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Showing posts with label Working in Canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Working in Canada. Show all posts

29 March 2017

Job and Business Options in Ontario Canada

Having a job right after landing is an immigrant primary goal.  It will provide constant cash flow to the family.  Incoming bills like groceries, telephone, apartment rentals, and etc. It’ll be taken care of.

Unfortunately, some newcomers can't find jobs immediately and may result in anxiety and depression.  This is unhealthy for the whole family.  It will cause chaos and eventually leads to the couple's breakup.

This post is to give you insights on how to begin your healthy financial life in Canada.  Here are the options to do that.
Small factories on my way home from work.
Agency Jobs 
Assuming you haven't found any job at the first 3 days.  Go ahead and accept the offer from job agencies.  Even if the pay is minimum, grab it! 

You need to have an employer who will provide you a letter of reference.  It is mostly required in renting an apartment.  Some agencies pay workers in Cash or in Checks, I suggest to get the latter.  Checks come with payslips, which is good as an employment record and can later be used for other purposes.

It’s good to have a salary; minimum is good, while waiting for the perfect job.

Working as an assembler in a faucet company made me confident and motivated in living a new life in Canada.  It somehow removed a bit of my qualms.  Knowing that my family have a constant cash flow, I could sleep well at night.

Part-time jobs are always available in Toronto.  You can work in pizza chains such as this.

Part-time Jobs
If you are now working on a full-time job but the pay is scarce, get a part-time job.  It will provide you an additional income. 

Although part-time jobs help you provide food on the plate, it consumes your quality time with your family.  But with a proper time management with your wife and kids, everything will be in place.

I have a friend who has two jobs working 12 hours a day, one 8-hr full-time job in a factory and 4 hours in Walmart.  Others work for 16 hours per day. Yes, it's unbelievable, but it exists.

I didn’t try to do part time jobs in Walmart or Tim’s.  Time with my kids is limited because I have to take care of them after work.  That’s my part-time job, really.

How good it is to have your own business in Canada.  You will handle your own time.  You are your own boss. 

Having a business in Canada requires a lot of cash.  There’s an option to borrow money from the bank. For newcomers, no assets or credit history, it’s difficult to get a loan. 

How much do you need? 

Well, depending on the business, you may need a minimum of $50,000 to a million.   You also need to have a feasibility study in order to measure a viable business.  Considering hiring employees? It’s pricy.

If you have the capital as a newcomer, then go ahead build your business.  You can start any business you want.  Start with low initial capital and expand sooner as you get the feel of it.

I was really thinking about it and back when I was in the Philippines.  I have experienced in doing business back then and so was hoping to build one in Canada.  Due to a hefty amount of money involved, I decided to look for other options.

Independent Business in Financial Services
This option is applicable for full-time and part-time workers.  It gives you freedom to do it your way. The reason why it’s called independent is because of doing it without a boss. The opportunity to earn more than the corporate salary is staggering.

Even if you’re working from 9am to 5pm, you still can do the business part-time.  As you grow the business, it will eventually overcome your full-time job salary and eventually quit the job.

Unlike having a business with a high cost of initial capital, this business doesn’t need a lot.  You can start by licensing in the financial regulators and buying office equipments. Being one of the most regulated industry in Canada, which is investments and life protection, it requires you to be licensed in order for you to sell the products.

I was very lucky to have been involved in this business.  It was introduced to me a week after we landed on 2014.  I gained a lot of knowledge regarding financial matters and I‘ve seen the whole picture of Canadian investments.  Net and I are doing this business until now and both are licensed to sell these financial products in Ontario.  

You can email me if you’re interested in this kind of business.

What option to keep?
Whatever you choose in these four types of income opportunity, the most important thing is being happy doing it.  If you’re not, grab another one.

You’re the only one who can control your own destiny wherever you are in Canada. 

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05 March 2016

Job Websites in Canada for New Immigrants

In the first few weeks upon landing in Canada, we need to process a lot of documents like SIN, CCTB, etc...We also need to find a place to stay temporarily that is near a school, community center, and stores.  Another important part of the process is to find a job.

As a newcomer, you have a little idea of where to look for a job.  The first thing you'll do is to surf the internet and find the job websites.

In Canada, job applicants rarely go find a job by walk-in, it is mostly online.  During winter, going physically to an employer's office is really difficult.  It consumes time, money and effort.

To help fellow immigrants find a job in Canada, I listed down some of the job websites available.  This way, you just send your resume online.  Though you need to create a resume beforehand.

List of Job Websites in Canada

1. Beyond (

2. Indeed (

3. Job Rapido (

4. Job Bank (

5. Career Builder (

6. Job Diagnosis (

7. Zip Recruiter (

8. Canadian Job Force (

9. IT Jobs (

10. IT World Canada (

Now that you have the tools to find a job.  Run your fingers in your keyboard and create your Canadian resume.

Please leave a comment if you find a job on one of these sites.

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30 November 2015

Applying for a US Visa in Toronto Canada Experience

Is it easy to get a US Visa when you're in Canada?

Most Filipinos dreamed of going to the United States of America.  Some wanted to take a tour and others to migrate.  On the other hand, what it takes to get a Visa from the Philippines?  Is it the same as while in Canada?

I have friends and relatives who attempted to apply for the Visa in the Philippines but were denied.  Some got through and stayed there for good.

My goal was only to be here in Canada and maybe I can visit the US in the near future.  It's not my dream to live in the US.  If given an opportunity, maybe a 5-day tour is enough for me.

One day, I was called by the company's CEO and was tasked to do one important thing.  They need me to get a Visa for a business trip to the United States of America!  I was a little shocked and excited at the same time.  It's an opportunity of a lifetime.

A lot of blessings were given to me since I get here.  This time, I was caught unprepared.  ...Then, I suddenly remembered the difficulty of having the Canada FSW Visa, the documents that I need to prepare.  But now, it would be easy for me because all my documents were ready.

The only issue of me having the US Visa is that I have to arrange it myself.  But, the company will shoulder all the expenses.

So, I searched online for the procedure and gathered the required documents.

For your information, I will explain the step by step process of getting a US Visa here in Toronto.  This is a B1/B2, for tourism and business, type of VISA,  it's also termed as business and business for pleasure.

STEP 1 (Preparation)
I prepared the documents needed for the VISA.
1. Passport
  • Current Passport valid for travel to the United States. The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements.) 
  • .  Passport containing the most recently issued U.S. Visa (if applicable). 
2. 2x2 photo ( hardcopy and softcopy)
Went to a photographer and informed him that I need photos for US VISA purpose and paid C$19 for 4 copies.
The photographer sent me a JPEG copy for online submission.

3. Father, Mother, and Relatives in US Details
My parents were no longer living so I have to rely on the previous copies of my previous CIC application regarding their details.  I have to know my father's and mother's birthday.  This will be used for online application later on.

If you have relatives in US, know their details like name, birthday and address.

4. Education Details
I need to know the school details like the name and address, degree and date of graduation.

5. Previous Employment Details
I need to provide the duties of current and past employment.  Resume comes in handy.

6. National ID number
I used the Philippines Tax Identification Number for this.

7. Proof of Legal Status in Canada.
I have my passport with me, with a Canadian Visa stamp in it, and brought a photocopy and original copy of my COPR and Permanent Residence card just in case they ask.

I did not include my wife and kids in my application.  For your information, if you want to include them in your application, here are the requirements:
The following documents may be useful to support your visa application:
Intention to depart the United States upon completion of your travel.Sufficient funds to cover all expenses while in the United States.Evidence that you have significant ties to the country to which you intend to return at the end of your stay in the United States (This is generally established by evidence of family, professional, property, employment or other ties and commitments to a country other than the United States.)
So, I requested a letter with the intention of my stay, funds, and significant ties in Canada from my employer just in case the US Consulate asks.

8. Details of Destination
I printed the list of all the names and addresses of our US suppliers.  This will be asked at one portion of the application.

We set a certain date of my departure for the sake of the application.  It was a tentative date because we were not sure if they will approve my Visa or not.

STEP 2 (Online Application)
After Completing the required information from 1 to 8, I went online to make an online application at this link:
Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS160)
1. I chose Toronto, Canada for the location and there are three red tabs at the right of that website, I clicked the "START AN APPLICATION" tab.

Don't worry if you don't finish the application, you can save and retrieve it anytime, just remember the Application Number.

If you have other questions regarding DS-160, go to the link below:
Frequently asked questions for DS-160

2. Upload the photo online
At the end of the online application, there's a step there on how to upload the photo.

3. Sign the Document Online
You have to finish the process by signing the document online.  It is just like agreeing to all the terms and conditions pertaining to your application.

4. I printed the completed DS-160 form.

STEP 3 (Online Appointment)
Schedule an appointment by creating an account with the website.
Schedule an appointment
I created an account with the website and selected the available time of appointment.  Luckily, I got an appointment 4 days after my online application.

Then I paid USD160.00. A receipt was emailed to me for my future reference.

I printed the Confirmation and instructions page.
 Note: Bring the Confirmation and Instructions page at the Interview printed from the website 
STEP 4 (Interview)
The very first thing to consider during the interview is not to bring prohibited items.  There are many in the list. To avoid such concerns, what I did was to wear and bring the basic things like:

Clothing and Personal Belongings:
Jeans (no belt)
Shoes and pair of socks (no metallic object)
Car key

Letter from my employer
Payment Receipt (emailed)
Proof of Legal Status in Canada (PR Card, COPR)
Confirmation and Instructions

Contact information and how to visit on appointment day.

The documents were placed in a clear folder so I can retrieve it easily.  There was a line (queue) outside of the embassy, but I arrived on time for my appointment anyway, so no worries.

The person in charge checked the documents and led me to the entrance door, where the x-ray machine was located.  Then another person reviewed my documents then instructed me to proceed to the room.

There's another queue that leads to the 3rd document checkpoint where I presented my passport.  Then I queued to another line, which leads to the Visa Officer (Interviewer).

It took me about 20 minutes with all the documents checking from the main entrance of the embassy to the Officer counter.

While on the queue, I can hear the voice of the Officer asking an applicant because the counter have speakers in it.  Some were approved and others denied, I can see tears or smiles on their faces.

Even though my application was not a do or die thing, but I felt nervous.  When it was my turn, I felt the rapid heartbeat, but my facial expression remained calm.

The officer asked me about my job and places to visit in US, took my passport and gave me a piece of paper and told me..."Your Visa is Approved!" took 5 minutes for the decision.

Two weeks after, I received an email. It was an instruction on how to pick up my passport with the Visa.  It was at a designated forwarder.

So I went to the forwarder's office, showed my PR Card and opened up my passport.  Another sticker was printed on it, with a Visa validity of 10 years!

Watch the Video:

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24 June 2015

Immigrant Life As An Assembler In Toronto Canada

Winter Time: It was after a freezing rain. The top layer of snow becomes brittle and shiny.
Someone emailed me about how I got my job as an assembler, so I made a post about it on How I Got a Job in 5 Days!"

But for most of us, having a job is not the end of it all.  You have to work hard to earn for food, shelter, clothing and communication.

Waking up early or getting to work late at night is a daily routine.  This is what life is all about for a working immigrant, like us.  Although I'm not working late at night, but my wife does, so I know how hard it is to be in that situation.

Life in a Factory as an Assembler?
Back in Singapore, I worked from Mondays to Fridays at 9am to 6:30pm.  I am off on weekends and public holidays.  It was an ideal job and I enjoyed it a lot, especially the travels.

When we immigrated to Canada, things had changed. Although I was working from 7am to 4pm, my job was repetitive, which I'm not used to because I'm a multitasker.

To give you an idea, let me tell you about my life as an Assembler in Toronto, Canada.

At Home
The cellphone alarmed at exactly 5:15 am, my drowsy eyes opened up and was looking for the source of the sound.   Then I found it, I was so sleepy to remember that I placed it on top of the table last night.  I pressed the button to snooze and slept for another 15 minutes.  Then again, ALARM!!!

I got up and prepared our breakfast, then went to the bathroom, which I hated because it's too cold to take a bath early in the morning during winter.  Even though the heater was on, the first few drops or mist chills my skin and seeps into my bones.  I really HATED that feeling!

After that chilly bath experience, I dress up and wakes up SAM to let him prepare for school.  I heated up the frozen foods from the microwave, which my wife prepared the previous day, put the plates on the table and prepared our lunch boxes.

As my son was dressed up and ready to eat, I will then say goodbye to him and let him stay at the room where his mom and little brother were still sleeping.  As you all know that my wife works from 4:00pm to 11:00 pm and arrives home at around 11:30 pm.  So, I don't bother to wake her up early in the morning.

I wore my regular clothing for work because we don't have a uniform.  Got my keys and wallets and headed to the door. My son gave me a hug, which he does every day before I go out of the door.

Then I headed to the elevator, down to the building lobby and out to the main road.

But before I arrive at the bus stop, I'll prepare my GTA Pass so I can show it immediately to the bus driver.  Then I usually sit at the back and have a nap before the first stop, and at the second bus I'll sleep all the way until to the work site.

Our factory is 500 meters away from the stop so I have to walk through the thick snow and shiver with the cold wind blowing my body and face.
The aftermath of a thick snow that was cleared by a snow sweeper.
At the Factory
As I reach the warehouse door, I rushed in to punch in my time.  I always sigh for a relief from the cold air as the warehouse temperature heats up my frozen body.  While I'm inside a warm room, it feels so good as if I was just working in a tropical country.  Never mind looking at the glass window with the pile of thick snow.

As my body temperature adjusts, I'll quickly remove my jackets and layers and place it inside the locker, then headed directly to my worktable.

This is the path to my worktable.
"Good Morning Joe!"  I greeted loudly at the 65 year old assembler at the far end of the line.   Then at my back was Davey, who greets me with a "What's shaken?", another term for "What's up?".

"I'm Good! Had few adventures yesterday!", I replied while putting on my working gloves.

Job orders were already prepared on my table by the Supervisor.  I scan through the orders and take all the parts that are necessary to build up the product.  Then I laid it all on my table and clears everything up for a wider space to get ready for the assembly.

The assembling of parts will take an hour, one after the other, and usually consumes my time from 7:30 am to 10:20 am, on our first break. Fifteen minutes were all it takes to take a rest, have a conversation with colleagues then back to work for another job order.

Lunch time was at 1:00 pm to 1:20 pm.  This time, the usual belly laugh echoes the cafeteria, from a group of Portugees and Italians. It's all about their golf games on the previous weeks or how the thick snow covered their houses.  It's a never ending chain of stories from them.

Seeking for a moment of silence, we go in the factory again until 3:00 pm and have the second break for 15 minutes.  I usually eat bread during the break or a small box of fruit which I pre-washed and packed in the morning.

Then the go-home bell rings at 4:00 pm.  But, I stay late until 6:00 pm for an overtime, which gives me another $11/hr rate.

Before the clock ticks at 6:00 pm, I organize my table, prepare my things and heads to the locker where my 5-layer clothing were hidden.  There's another walk for 500 meters on a frozen road with knee-deep snow on the way.  If I can get on the bus on time, I'll shorten the agony of freezing.

Going Back Home
A walk for 500 meters was always like torture, for me. The cold air makes you shiver uncontrollably and it will take away all the heat inside your body.  Your fingers will freeze at around a minute of exposure to the cold air.  That is how a -20degC feels like.
Winter Nights: Taken after a day's work while walking to the bus stop.
If I missed the bus or it's late, another 15-minute agony awaits while the wind blows heavily inside the glass-covered bus stop.

When the bus arrives, I slowly get in and sit at the left side single seat.   I munch a bread on the way then take a nap until the first stop.

There were times that it was so exhaustive working in the factory, so I had slept so hard that I did not notice the first stop. So I have to transfer to another bus route to home.

Once I'm at our building, I will hurriedly head to my sister's apartment to get my two boys,  who were waiting for me.  At this time, it should be around 8:00 pm and I will be feeling hungry from work.

When my sister's door opens, two little guys rushes to me with arms wide open, shouting "DADDY!" and hugs me tightly with all the strength from their baby muscles.  At this point in time, the stress from the factory magically turns to happiness and body aches disappear in an instant.

Then the youngest will ask me to lift him up and kisses my cheeks with a smile, showing off his missing front teeth.  So, I bring my two boys to our apartment and help them dress up to go to sleep and teach my SAM on his assignments.

I was lucky to have a sister in Toronto, who temporarily took care of my kids while we're at work.

Then I prepare my dinner and wash the dishes and pans.  I have to sort all the toys that were scattered by my 3-year old with the help of his Kuya, prepare the milk for my 3-year-old and have them brush their teeth.

There will be a story-telling for both of them as they dropped their eyes to sleep.

If I have time, I'll watch few Television shows, do some blog posts, or sometimes I go to sleep with my little boys to get ready for another day in the factory.

That was my daily activity as an assembler in a factory.  It's a hard work at first, but as the time goes by, it becomes a routine and felt easier.

I was so optimist during that time cause I know that eventually a rainbow comes after the rain.

When I was assembling the parts, I wasn't thinking of the hardship.  It's the experience that I was interested in, which I needed to survive in Canada.

I was lucky to have a job in Canada and was proud to work in a factory.  But, because of my expertise on machines, I had to find a way to use it and contribute more in Canada's workforce and to be well-compensated in return.

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02 April 2015

Temporary Workers Have To Leave Canada on April 1, 2015

This is not an "April Fools" joke!  
This news was published today.  Actually, the backgrounder was all over Yahoo for the past few days.
I was saddened to know that thousands of temporary workers, especially at the low-skilled level, who worked for over 4 years in Canada will be sent back home.
There will be an increase of unemployment in Philippines once they reached home.  I hope that they have saved some capital and have their own business.  If not, jobs should be readily available for them to have a constant cash flow.
What's in The NEWS?
"OTTAWA - Thousands of temporary foreign workers are required to leave Canada today, as work permits expire for those who have been in the country for more than four years.In 2011, the Conservative government set April 1, 2015 as the deadline for temporary foreign workers in low-skilled jobs to either become permanent residents or return home.In Alberta alone, 10,000 temporary foreign workers have applied to stay in Canada.Immigration Canada hasn't divulged the total number of workers who must leave today, but immigration and labour market experts have estimated tens of thousands are affected. Read More." - by Canadian Press c/o
"The government has not revealed how many people will have to leave by the April 1 deadline, but some advocacy groups estimate it could be as many as 70,000 countrywide.
"Those dreams of staying in Canada are all gone," said Marco Lucinao with Migrante Alberta, a group that works with temporary foreign workers.
Lucinao's group has been trying to keep temporary workers informed about their rights, including health-care options if they decide to stay illegally. He said many..." Read More..-by CBC News
Who Were Affected?
It was the lowest-paid and the lowest-skilled temporary workers who were affected.  Engineers and Executive are still here to stay.  
Lessons for Federal Skilled Workers in Canada
Since the first day of my application, on the year 2003 until now, there were many changes in Canadian Immigration rules that were implemented.  Although it's not a sudden implementation, but it was always changing.
There were people affected here and there, the worries and the depression were felt, not only by the applicant, but also for the families affected.
If one day, an opportunity knocks at your door and you think that you're ready to open it, GO!  Grab the knob and see who's on the other side.  Never wait for another opportunity, for it might not on your advantage.
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25 March 2015

My Last Day Working As An Operator in Canada

Author: Net Alagnam

As my eldest son tapped me gently saying, 

"Mommy, it's time to wake up! Come on, let's go!"

I got up brushed my teeth, washed my face, wore my sweater, and looked for my keys in the bag. Back home, I don't go out without taking a bath and put some powder and lipstick on my face.

But here in Canada, everything is different. I'm not that conscious of my physical appearance especially if the place we're going to is just 3 floors below our unit.

As I went to our sala, I noticed that my youngest son is already watching his favorite episodes in YouTube. I told him to get his slippers for we will send kuya to ate Ana's unit for the last time.

Since today is my last day of work in Citamit, it is also my eldest son's (Sam) last day of letting someone (ate Ana) send him off to school. The following week, the three of us (Me and my two kids) will be going to school just across our building to drop him off. At least I'll be 15 dollars a week richer :D

As we went back to our unit, I started cooking food for my friends/co-workers for my "farewell blowout". I began working with the pork belly that I marinated already and shove it into the oven.

Next I cooked noodles for my spaghetti. By the way, I missed the ingredients I've had back home. My spaghetti won't be the same because of some lacking "secret ingredients".

But before making the sauce, I took a bath first so that my hair can dry itself while I'm finishing my dishes. 

After making the spaghetti sauce, I started placing them in containers. I also included garlic bread to go with the spaghetti. Adding disposable plates and some spoon and forks, my bag is ready to go.

My Last Day At Citamit...

As I stepped down the vehicle of my carpool, I removed my phone from my pocket and I took a picture of the building of Citamit. I sighed as I enter the door saying to myself,

" This is it! My last day in this company.."

As I go to the lunchroom where all of the workers (afternoon shift) stayed while waiting for our turn, I sat across a friend who greeted me saying, 

"This is your last day right?", I nodded.

"Do you really have to go?"

"Yeah. I have to... no one will take care of the kids if my husband will go out of town..."

"You'll come back right?"

"Maybe after a few years. My kids can't be left at home till Sam is 12 years old... and his only 10 now..."

Then the bell rang. Time for us to go downstairs for work. As we go down, I saw our supervisor giving us our assignments. As I passed by him, he said, "aisle 2".

Looking at my machine located in aisle 2, its lights closed. It made me think that we will not be making the new pack (approximately 15 lbs per part)... which means I will be transferred to another working station. This is what I've noticed, that whenever we make an old pack (where the parts are lighter), they transfer me somewhere...

True enough, I saw Mat coming towards me and said,

"Net, did I say aisle 2? I mean aisle 4, you go there now."

I bid farewell to my co-workers and went to my new assignment. Seeing the team leader of aisle 4, Kiko,  he told me to put bushing on some parts. Talk about having the easiest job on your last day. :D 

Then few minutes came, 3 of my friends (all Filipina) came working with me. I said to myself,

"Wow, this is getting better! As if they are giving me special treatment! How I wish they've done this earlier. :D"

My Last Breaktime With Friends/Co-workers...
The first break came then we ate the spaghetti I made as fast as we could for our break time is only good for 10 minutes. Our friend Lemak came and treated us with a  container of Tim Horton that has the capacity of more than 10 cups.

Then the second break came where we can eat for 20 minutes. We usually eat together sharing our meals with one another. So I brought out my version of "Lechon" (roasted pork) and they loved it.

After dinner, Kiko told me,

"Take it easy, make chitchat with your friends..."

"I will!"

But deep in my mind, I can't do that because the company is paying me for every hour I work so it will be unfair if I'll be chatting for hours while waiting for the bell to ring. Besides, I can do quick chats while working :)
My Last Minutes Of Work

So 11 pm came that marked the first bell, meaning we need to wait for another 10 minutes before we could go up to the lunchroom. While waiting for the 2nd bell, I went to aisle 2 to bid farewell to the people I've grown fond of for the past 2 months.

Second bell rang, I went up to timed out for the last time and went back to the office of the supervisor to return the key ID. I also passed by Mat and told him that I returned already the ID. I don't want to have a bad reputation so that I could come back easily if ever.

As I went to the lunchroom, I met some friends and exchanged hugs for one last time before going out to meet my ride. We also exchanged phone numbers and facebook account just in case we'll be missing each other and just want to hang out. :)

Though I've worked with this company for only 2 months, I made a lot of friends not only Filipino/Filipina but of different races as well. I learned some of their culture - Vietnamese, Chinese, African, Indian, Jamaican and a lot more. That even we were of different races, we accepted and respected each others beliefs as long as it won't hinder our work.

If you have questions about my post, please email me at 

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08 March 2015

A Minimum Wage Earner in Toronto Canada: Salary Vs. Expenses

After the job interview and knowing that I will start working on the next Monday, I was excited to tell my sister and everybody about the job.

It was a great feeling, knowing that I don't have to worry about my finances anymore, well at least for the time being.

While on my way home from the interview, walking along the pathway with more red maple leaves blocking my way, I appreciated more of the beauty of the surroundings.   What I saw was that...
* The grass is greener and the red maple leaves were not just red but has different sizes.   
* The pine trees along the way are not made of plastic at all.
* There were no trash along the road.
* Lastly, I was the only human walking along the pathway... 
The thought of my dilemmas that I've gone through with my FSW application to get in to this country, marks a smile of fulfillment on my face.
* I remembered how CIC returned my 2007 application on 2012.
Seeing the flag, with a red maple leaf, in front of the buildings made me realize that I'm now in Canada and soon to be part of their workforce.

On Monday, I will be included in the Minimum Wage Earner job market.

What My Friends Thought About My Job?
Besides announcing my new job with my wife and relatives, I also informed some of my close friends.  They like the idea of me having a job as a new immigrant, but they kept on advising me not to work at that level for a long time.

They advised me to look for a job that is more relevant to my experience and credentials.  As they were explaining their thoughts on me, their facial expression show signs of discontent and regret.

To give you an idea of my background,  I'm a licensed Engineer with more than 10 years of experience in my field, and worked in Singapore as a technical support for the Southeast Asian customers.

I fully understand what they thought of my new career, an Assembler, but the most important is my own decision.

When I arrive here, I never stopped planning. Although I haven't planned to be an assembler,  I know that this will soon to be part of my future success, which I was prepared for.

My Thoughts of Being in the Minimum Wage Earner Workforce
The first thing that I considered when I accepted this job was our cash flow.  The fact that I'm a new landed immigrant, with a limited money to burn, it's logical for me or "anyone" to get any type of job.

I have to cling on to something before I fall down completely.  Failing to have a job in Canada or any other place is not acceptable especially when your wife and kids are with you.

Being in this kind of job has a minimal stress and responsibilities.  The decision making is simple.  All I have to do is to pick some parts, inspect for damages and assemble it.   If there's something wrong with the parts, just call the supervisor for help.

Budgeting My Salary 
Having an $11.00/hr salary is minimal, it is insufficient to supply us with our weekly needs if I work alone.

Let me breakdown my salary and our expenses to give you an idea...

Salary: ($11.00 / Hr) x (8 hours/day) x (5days/week) = $440 / week
CPP (Canada Pension Plan) = $18/week
Employment Insurance = $8/week
Tax (Federal Tax) = $43/week

Laundry ($60/month) = $15/week
House Rental ($880/month) = $220/week
Food ($60/week) = $60/week
Mobile Plan ($76/month) = $19/week
Internet ($95/month) = $23.75/week
Transportation = $56/week (using a GTA pass)
School Tuition = FREE
Hospitalization = FREE

If we do the Math...
Salary - Expenses = C$440 - C$462 (We are short of $22 per week)              

The good thing about Canada is that our kids have their own allowances from the government.  If parents are in the minimum wage, they can get around $300-400 per month more or less, depends upon the assessment.

This will compensate our negative income.  But, for me, I don't want to wait for the government's subsidy.  My wife and I agreed that she needs to have a job so that her income ($440/week without tax) will be our savings and so we can send some in Philippines.

So, if we add our net income together..
Ben = (- $ 22)  /week (negative income)
Net =    $ 371 /week ($440 less CPP, EI, Tax)
Kids =  $ 75 / week            $ 424 /week (Total Savings)           
Having this net income per week is enough for our family savings.

Of course, there will be expenses for our new house like furnitures, gadgets, new TV, etc... These can be included in the budget but is not considered as the essential expenses.  It means that we can still live without these items.

As long as we don't buy luxury things, we will be fine for now.

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22 February 2015

How I Got A Job in 5 days

Before we arrived in Canada, I was worried of not getting a job specially when I'm bringing my whole family (wife and 2 kids) with me.

I was thinking on getting any job that may be available upon our landing.

Aside from preparing my credentials and supporting documents for my employment, I also prepared my emotions and mindset for the coming interviews and job seeking.

Job Seeking in Toronto
We've landed in Canada...YES!!! The sight of flurries temporarily took away my troubled mind as we stepped out of the airport.  The ambient temperature at that time was 3degC.

My tropical blood was shocked!  The clothing that I wore, which I thought was fine initially, were not appropriate for that temperature, so I was shivering.

It was Friday night but my brain was telling me that it's Saturday morning.  This is because of a 12-hour time lag between Philippines and Ontario, Canada. 

There were lots of activities we've done during the weekend and the following Monday.  I will discuss this in details on my next posts.

It was Tuesday when our friend Garry convinced us to go with him on a job hunt.  I was not job hunting for 4 days because we're much occupied with other things.  Besides, it was not like Singapore where I need to find a job within 30 days before my Visit Pass will expire.  You can read my Singapore story at this link "How I found a job in 4 days!"

Me and my wife went with Garry to an agency.  My impression of an agency is that they always think about money and they will cheat you with the salary.  But I found out that I was wrong, they treated us well.

They gave us forms to fill in and informed us to wait for their call if ever a job is available.  I also gave them my resume for their future reference.

What's My First Job in Canada
We went home from the agency and go on with our activities.  It was afternoon and the sun was shining bright lighting up the red maple leaves laying at the grounds.  I heard my phone ringing and answered it immediately.
"Is this Ben?  My name is Mr. Agent and I'm calling from the Agency XYZ.  I want to know if you're interested in getting a job as an Assembler.  This job is quite easy and light.  That means that there is no heavy lifting and the only thing you carry are small parts.
I'm sure you'll like it."
Honestly, when I heard about the word "Assembler", I was thinking of someone sitting on a chair facing a conveyor line, picking up parts and gluing it together.

I imagined a production line with your co-worker, sitting beside you, is assembling the same parts, with the bell ringing, a signal for break time and lunches.
"Alright, how much is the salary and where is it located?"
"It's located at the northern part of Toronto and you'll be paid CND11.00/hr."
Having experienced with a Singapore dollar, the salary offered is lower than what I was taking home in Singapore.  But, if I base it in the Philippine wages, like my wife's, it's way too high.

I then mentally computed my future expenses like house rental, car, food...etc., it seems that I can also have savings if I work 8 hours per day, 5 days a week.

The offer is not bad at all!  Then I continued...
"Sure, I'll accept the offer". 
"That's good!  The name of the company is XYZ Co. and you have to go there tomorrow for an interview. You should look for Mr. Manager and bring your resume with you."
After the talk, I thanked him for his offer and immediately informed my wife about it.  She was happy knowing that we now have money to spend for our expenses.  Money is coming IN!

What Happened During the Interview? 
An immigrant newbie just got a job offer in Toronto, Canada.

As I hanged up the phone, I was thinking on how and what to wear for the interview?  I was not concerned about the questions in the interview because I know that the job is not that technical.

It's my first time to have an interview here in Canada and clueless on how to get to my destination and how to go inside the office.
Do I need to remove my coat, shoes and gloves? 
Where do I place my coat?   
Do they have cabinets for these things?
Yes, I know that these are just simple things, but it's a big deal for me.

The following day, I took the bus to XYZ Co. and found that I need to walk half kilometres from the bus stop to their place.

Walking along the pathway, I can see the grasses were still green, layered with red maple leaves.  The temperature was at +2degC but my body responds with a shiver.  Winter is coming indeed...

After a 500-meter walk, I finally arrived at the doorstep of the company.  When I opened the door, there's another door to enter the lobby.

It's a double door, which is installed for the purpose of insulation, so the cold air from the outside won't get in directly to the lobby and also to save the heat inside.

I was not getting used to double doors back in Philippines, Singapore and other tropical countries. Majority of companies have single doors.

As I entered the reception area, the receptionist asked me who am I looking for?  The way she speaks isn't what I was used to in Singapore or Philippines.

She speaks Canadian English and fast.  I barely understood what she's saying but I know that she's asking something.

I told her that I'm in for an interview with Mr. Manager.  She made some calls and I waited at the lobby still wearing my coat.

The lobby felt warm so I unzipped my coat exposing the second layer of my sweater.  I wore three layers of clothing that day, a cotton shirt, a thick sweater with a hood and a thick coat. My shoes were still on but she didn't instructed me to remove it.

The Manager came and guided me to a small meeting area and we took a seat facing each other.
"Hi Ben, so you're from The Agency?"
"Yes, Manager"
In Canada, you don't say Sir and Ma'am, even if it's the owner of the company, you can just call them with their first name.   If he is John Smith, just call him John.

In Canada, employers and employees don't feel comfortable to be called Sir/Ma'am.  That's what the CIIP seminar had instructed us.

I handed him my resume and waited for him to finish reading.
"So, you're an Engineer and a new immigrant.  You have a lot of experience.  But the work that you'll be doing here is easy.  It sounds like you're just looking for something to do..."
 "Well, I understand, we've just arrived few days ago.  I need to find a job."
He was surprised that we've just recently landed and then asked me if how I felt about Canada.

The interview lasted for 30 minutes.  He then called the Supervisor to interview me as well.

At the end of the interview, he discussed something with the Supervisor and got back to me...
"Hi Ben, I'm glad to tell you that you are qualified with the job and you can start on Monday.   
Take your family around Toronto and enjoy your weekend.  See you next week then."
There were no contracts that I can sign with after that.  His words were my only evidence that I had found a job.

My first reaction was to thanked him with a big smile.  He lead me out of their company leaving me galloping with joy!

I just got my first ever job in Canada!!!

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Ben Alagnam - MeMovingToCanada