Newcomer Stories: Ontario Health Insurance Plan

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Even as many months have passed since our first visit to the doctor, I am still in awe with Canada's medical health plan. This was all very new to me. Most basics, like visits to the doctor, are covered by the health plan. For prescriptions and eye/teeth visits, you'll need to get extra health coverage. Normally these extras are offered at work or you can source an insurance company to help you with this cover.
But I digress. Going back to what I was saying...we are currently based in Ontario and we are covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). It takes 3 months of residency within Ontario to come into effect. We applied for the card a month before our third month and we got it the week we turned 3 months.
So I got a chance to use the health card when on a recent occasion, the Canadian Health Department sent me a form to inform me that my youngest child's vaccination was incomplete. She did have all the necessary injections. However, her last injection for measles given in South Africa was only for measles alone. In Canada, it specified that it had to be MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella).
There was a walk-in clinic near where we stayed. So one night, around 6pm, we "walked in" to the walk-in clinic. I explained my dilemma to the medical assistant, who looked for my health card and asked me to fill out a registration form. After which, I had to wait around 10 minutes before the doctor could see us.

I explained the situation to the doctor and she proceeded to give my child the injection she needed.  She completed the immunization record and asked me to send it along to the Department. And that was that. A total of a 30-minute visit.

As I walked out, I asked the medical assistant if that was it and she said everything was fine. To think, I did not even have to worry about the bill :-)

Newcomer Stories: Job Hunting Experience Within Canada

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Borrowed photo
On my last post, I spoke about how my husband landed his first job in Canada even before we landed and activated our visa. He was in the mechanical trades and word in the grapevine is if you do anything in the trades, you are sure to find a job easier. Especially if you are specialised, which he is.
But not everyone is as lucky.
I, on the other hand, was more of a generalist accountant. My vice was that I had worked on too many things in my professional career, being an all-rounder, that I became too much of a non-specialist. So much for the "Jill of all Trades" was a good party trick but not good enough to land a job, just yet.

So I trolled the jobsites and that in itself, became my job. I was a professional jobhunter!

It was difficult the first few weeks on the "job" as a jobseeker. Although I could see that most of the jobs I've applied for were work that I could easily do, the issue was that I could not convince the employers enough to give me the job. A lot of it was the question of having Canadian experience but that's a topic for another blog post.

I attended a couple of free workshops at the local newcomer centre with regards getting my resume more noticeable and better interview techniques.

There's also a big hype around networking. I tried to do this but it wasn't something that I could build overnight.

On average, I applied to about 5-10 jobs a week, ranging from being an accountant down to being an administration assistant. I tailored my resume specific to each job application for each company.

And what do you know? My first Canadian employment came through a job post on Monster. I applied the methodology I learnt at the workshops, and I must admit, they worked like a charm.

I had spent a total of 1 month on a serious jobhunt. It felt like an eternity but I eventually got there.

I know not everyone has or will have it as easy and quick. Everyone is on a different timeline, I realised. But all I can say is, one must never give up. To keep yourself busy, look around at the local newcomer centre and see what free workshops are available for you. I always say you can never learn enough.

And lastly, don't be afraid to hit those jobsites. They are mines of job postings. Visit the following: Monster, Workopolis, Job Bank, Indeed, etcetera (to name a few).

To anyone in the boat still, good luck!