Thea's Child Care Story

My husband and I put our lifetime savings to our “Canadian dream”, even instead of doing a full-on Catholic Church wedding in the Philippines. Our law firm said that the better the “score” the better the chances of getting the immigration papers approved. This is what Canada likes. What were these qualities that made our score high in the Skilled Workers Program?

  • My husband and I are both well-seasoned nurses. I was 12 years Senior Orthopedic Nurse in specialized areas of hand surgery, pediatric, spine and sports surgery. My husband was a police-ambulance nurse and an emergency nurse in the biggest Trauma Center in the United Arab Region for 8 years in total.
  • I passed my general IELTS with total band score 7.5
  • We had 1 child then, my daughter Ysabelle, which also adds to the score

We applied mid-July 2013 and arrived as landed immigrants 8th July 2017 with $30,000+ pocket money, my daughter was 1 year and 5 months, and I was 5 months pregnant with our 2nd child. Full of rigor, hopes and dreams for the future of our family we embarked on our Canadian dream.

Of course, prior to coming here we mentally prepared ourselves: we would not have our most trusted nanny; and we wouldn’t be able to have our career as Nurses as we needed to do the necessary upgrading. We were ready to take on other roles outside medicine and delve into other opportunities, whatever it was to survive. What came as a surprise was not only the lengthy, confusing and monetary draining process of upgrading, but also extended waiting time for bridging, and most especially the very costly, very difficult to find, very long listed child care services in BC Canada. We thought we came prepared. No, we were in for a very rough ride!

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According to Vancouver Sun on June 14, 2019, Vancouver alone is 16,274 spaces short of childcare. I placed my daughter on waitlist (about September 2017) and she was #300+ in waitlist! I was shocked. The moment I delivered my youngest I placed him on a waitlist too! We have searched high and low reached out to more than 30 childcare facilities/nannies/licensed or unlicensed homes - nope! No chance. Not only the waitlist was a shocker but the prices…wow! I have talked to schools who charge you 1400/month -$1900+/month. This is excluding uniforms and other expenses. How much does an average Joe earn in a month in lower mainland BC? $14.60 is the minimum wage as per Welcome BC website as of June 1, 2020. Let alone newcomers to this country who need to build contacts, need to survive, pay the rent, pay for living costs, find ways to do the bridging for their profession with high fees all in one blow? How can we afford this amount even with government support? Never mind there are no spaces.

Because of the lack in childcare options:

  • I was declined a job position in BC Children’s hospital because I then had a 2 month old baby and the HR manager told me “stay home for 2 years and take care of your child”.
  • I declined 5 full time job offers because I know I do not have child care in place.
  • I was rejected for a spot for my reentry program in TRU because I lack the hours as a care aid for I do not have a child care place for my kids to obtain those hours.
  • I resigned from one of my casual jobs because of childcare issues.
  • As I complete my Nursing reentry program by August 2021, instead of counting my 12 years of experience, because of the time lapse, I will start as a Canadian RN as a new graduate starting salary, with no seniority.

If I’d had access to affordable, accessible, and quality childcare:

  • I would have been working in the medical frontlines through this pandemic.
  • I would have already started contributing in more meaningful economic ways to Canada.
  • My family would not be a low-income family.

 

I am not alone. If the immigrants/newcomers/refugees were given a safe place where they can have affordable childcare for their kids, they could work on their bridging to be the skilled workers, professionals, that they truly are. After all, this was the reason Canada has approved their immigration to begin with. 

I am not here to complain, I am not here to brag, I am here to shed light, fill in the gaps and bridge where we came short, to therefore result in much more purposeful ways.  This has been the most trying, humbling, and toughest experience of my life and I am nothing but thankful.  The  main reason for our move from where we came from to Canada is to provide a better life for our kids, and what better way than to do the profession/career we do best: the career for which Canada has chosen us. I am lucky and thankful to share my truth to everyone and the absolute truth is we are immigrants and I am a mother first and forever.

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“Labour force participation rate is lower among immigrant women”; “48.6% of working Immigrant women with a bachelor’s level education or higher were employed in positions that do not typically require a degree.”; “Immigrant women were least likely to be employed in positions that matched their education.” The primary reasons cited for these are family responsibilities, ability to converse in a local language and other settlement issues. (Statistics Canada October 21, 2015 Women in Canada: Immigrant Women)

 

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Thea's Child Care Story
Thea's Child Care Story
It's time for affordable child care in BC. The @10adayplan is the solution to BC’s child care crisis. #bcpoli