When I started this website, my main focus and goal was to use it as a means to be up to speed with all the latest news regarding Canada and the Philippines (new immigration policies, Canadian news, etc.) and most importantly, to share all the wonderful and inspiring stories our fellow kababayans have to offer. Stories vary from experience to experience but still, each story has one thing in common: it gives its readers, whether living abroad or not, a foretaste of what life in Canada looks like. But after all the stories that has been shared, people are still asking, is life in Canada really like a paradise? That question has been answered so many times but we will never get tired of saying and sharing a thing or two about our experiences even if we have to do it over and over again.
Chasing the so called “Canadian dream” is very difficult. Don’t fool yourself thinking that having a big house, a high paying job and a very nice and expensive car would all be that easy to come by when you go to Canada. Immigrating, just like every other major decision in life, is a life changing event. The truth is, there are only two things that might happen to you when you get to Canada. It’s either you succeed after all the insurmountable sacrifices that you’ll make OR reality will slap you hard. Worst case scenario: you lose all your savings and go back to the Philippines. However, success isn’t really that hard to achieve if you have the determination and the guts to never fail. I’ll try to show a few examples of how my life was so tough when I first started. Let’s start.
I was a Telecom Engineer (ECE) way back in the Philippines and a Software Engineer in Singapore before I came to Canada. Now, you might think that because I was an Engineer in Singapore I have good chances to be a permanent resident when I apply. In fact, that was what I assumed way before I applied. High points for nomination = high chances of landing a high paying job but to be honest, my becoming a telecom or IT engineer did not do me any good when I applied for permanent residency. When I reached Canada, I ended up working at WalMart as a salesman, a customer service at Staples, a salesperson at MTS, a production worker at Maple Leaf and a service crew at a restaurant, all of which were part time. (Oopps Im not saying that those jobs are bad)As I spoke with other fellow immigrants, I learned that most of them had the same fate as I did and some of them were even working at their jobs for more than 10 years and they were never able to go back to their old professional jobs.
This might not be applicable on most mega cities in Canada, but in other places around the country like Winnipeg, we dont have a train or the subway for transportation. Your main and probably only option for public ttransportation is the bus and if you have a bit more money, a cab. Unless you buy your own car for the ease of going from place to place but that would also cost a big sum of money, not to mention the road tests. Buses are the cheapest option but also the most inconvenient one because of it being limited with almost 15-45 minutes intervals depending on time and place. You’ll surely miss all the jeepneys and tricycles in the Philippines because in Canada, you wait for the bus’ scheduled time of arrival. One of my experiences was when I was working and the end of my shift was 11:00pm and I need to wait for the bus at 11:30pm and wait for my connecting bus up to 12:15am just to get home even though it would only take me 10-15 minutes to get home if only I have a car not to mention this happened to me during the cold winter months. Could you imagine waiting at a bus stop alone in the night at -40 degrees? What’s worse is that every weekend they are cutting some trips because fewer people ride transit during the weekends and it even happened to me when I had 6am shifts and my transportation was severely affected because there was no bus so I had no choice but to take the expensive cab. Well, that’s how irritating and mostly inconvenient transportation can be for you.
NEVER ENDING INSURANCE
Of course, the previous issue was resolved when I bought a car. However, for someone to be able to drive in Canada, one must have an insurance for you and your car (and of course, a driver’s license) in case of being involved in an accident. The prices of this insurances for immigrants with no driving experience vary but they are generally high ranging between $150 to $200 monthly in Winnipeg and double that if you are driving in bigger cities in Ontario and BC. Just do the math! Say you will be driving for 25 years, that is a $60,000 payment just for insurance! Convert that to Philippine Peso and that’s a whopping 2,000,000 pesos insurance just so you can legally drive your car. It is a never ending cycle if bills and payments and this does not even include the hefty fines you have to pay when you commit traffic violations. Of course, cars aren’t the only thing that’s being insured. There are insurances for houses, big loans, even your life and any other thing that can be insured.
FREE WAITING HEALTH BENEFITS
I once suffered a minor sprain on my wrist after which I tried to go to a clinic to have it checked but my experience was a little bit disappointing. I was at the clinic a few minutes before they even opened but I already saw a sinage that says “The Minor Injury Clinic has reached the capacity and is now CLOSED”. I tried to book for an appointment and the next available date was 1 month after. What? Yes, you read that right. I even heard other stories where some immigrant families who have been living in Canada for almost two years still doesn’t have a family doctor simply because there’s no available one! After all, the health care is ‘FREE’.
In conclusion, finding a job is a challenge and also frustrating. To be honest, there was a point when my morale and self-esteem was very low but all I know is, everything is temporary. All you actually need is to have the experience working in Canadian soil. Luckily, after 3 more months I found a full-time job and I’m now a permanent. Yahoo! Just a piece of advice, pick any job first – you can be interviewed today and can start working the next day.
In Canada, no one will look down on you even if you are working on a menial job. Moreover, as long as your job is honorable and legal, you don’t have to be ashamed of it. All in all, I just wanted to emphasize that Canada is not a paradise. In fact, it is a place where huge sacrifices are made, relationships are tested and your will power pushed to the extremes. Well, I guess most of us would all agree that Canada is a better option over the Philippines despite all the flaws mentioned but still that doesn’t make Canada a perfect place. Am I saying that Philippines is the worst? Nope, I didn’t say anything. I’m still hoping for a change just like millions of Filipinos
P.S. Experiences differ from person to person. Mostly, experiences are influenced by a person’s decision and situation. In the same way, another one’s success doesn’t mean your success will be guaranteed also. No two lives are the same. Your success depends on how you work hard.