GETTING WORK – OR TRYING TO GET WORK - IN CANADA: A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE.
This should not have been a problem for me, since I was enticed to come in the first place - from the U.K. - by SNC in Montreal, Quebec to work as a professional engineer and started with them in April 1982. This started with an advertisement on May 15th, 1981, in a British national daily newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, it was headed with the words, Canada s Energy Boom Means Careers for Engineers and Technologists.
But then it all went wrong, after just 15 weeks - initially, because of what is now known as the Great Recession between about 1981 / 1984. This was compounded by questionable behaviour involving SNC and their associates; this included, among other things, what looked to me like Contract of Employment Fiddle. This and my wrongful dismissal court case are detailed elsewhere on this site.
My job hunting efforts since mid-1982 naturally divide themselves into three periods
Over the years since losing my job with SNC in 1982, I applied to over 500 companies across Canada for jobs in engineering, up to 1997. I applied on several occasions to many of these and never had a single success.
It is not really practical or even meaningful to attempt to deal with every one of these, even though I still have most of the records of what transpired. Instead, I will deal with some of the more serious instances which involved questionable behaviour on the part of people in the companies involved.
I encountered arrogant and mis-informed attitudes from hiring managers and others on many occasions, on some occasions I discovered this arrogance to be just a front for behind-the-scenes corruption in business, or under-financing of the company concerned, or both. In addition, this was aggravated by my continual exclusion from a transitional employment program called ON-SITE, based on stupid and dysfunctional Canadian federal government rules.
One very important exception to this was Rolls-Royce Canada in Montreal. I used to work for them in the U.K. . In this instance in Montreal, Quebec, the problem was merely a project that never materialised (a pink elephant situation, one of many such situations that have contrived to waste my time and energy over the years).
During this period the only paid work I could find was about 8 years of insecure self-employment as a house painter and decorator; my only previous experience with this was doing it as a hobby in the U.K.
From mid-1997 to mid-1998 I did a full-time computer programming course with the intention of starting a new career in programming and information systems design.
1998 to date
Up to early 2006, after applying to several hundred companies for jobs in computer programming and information systems design – again, in many cases, several times - I have not had a single success.
Inefficiency and delays over getting a security clearance, to work for the federal government.
In 2001/2002, as part of the process for getting some work for the federal government through a placement agency in Ottawa – Excel Human Resources – I had to apply for a security clearance. Since the said work was apparently for Public Works and Government Services Canada (P.W.&.G.S.C.), the request for clearance had to be initiated by P.W.&.G.S.C.. Excel Human Resources told me they expected this to take not more than 3 weeks based on the work load of security clearance requests at the time. It ended up taking 11 months; 9 months of this was accounted for by two things:-
(a) After 5 months had elapsed, P.W.&.G.S.C. requested, through Excel Human Resources, that I start the process again from scratch – apparently because P.W.&.G.S.C. had lost the forms and fingerprints that I had initially submitted through Excel Human Resources.
(b) It took another 4 months, after the R.C.M.P. had actually cleared me, for P.W.&.G.S.C to officially tell me that my clearance had come through. (This emerged after I had asked both the R.C.M.P. and C.S.I.S. what was going on; it turned out that only the R.C.M.P. were involved here, it was simply a routine criminal record check)
The 2-month actual period for the R.C.M.P. to clear me would appear to be simply due to a backlog of work that had accumulated, but this was not the main problem here.
In 2002 / 2003 I applied for engineering jobs with Suncor in Alberta after reading that they were recruiting in South Africa and the U.K. because of alleged shortages of suitable people in Canada, but with no success; they told me that they were receiving – quote -…hundreds of resumes each week…-unquote. They also seemed completely unaware of, and not interested in, certain federal government transitional employment programs that I was eligible for at the time (ON-SITE and Targeted Wages Subsidy). In addition, I informed them from the start that I had un-restricted access to the facilities at the Canada Institute for Scientific Information (C.I.S.T.I.) in Ottawa for any engineering literature searching I might need to do in certain subject areas prior to any move to Alberta, but this made no difference. There were obvious and still-unresolved contradictions here; since I still hope to work with Suncor, I don’t propose to go into further details now (February 2006).
However, as another example of Canadian media hype about a hiring boom that from my standpoint really wasn t, here is the August 19th 2002 newspaper article which prompted me to apply to Suncor in the first place. (When you have finished viewing it , click the “BACK” BUTTON IN YOUR WEB BROWSER to return here)
Currently (December 2006), following two visits to Alberta and interviews there earlier in 2006, I am looking again in engineering, after reading reports about the booming oil sands industry in Alberta; however, from what I have seen, this type of advertised business boom in Canada does not necessarily mean enough jobs for everybody who wants one.