This letter was written by a new immigrant to a prospective immigrant.
Edited to protect identity of persons.
We are happy that you are coming to Canada. This is a very nice country to live and particularly the schooling, child care, medical attention, social discipline etc are commendable.
Again every one came here because Canada advertises itself overseas, to great heights. After all isn't Canada a multicultural wonderland of maple leaves, diversity and of course, equality?
But when it actually comes to practicing what you preach, Canadian employers practise their biases informally, privately, even quietly. That's what is behind a lot of job seeking frustration stories. Then, not finding a decent job in Canada as immigrant is their own fault - most Canadians will tell you that. Because, the only reason they can't get a job is either they don't have the qualifications or the experience, not because Canadian employers dislike them.
At the end what we learn is that Canadian equality is just for brochures; a facade that politely covers the unequal access to mainstream jobs to most of us. In reality it is a very closed country in one sense as they are not recognising any qualifications or experience gained from out side North America. Engineers (Except IT and Computer) from India is suffering a lot as their degrees are not equalised here. (I don't know about IIT engineering degrees). In normal scene we can see qualified engineers working in factory as mere casual labourers. It is stressful for an experienced professional to start from the scratch.
You can find more about recognising the qualification of engineers in Canada by searching the following Web Pages http://www.peng.ca/english/profession/ , http://www.peo.on.ca/ (for Ontario province).
Most of the experienced engineers from rest of the world opine that it takes 3 to 5 years to get P.Eng qualification. Some people can afford that, but I am not sure about you. Those who studied here gets preference to job. Job market is competitive,and it requires a lot of God's grace to land into a suitable job.
Their is subtle racism in the job market (a hidden discrimination). As they are unsure about our past performance, our education, ability - the employers are afraid to take a risk. Again at your age (aged 52) it is obviously strenuous to find out a job here. For ******(child 1), he can make up here as he is young, so to ******(child 2). Your wife (with the present B.Ed) needs to get a license to teach here, please visit the following Web Pages http://www.oct.ca/. Again to get a job takes time say one year. If interested, she may do some volunteer work till that time.
Second factor is health care.
Here medical consultation, hospitalisation (base) and emergency life saving medicines are free after 3 months through government plan (OHIP). But for prescription and non-prescription medicine you have to pay and it is expensive. You need an insurance to survive here (again, once you get a full time job, you will get insurance through the employer).
- up to school (12th) the education is free and the university studies are highly expensive. Here it will cost average CAN $15,000 an year for a university student (day scholar).
- rent is a major expense (say for two bed room apartment cost$1200 a month (all inclusive), your monthly income will be 1200 or so initially. If you opt for buying one, you need to shred out a quarter (¼) of cost as down payment. The average cost of 2 bed apartment is $ 1,80,000 and townhouse(2,25,000) and independent house (3,00,000) (in the suburbs of Toronto). The monthly mortgage is 1200, 1400, 1600 respectively. Apart from that we have to pay property tax (in some cities higher) and water + electricity charges (say 300 maximum per month).
- It is very good public transport! But once you started going for job, you need a car. It is not expensive to buy a car, but maintenance and insurance are expensive. Insurance for a new driver will be around $ 300 per month, if we opt for an old car.
Sixth, it is expensive
- if you go for any purchase, remember the actual price is 15% more than advertised price. It is tax. However, there is no tax on groceries except ready made (packed) food. Here we say 'In Canada everything is expensive plus 15% more expensive'. If you earn 3,000 a month you get nearly 2400 after deduction, if you earn more, you pay more taxes and retirement contributions. For a salary of 1, 00,000 the take home is around 60,000.
Lay off is another phenomenon here. After a day's work, your employer will kindly and with a full smile say that your services are no longer required since the company is doing not so well!!!
But all these ill effects are related to one reality that is money - a job that brings money. Rest is nice here. A peaceful country, with very diversified population. You feel happy.
What some families do is this. Husband or Wife (usually husband) continues work in the home country, while the other and the children settle here for their education.
Since we arrived in the summer, we feel better adjusted. Apart from the heat, I think summers are better on the whole than the coming 3 months (about winter)!!! January is the coldest, so we have been told. December and February are less cold, and in March, it will be better. Spring starts by April till May-June, summer-July, august-sep, autumn-September to October-November....so the cycle goes. It snowed once in December, after that till today no snow. But it’s very cold. But ok, since it is not windy. (talking about year 2003). But on the whole, we like it here. Once we settle with our own professions,I think life will be much more easier. Right now, we can just afford our expenses. I started work only 50 days back, but I already feel a lot better,even though I am working in the factory, as I can manage our own expenses, like car, internet, rent etc. All these are affordable even to a person with my income!!!
I hope to study MSW by next fall, provided I get admission. I plan to take student loan (OSAP), which we can apply for after one year stay in Ontario. The economy in Canada seems to be boosting, although it is much shorter when compared to US. So, we can hope for more positive changes within the economy. Our son is doing well in school. We had a chance to witness their class sessions for one day, and we are impressed. And for the first time after landing in Canada, we felt happy that we have come here. About the higher grades (classes), we still have to find out more.
I think I will stop now. Only after receiving your replies, will I be able to better clarify things for you. I may not be able to reply immediately, but try to reply ASAP.
With love and prayers