to follow up our PR cards.  I was informed that they had sent a letter 2 months ago to my address and that it was returned to them due to a wrong address.

I can't remember how I mistakenly stated the address, but maybe I did.  They added that the reason for the delay in the issuance of our PR cards was because of our photos, which the Case Processing Center (CPC) was requiring us to submit a new set.

Usually, when CIC requires me to submit something, they'll send me an email in conjunction with a physical letter.  But, I was wondering, for this time, they haven't sent me an email correspondence.

We've been here for more than 5 months without the PR cards.   The proof of our status was only our COPR copies and passports.  So, we sent a new set of photos to CPC.

Few days ago, the PR cards came at last, but the bad news is, my card wasn't there.  Well, I need to inform them again.   The postman may have accidentally dropped it on his way to our mailbox.  We'll see how it goes.

3.  Effects of Winter in Our Tropical Skin
This is our first time to experience winter with temperatures that reaches -22degC and feels like -30degC.  You will know how it feels with these numbers and units once you get here.

The first few weeks and months were a total adjustment for us.  We are clueless on the changes, which the cold weather affected our tropical body and skin.  We had experienced nose bleeding, super dry skin, skin pigmentation, clogged nose, and cracked skin that develops into a wound.

4. Time and Schedules
My wife and I were both working days after we've landed.   That was a good start and we're working enthusiastically on the first days and months in our job-site.

Our finances were good, we can buy the groceries we want and need for our daily necessities.  Bills are paid on time and the kids can have their weekend delight and surprises.

Then we realized that TIME was the culprit of us being unhappy with our job and setup.

To give you an idea, agencies hire people who were eager to work anytime and anywhere.  The schedules that they provide were the following:

Morning shift - 7:00am to 4:00pm
Afternoon shift - 4:00pm to 11:00pm
Night shift - 11:00pm to 7:00am
Normal shift - 8:00 to 5:00pm

For me, I was working on a normal shift.  On the other hand, my wife was given an afternoon shift. This is a good setup if we don't have children.  But, it's not the case.

My eldest son, SAM, should be in school at 8:30am to 3:00pm and my youngest stays home the whole day, playing.

I made a chart here to give you a better view of our situation.

The Yellow color is represented as the time when each of us is away from home. On the other hand, Green represents the time that we're at home.

The color that we need to focus our attention is at the Red line.  That means, at this period, me and my wife were both away from home and SAM and TOM's schedules were Green.  It was a big issue for us as to where to leave them with while we're away.

I was lucky to have a sister near our place who had an evening shift.  We send them both to her during our Yellow time.

5. Doing the Chores
When I arrive home from work, I had to fetch the two at my sister's house.  Coming from work, tired and hungry was the worst thing that I don't want to experience at the end of the day.  My wife was out to work and the problems were:

* Who prepares our dinner?
* Who prepares the milk and taking our kids to sleep?
* Who cooks our breakfast and prepares lunch?
* Who cleans the house?

So, my wife cleans the house, cooks dinner and breakfast when she's at home.  For me, I prepare the milk, clean the house, heat the food in the microwave, wash the dishes and put my kids to bed while I'm craving for food and sleep.  *sigh*

It was difficult having this type of setup.  Since we are new, we've closed our one eye and moved on with the uneasy setup for a few months...

If you've noticed, the problem of clothing and furniture were not included in the list, it's because I have my sister who happened to have a network of generous friends who provided us most of our winter, spring clothing and furniture.

If you don't have networks yet, you can buy second-hand clothing or buy at cheap factory outlets here in Toronto and this will be discussed on my future posts.

Do you think this post is helpful?  Please tick the LIKE below.

Do you have any questions in mind?  Leave a comment below.


Anonymous said...

1-2 are part of the process and not real problems.

3-5 are the ones new immigrants really need to prepare for.

Dabs (from P2C)

Unknown said...

Hi Ben,

My family and I are FSW 2014 applicants and we just finished our medicals.
Thank you so much for all the information you post here. You are helping a lot of people through your blog.
I would just like to ask the following questions:
1) Where did you stay initially upon your arrival there? How long did it take you to look for your own place? How did you look for your place?
2) What documents are needed for the kids to be accepted in their school? How to apply for kids' allowance from the government?
Thanks and looking forward to your reply!

Unknown said...

Hi Ben,

Just check with you, when you landing at the POE in your case Toronto, do you need to fill up Canada local address in order to send your PR cards at the PR forms IMM5444E as per this link?,d.c2E

Do you prepare this forms before reach Canada? if need to fill up, how do you prepare section D, residency obligation? if no need, please let me know. I am planning to do first landing with my wife and my child to Vancouver at first weeks of October from Singapore as my visa will expire on 23-Oct-2015. Then stay for 4 days and then back to Singapore. I will bring CAD 5000 in cash and CAD 15,000 Bank Draft. And after my friend received our PR cards around 3 months later, he will send to Singapore by Courier. Then I will come permanently to Vancouver around feb, 2016 and my wife and my child will follow later. At that time, we already received our PR cards, there is no issue right?

How is your idea for my case? Thanks and let me know.

Best Regards,

Ben Alagnam said...

Hi Myat, I did not fill up this form. Use the address of your friend or relative for the PR card.

My suggestion is that you land to Canada for good, going back to Singapore will decrease the days of your eligibility for citizenship. Finish the obligations there and focus your settlement here as soon as you land.

Ben Alagnam - MeMovingToCanada