Canada Branch FAQ
Replies: 104 - Last Post: Feb 20, 2013 7:52 AM Last Post By: crismartin
Dec 6, 2010 7:25 PM
90A clarification on some of the BIG TIME mis-information on this forum regarding jobs in Alberta.
I work part-time at a Backpacker's hostel in Edmonton while attending the University of Alberta, so I have seen first hand how working holiday visa makers are doing as well as those from out of province.
The ones that can't find work are the ones that sit in the hostel all day whining about there being no work. Everyone else visits employment agencies, individual employers, and network and end up finding work NO PROBLEM. If you are coming to Canada for a true 'working holiday' (i.e. bar work, waitressing, retail) you will find a job relatively quickly in Alberta. Minimum wage is $8.80 per hour, but bar/serving will earn you tips. I have met travelers at the hostel who were able to earn loads of tips bartending, and also have a smaller job during the week (like retail) to supplement income further. They were able to make enough money to live comfortably and enjoy all the skiing, skating, snowboarding etc. As for retail, you can probably earn about $10 an hour, and some stores (like futureshop) earn commission. It all depends on your skills and what sort of time you want here in Canada.
If you are a trade, you will virtually be able to write your paycheck. Yes, the boom days of $140/barrel of oil are long gone, but even in cities, electricians, welders, sheet metal workers etc. earn MINIMUM $25/hr (if you write your red-seal exam and pass, you'll be offered Permanent Resident status almost instantly and your wage will be minimum $35/hr). How do I know this? My boyfriend is originally from England, and is an electrician. He came to Alberta on a working holiday visa, and by cold calling employers found on the internet, signing up with employment agencies etc. he found work in 2 weeks paying him more money than he was paid back home (and he was on probation, not earning full journeyman wages yet). He has 3 friends, on Irish, one Aussie, and one more Brit, all welders, able to find work absolutely no problem. In fact, one of his friends got "bored" of his job and found a new one the next day just driving around his workplace paying $30 an hour. Keep in mind none of them have official Alberta journeyman certificates - employers here don't care as there is a desperate shortage of trades.
As for cost of living, that has also been GREATLY exaggerated. There are plenty of advertisements for room-mates etc, with rents from $400 to $650 all inclusive (heat, water, power, internet, cable). What more does a working holidaymaker need? As for furniture - edmonton has an IKEA with bus access, Wal-marts, Zellers, thrift stores, dollar stores etc. etc.
I have friends, a couple from Ireland, who came to Canada over a year ago, during the peak of the recession, and had jobs within 3 days because they had e-mailed employers in advance and set up interviews (I know SWAP says you can't do this, but everyone does). As for employers supposedly "discriminating" against working holiday visa holders? Again not true. Neither of my friends' employers even ASKED to see their work visas. One initially had a temp job in a mailroom at an insurance company (only a high school education required) and even though the company was supposedly on a "hiring freeze" they loved her bubbly irish accent so much they gave her a permanent position with salary.
So where are these people getting the high un-employment statistics from?
Regional disparity - Ontario has a large manufacturing sector, and when GM went into crisis, many people in ONTARIO lost their jobs.
Education - the people without work either a) don't have any skills, not even a high school diploma or b) don't mind collecting E.I. and whining about there not being jobs EVERYWHERE anymore or c) are far along in their careers, so re-training for another job is difficult, Canada has an 'old' boomer population, so much of our workforce are boomers late in their careers
Granted, the days of laborers earning $100,000 a year sweeping up the floor on the rigs are gone, but to say that Alberta is in a job crisis is absolutely ridiculous. Unskilled laborers (up north) now earn approximately $2700 a paycheque after income tax (which you can get back when you leave) two weeks on/two weeks off. While up north you live in camp, and many of the companies have made efforts to drastically improve their image after the boom years (i.e. drug tests, dry camps, good food and facilities like gyms etc). And don't limit yourself to Fort Mac, there are many other places in Canada's north looking for people - everything from trades, labourers, cooks, administrative staff etc. That being said, it is a tough lifestyle, and companies are notorious for sending everyone home when drilling conditions are poor or oil dips in price.
Now let's compare Alberta with say...Vancouver.
The olympics are over. Vancouver has one of the highest costs of living relative to salary in THE WORLD.
When my boyfriend came over with his fellow BUNAC Brits, he was the only one to come to Alberta. All of them had skills that are in demand in Alberta, but none of them were able to find work in their field in Vancouver (skills ranged from hairdressing, to construction surveyor, to web designer). Instead they took on jobs in grocery and clothing stores, earning lower wages and having higher living costs. Granted, they wanted to stay in Vancouver because it is Vancouver, but to be fair, Edmonton and Calgary are both really close to the Mountain parks (Banff and Jasper) so instead of paying a fortune to ski in Whistler, you could ski Olympic runs from Calgary 1988 or pay less in less-touristy Jasper. And earn more money. And work in your field. And have lower living costs.
Another note, all of my boyfriend's fellow BUNAC working holidaymakers also mentioned the lack of actual Canadians in Vancouver. Edmonton and Calgary are far less touristy, so if you want to meet more Canadians who aren't involved with tourism, try Alberta (Sask, Manitoba, and the maritimes are good too - basically, just get off the beaten track, Canada is more than just Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal)
My advice for newcomers to Canada on working holidays? Be an ACTIVE job seeker - cold call, sign up with temp agencies, volunteer, network, and hand out your resume - you'll find work in no time.
If you are planning on coming to Canada on a working holiday visa, for whatever reason, message me and I'd love to help you out! Most of my expertise is Alberta though, but I can give general advice for the country too.
Mar 15, 2011 6:49 AM
91One aggressive backpacker cold calling 100+ employers to find temporary work cleaning toilets or cutting beef, versus hundreds of thousands of documented and benefits receiving unemployed professionals, amongst others, hardly tilts the reality of the situation in your favor, nor qualifies as evidence making my post qualify as "big time" misinformation. There will always be one person who's situation is different than the other 700,000...........
The major oil sands and construction employers are flying in workers from down east (NFLD, NB, NS provinces, etc) as they will work at lower than scale wages for $20-30 an hour, versus the $50+ that people out here need to support the cost of living.
Like I said before, bring enough money to support yourself......if not.....work for less than everyone else, live with a roommate, or in a hostel, and work 2-3 jobs. It's your call and I wish you well.......but it isn't the gold paved streets that everyone still thinks it is.....and that was my point.
Mar 17, 2011 7:29 AM
Mar 17, 2011 12:46 PM
93New bus to Calgary Airport
Calgary Transit has introduced a new bus access to the airport.
Route 100 http://www.calgarytransit.com/route_maps/rte100.html
this bus connects from the Westwinds/McKnight station (end of NE line) to the terminal.
it should be significantly faster than the old 57 route from Whitehorn. BTW the 57 DOES NOT seem to go to the terminal any more...
rules to/from downtown:
from airport: get on the bus at the terminal pay $2.75 and ask for a transfer to catch the train inbound
to airport: pay $2.75 for a train ticket, show the ticket to the bus driver for the 100 and ride to the terminal.
they estimate total transit time of 45 mins.
Apr 29, 2011 7:55 AM
94For any province in Canada. Make sure to get visitors insurance. Better safe then sorry, and saves alot of money in case something happens.
Best site I've come across for it http://www.safevisit.ca
Edited by: harrypotterfanatic2
Jun 17, 2011 5:37 AM
95My boyfriend and myself just returned from a two-week trip Calgary - Lake Louise - Jasper - Banff - Nelson - Revelstoke - Calgary (June 2011) and wanted to give some feedback incase it's of use to any travellers. Staying in LL, Banff and Jasper turned out very expensive 'cause you've to pay almost $20 per night per vehicle to be in the parks that they are situated in before you even think about the price of accommodation (we had a rented car). If I was to do the trip again I'd stay somewhere outside Banff National Park (Canmore maybe) and do day trips from there. The accommodation in Banff is more expensive than somewhere like Canmore too. We ate at the Grizzly Paw in Canmore on the way through and were impressed (it's a brewery too so if you're not driving...). In Banff we stayed in a private room in the YHA for one night (very basic and the bed was tiny for two), then realized that for $10 more per person we could have a king sized bed (ensuite) in the Rundlestone 'downtown'. We were really impressed with the Rundlestone -- a 5-minute walk from the centre (the hotel is on the main street), very comfortable and a lovey jaccuzi. They also have movies they give you for free if you feel like a night in and really friendly staff. Finding free parking is no problem is Banff but the hotel had free underground parking too. We found a vegetarian restaurant that we went to twice 'cause it was so good -- a place called Nourish hidden away in a shopping mall (the mall that has a fudge factory/shop at the entrance). The falafel was to die for. Apart from that I found Banff overly-priced and touristy. The YHA in Jasper was pretty nice (more reasonably priced) though the bathrooms were just okay (v. crowded) and you'd need a car to get 'downtown'. It rained a lot when we were there but we went on a drive that was recommended in LP for seeing wildlife (I think Medicine Lake was part of the drive but can't remember the name of the drive). We saw a black bear, big-horned sheep, deer and some type of beavers on this drive (apparently the evening is the best time to see whildlife).
Edited by: aclarkin
Jun 17, 2011 5:46 AM
96Apologies, above I said the YHA and meant to say the HI... Lake Louise -- the HI was fine, LL is pretty but again very touristy (the lake was still frozen). Nelson -- we loved the White House Hostel. We ended up staying three nights 'cause the hostel was so clean and friendly. We loved our room and found the city very laid back. This was one of the nicest hostels I've ever stayed in and I really can't recommend it highly enough. Revelstoke didn't rock our boat at all but then it was just a stop-off on the way back to Banff/Calgary. Hope this is of use to somebody. Oh and finally we saw a Grizzly Bear just off the road on the Jasper side of the Columbia Icefields (the highlight of our trip).
Edited by: aclarkin
Edited by: aclarkin
Jun 29, 2011 12:09 PM
97Update: the calgary transit authority has added a new direct downtown to airport bus service:
The No. 300 bus will leave from the core on its maiden voyage, part of a six-month pilot project that transit officials hope will ferry 1,200 people a day to and from the airport.
The bus will leave the core and the airport every half-hour.
It does a loop in the downtown, along 4th and 9th avenues, before heading up Centre Street, then east on 64th Avenue to Deerfoot Trail and on to the airport.
It will cost $8 to ride from the airport. A regular transit fare of $2.75 will be charged for travelling in the other direction, to the airport.
Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Direct+Calgary+Transit+service+begins+today+between+downtown+airport/5009061/story.html#ixzz1Qh2HJh3I
here is the route map
Route 100 is still operatiing so you can save on the excessive $8 inbound fare by transfering to the CTrain
Sep 15, 2011 12:51 PM
98i'm not sure I'm putting this in the right place but here goes: I am travelling with my husband (retired couple) to Vancouver in October. I would like to fly to Victoria and probably ferry back after a couple of days. we shall have our luggage with us. does anyone know what arrangements there are for luggage on the sky plane or can anyone suggest where we could leave most of our luggage in Vancouver please?
Sep 18, 2011 12:07 AM
99Just a quick note to say we wrote an article on how to work stay and play in Canada
Oct 1, 2011 8:54 AM
100To have access to the Public Transportation in Montreal
Subway and buses: http://www.stm.info/english/a-somm.htm
The Subway is called Métro in Montréal and everybody refers to it as 'Metro'
If you need Public Transportation on the North Shore of Montréal, in Laval, please go to the website for La Société des Transports de Laval. http://www.stl.laval.qc.ca/
If you need Public Transportation on the South Shore of Montréal, in Longueuil, please go to the website for Le Réseau de Transport de Longueuil http://www.rtl-longueuil.qc.ca/
If you need a Bus for a long distance trip from Montréal City Centre, please go to: http://www.stationcentrale.com/fr/Bienvenue/
Station Centrale d'autobus Montréal / Gare d'autocars de Montréal
They serve the regions: Montréal, Québec City and Area, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Baie-James, Bas-Saint-Laurent and others
If you want to use a company of car pooling in the province of Quebec, which is cheaper but may not give you the exact time & location where you wish to depart from, please go to Allo-Stop: http://www.allostop.com/
You can also rent cars with many different companies like Avis Rent-A-Car http://www.avis.ca/
If you want a quick bus ride from the Montreal Pierre-Elliot-Trudeau International Airport into the city centre, for 8$ one-way, you can use the bus service 747, which is extremely frequent and efficient. http://www.stm.info/english/info/a-747.htm
Or you can also use the public transportation with STM as well, either bus 204 or 209 leaving the airport to go to the Bus Terminal called La Gare Dorval, from where you will be able to take a connecting bus anywhere else, using the same ticket, which is 3.00$. That same coupon is also valid in the Subway, as long as you are going in one direction (and not backtracking) for as far as you can go on the island of Montreal. So keep that coupon preciously!
Hope all this information helps you.
Enjoy your travel!
Feb 15, 2012 7:55 AM
Dec 10, 2012 5:56 AM
Jan 22, 2013 7:23 PM
Feb 20, 2013 7:52 AM
104I would like to request that all users who correspond with any of these agencies indicate that you found the information on the Internet. In this way, the word will get around that this is an effective communication medium. It’s a very effective form of education and such organizations all have self interest reasons
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