Yukon News

Living on the edge: skilled migrant workers cram into apartments

Krystle Alarcon Friday July 12, 2013

Ian Stewart/Yukon News


James Paul, left, and Richu Binu Vadath, both migrant workers from India, at their Riverdale apartment. Many foreign workers share rooms to make ends meet.

They never washed a dish in India. Now they’ve washed hundreds at Tim Hortons.

Richu Binu Vadath, a radiologist, and James Paul, a business management graduate, laughed over what little responsibilities they had in Kerala, India. They never thought they’d barely be making ends meet when they came to Canada.

The two men share a room in Riverdale. In total, there are three men in a two-bedroom apartment. And they’re not the only ones cutting costs by living in sardine-can conditions.

They’re part of a growing trend of migrant workers in Whitehorse’s service sector industry who have bulked up two to a room to afford housing with their meagre salaries.

Although both men initially entered Canada with student visas, they now hold temporary work permits. When they found out they could be channeled into permanent residency through the Yukon nominee program, they moved to Whitehorse. Paul moved in 2011, Vadath arrived in June.

Paul and his other roommate used to each pay $500 rent before Vadath joined them.

“It was really hard,” Paul said. He would use his entire first biweekly paycheque just for rent and utilities, he said.

Now the three roommates pay $350 each for their housing, electricity and Internet. But that’s still barely enough, Vadath said.

And they’ve both stopped sending money to their families in India. “We’re spending more than we’re making,” Vadath said, laughing.

Luckily, their parents and loved ones don’t depend on remittances from them.

The Canadian dream

“Every child in India has a wish to study abroad,” said Vagath.

Despite their education and qualifications, they’ve taken a step down in the hopes of gaining citizenship in Canada.

With minimum wage salaries, they’re still better off in Canada. “If I work in a job like Tim Hortons in India, I would make 500 rupees per day,” Paul said. That converts to around $8.67 in Canadian dollars. Vadath made only around $300 per month as a radiologist in India, he said.

Still, the men, who are in their twenties, feel like they’re losing their skills. They both came to Canada to further their studies, Vadath pursued a certificate in brain scanning technology in London, Ontario. Paul studied hotel management in Vancouver.

But Vadath dropped his course hoping he would get permanent residency faster through the nominee program. He wants to volunteer as a radiologist soon to maintain his knowledge of the field.

Their challenges and sharing a room has bonded the two. They don’t have to sleep on the same bed because Paul works graveyard shifts while Vadath works during the day.

On the rare occasion they have the same time off, they would lay on the bed together. One would be on the phone, the other on a laptop.

“It’s not a big deal because in India we used to do the same thing. Four or five people would share a room, it’s like throwing fish altogether - something like that,” Vadath said, chuckling.

They remain positive despite their paycheque-to-paycheque lifestyle. “Money’s not going to bring you happiness. It’s secondary, always,” Vadath said, smiling.

An Asian pursuit of success

Three women who also work in Whitehorse’s service sector live the same way in an apartment just below Vadath and Paul’s.

They are also highly skilled workers who came to the Yukon with temporary work visas. One was a midwife, the other a biologist, and the third a nurse.

All of them are from the Philippines. They also each work two jobs.

Maria Gualves, the former midwife, barely had a day off this summer. She came to Whitehorse through the Live-in Caregiver Program.

She still hasn’t received her permanent residency, which is promised to nannies after they complete a two-year contract or 3,900 hours of work. It’s been four years and she’s still waiting.

Gualves opens up her home to other Filipina nannies on the weekends. Sometimes three or four of them sleep in the living room on those days.

“I do it because I know all too well what it feels like, to have nowhere to go on the weekends,” she said in Tagalog. “We nannies would hang out in the library because that’s the only place you can stay for a long time.”

Like Paul and Vadath, they’re used to cramming into apartments. “In the Philippines, that’s our culture,” she said.

Gualves doesn’t mind squeezing in more. “If we can be six in the apartment, why not? Our rent would be even less. But there’s just one bathroom. And how would we deal with that because we’ll all wake up at the same time to work?” Gualves said.

Paul, Vadath and Gualves have moved around for years, going where they would most likely get permanent residency depending on the immigration policy of the time. Paul moved from Vancouver to Calgary to Whitehorse in the span of four years. Vadath initially arrived to Ontario in 2011, then moved to Saskatchewan before making his way to the Yukon.

Gualves, on the other hand, has travelled all over the world in search of a better life since 1989. She worked as a domestic worker in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan before making her way to Canada.

“You just scrape and scrape, every day,” she said.

Contact Krystle Alarcon at

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piper wrote:
12:47pm Friday July 26, 2013

Rorex go back to your school desk ,& I have no faith in your credibility.Not far from your youth etc.Yeah right

Rorex21 wrote:
12:09pm Friday July 26, 2013

Again your prejudice shows in your statements. For your information I have been working for 18 years across 2 provinces and a territory. During my time I have worked with plently of immigrants from Mexico, Asia, Europe, Africa and South America. While some may be lazy, under-educated, or in-experienced the same is true of some non-immigrants. In fact a recent study found that Mexico, Japan and Portugal are the hardest working countries in the world. I am now starting to doubt your ability to comprehend what you read. I never said the east coast is the only place with problems I said that the east coast is the only place that has unemployment rates above the national average which is consistant with historical averages over the last 20 years. And no everyone in the counrty is not directly affected by unemployed youth. Youth and inexperience don’t prove ignorance. However your prejudice does. I have a degree majoring in business and minoring in economics which along with research, and my own expeirence is where my conclusions come from while you draw solely on your own prejudice expeirences. I am no Harper fan but I am also not so delusional to believe that every fact and fiqure put out by the government is fudged. In addition there are plenty of private organizations that do research to develope their own stats which are relatively the same. Do us all a favor and return to your bomb shelter and keep your prejudice conspiracy theories to yourself. I can honestly say I am glad your no longer a Yukoner.

piper wrote:
5:50am Friday July 26, 2013

Rorex of course we all know someone directly effected ,& not just on the east coast .The whole country as a matter of fact .Have you any life experiences to actually draw your conclusions from as of yet ?... I doubt it… & giving away jobs citizenship etc to loads of immigrants will not solve the problems. I doubt you have lived & worked much out side of the Yukon . The inexperience of youth… ,which you claim to be not far off from shows in your statements.Also how many immigrants have you ever worked with ? I could give you lots of real first hand reports on how they abuse the system but talking to a inexperienced expert like your self in the paper won,t solve anything Oh & we can really believe everything Ottawa says ? Do you not understand Harper is also behind in the polls & putting out positive stat numbers ? which is par for the course when a sitting gov is in trouble.I still can,t understand your idea that only the east coast has a problem ever live & work there ? You are amusing if nothing else .

Rorex21 wrote:
2:42pm Thursday July 25, 2013

Not sure what your laughing about. I never said you were a youth. What I said is you or someone you know is directly affected. In addition I am sure that any province wouldn’t find my stats amusing as they actualy come from Ottawa (Stats Canada). The federal and provinical governments are well aware of what you obviously aren’t, that we are in real trouble with our aging population.  Why do you think they changed CPP from a pay as you go program? Why did they change the retirement age for OAS? Please do us all a favor and do some research. Lastly what the comments on this article prove is that with out a doubt their are alot of people out their who have opinions that are based on prejudice not fact.

bobby bitman wrote:
10:27am Thursday July 25, 2013

“Would it make sense that if i go to work at tim hortons in Germany i automatically become a german citezen???”

-  YTG worker nailed it.  Work at Tim Horton’s for a year at wages that will not provide you with basic housing, let alone a car, and don’t worry because those low wages will be topped up with a big ticket item!  Canadian citizenship!  There are billions around the world who would love that deal.  Seems that YTG worker is also very correct that this is a ‘word of mouth tell your friends’ situation going on given that we now have well over 2,000 Filipinos living in the Yukon, where there were about 300 ten years ago.  The Filipino people are good people, and I sympathize with their plight of a lack of opportunity in the Philipines, and over population there, but that should not shut down a transparent discussion about what is going on in the Yukon with these foreign worker programs.

Why are there so few coming here from Europe, Greece, etc?  Word of mouth would be my guess.  They just are not aware, and the pipeline from those countries does not exist.  Bottom line though, we need to seriously question topping up wages for huge corporations, with Canadian Citizenship.

piper wrote:
7:15am Thursday July 25, 2013

Well Rorex21 thank you for the compliment of me being a youth hahaha I am a retired soldier , but getting back on topic you need to bring your stats to Ontario or most provinces & you will be looked at with great amusement. Looks good on paper though ...Read all the comments thus far & have a good day.

Rorex21 wrote:
4:59pm Wednesday July 24, 2013

@ Piper
Even if you are to take in to consideration all the unemployed (7.1% according to Stats Canada) they cant possible hope to fill the positions of the 22.4% about to retire.

Also while I am no longer consider a youth I am not far off and have never had a problem getting a job. While my personal experiences are not universal the stats seem to back them up. I agree with Yikes, every time I look in the paper I see tons of job ads. And the stats seem to agree that unless you live on the east coast there are plenty of jobs (the east coast being the only places in Canada with unemployment rates above 7.1%). Also according historical unemployment statistics 7.1% is around the average for the last 20 years. All this leads me to one conclusion which is that the unemployment of youth is simply an issue that is currently effect you or those you know directly but is hardly a catastrophe. The retire of the Baby Boomers will be.

Rorex21 wrote:
4:43pm Wednesday July 24, 2013

First I never said youth should take a back seat I merely stated we need immigration to survive the retirement of the largest generation in history.
Lets talk about Canada’s unemployed youth. Recent studies show that 1 in 10 people between the ages of 15-24 are unemployed and not enrolled in school. According to Stats Canada 4.6 million fall in this age group meaning .46 million youth are unemployed members of the work force. However the Baby boomers, the largest generation in history is roughly 7.8 million people and the majority of the workforce. These people are nearing retirement. So while roughly 1.3% of our population is unemployed youth an estimated 22.4% of our population is about to retire. Which is why immigration is important.

Yikes wrote:
1:01pm Wednesday July 24, 2013

The negative comments on this article are shameful. If canadians from outside the Yukon wanted to work in the Yukon in the positions these immigrants are taking, they can. That goes the same for every single unemployed person in the Yukon. Look in the paper - there are still heaps of jobs in the service sector.

Immigrants gave up their lives to come to a new country to build a better life for themselves and for their family. They will be hard workers. And the fact that local unemployed persons have to compete with them is just too bad - though here’s an idea, apply for a job in the service industry, get hired, be a hard worker, and don’t get let go. If you really do get let go solely for the reason that your employer prefers foreign workers, then speak to the Yukon Human Rights Commission, head office of the company, Human Resources, etc - dont blame it on hard working immigrants.

piper wrote:
6:55am Wednesday July 24, 2013

Rorex21 so you think that all the unemployed youth here in Canada & our young people should take a back seat to all these new arrivals ? Canada has a very large pool of unemployed willing workers… why make it worse by ignoring our own & handing these new people the welcome wagon & jobs. YTG worker speaks the truth , you need to wake up .Have a good day.

yukonlinda wrote:
5:09pm Tuesday July 23, 2013

This is an example of why Canada needs to look at licensing arrangements that would allow foreign professionals to practice their professions here in Canada. A radiologist?? Do you know how badly Canada needs trained medical professionals, we’re sadly lacking in the number of people to do these jobs. If we could license people trained in some of these foreign countries it would do us a much bigger favor than having them at the drive thru. That said, they excel at that, too, compared to our own teenagers.

rorex21 wrote:
4:25pm Tuesday July 23, 2013

@piper   Right I forgot only Canadians are allowed to talk about how hard it is to make ends meet. Give your head a shake. Unless we start really encouraging immigration we will experience some serious economic downturns. 1/3 of the working population is about to retire wth very few people to replace them our country has been below replacement levels for decades and we are about to experience the results.
Everyone deserves sympathy even those new to our country.

Rorex21 wrote:
4:09pm Tuesday July 23, 2013

@YTG Worker   Spoken like a true government worker. Look around a little would you! You live in a country with a dangerously old population and a workforce that is on the verge of retiring.  Anything we can do to get skilled workers in this country or encourage reproduction is a good thing. Perhaps you don’t realize this but old people are expensive. Some studies show that more than half your lifetime health care cost occur in the last 10 years of life. Given the average life expentencacy of men (about 75 years) that means that as soon as they retire the health care costs sky rocket. Since health care costs as well as OAS are covered by income taxes you can expect that the government will need to generate more tax revenue from a smaller tax base. Personally I would like to see that tax base grow and our elders be taken care of by perhaps you don’t.

YTG Worker wrote:
8:12pm Monday July 22, 2013

This permanent residency loophole needs to be shut down, a huge influx of underpaid, immigrant workers living 4 to an apartment….just what the Yukon needs?

You think this is an accident?

They are up here looking for a free ride to gain citizenship, telling all their friends to do it…laughing at us….this seems like it should be illegal to me….what is wrong with our country?

Maybe we should hand out some scholarships and free housing while were at it.

Would it make sense that if i go to work at tim hortons in Germany i automatically become a german citezen???

This is beyond absurd and offensive to any true canadian born citizen…


Yvonne Clarke wrote:
10:47am Friday July 19, 2013

I don’t think that it is very unusual for new immigrants to Canada to have to scrimp and save by sharing accommodations.  I’m told that new immigrants to Canada in the 19th century, mostly Irish, did much the same thing in Montreal.  People come to Canada looking for a better life.  They work hard.  They save.  Slowly but steadily, one day at a time, they make their lives better for themselves and their children.  There is no question that rents are high in Whitehorse.  With the Yukon Nominee Program, there are more immigrants in Whitehorse.  So it would not surprise me that more people are sharing accommodations.  The good news is that what I have seen in Yukon up to now is that there are opportunities here for people to get ahead and that most newcomers eventually do get ahead. 
Hopefully the economy here will stay strong so that opportunities will continue for people.

mynameiszen wrote:
12:33pm Thursday July 18, 2013

Oh..I’m sorry you poor poor foreign workers..to have to flee from your impoverished and war torn countries to have to come here to live in such horrid conditions.  You truly must be suffering beyond words.  My apologies for not accepting your less than valid credentials to obtain employment at a higher rate of pay in order to make life more suitable for your needs, after all my children certainly don’t need the work as much you do to pay for their University or higher learning prospects.  As for your uninhabitable living conditions, I am completely dumbfounded that any fellow Canadian would allow living in such squalor-like conditions,  after all sharing an apartment to make ends meet is unheard of!    The potential to be anything you want by hard work and sacrifice must be completely overwhelming to you, after all you have left so much behind.  Can only imagine how substandard the scenery, fresh air, clean water, and wide open spaces must make you feel so small and powerless.  Again, please accept my deepest and sincerest apologies for all you have endured.  A. Cancuck

Marcy wrote:
7:31pm Wednesday July 17, 2013

The real story should be that a few days ago,  4 NON immigrants workers, who literally started working at canadian tire a few days before they started, were let go, 4 of them where all white people.  Guess Canadian tire only caters to immigrants now, il take my money to another store. This also goes for every other store in town that caters to immigrants.  Very sad

northern depths wrote:
3:06pm Wednesday July 17, 2013

I am pretty sure we were all immigrants before Canada was born. Now we are just a growing country, welcoming people that are just like we were at one time. I find it very shallow, that any one can classify themselves more worthy of opportunity to grow, than the person who has just become a Canadian. Our country is just a dream waiting to come true for many foreigners. They are not looking to take advantage of us and we should not feel like they need to leave our country because you think they are taking up our jobs. We have a welfare system that looks after our Canadian born folk. Some of which can not work, and some who choose not to work.

what about...... wrote:
9:10am Wednesday July 17, 2013

I don’t hear anyone who is quoted in this article asking for sympathy.  I also don’t read the article as anything more than a human interest story.  Unfortunately for many people here in Whitehorse, the situation is the same.  Rents that are too high and wages that don’t meet the cost of living.
FURTHERMORE, as stated by these people in the article, it is common in many cultures for many people to be living together under one roof.  Perhaps that is a major issue facing Canadians and Yukoners as a whole.  We are spoiled in our way of thinking and our way of life, feeling that we need to have our “space” whether that means living in a massive house/apartment by ourselves, or overdeveloping our wild spaces in favour of single-detached homes so that we don’t have to “share.”  Maybe we have more to learn from many of these immigrants than we know.  It couldn’t be easy and I commend all of them for wanting a better life for themselves and their families, and I sympathize with many of their sacrifices that they have made to do so.  To some who have posted here with comments like, “immigrants are taking our jobs”, many of these jobs here in the Yukon create the working poor, and I believe it is only because they are willing to make the sacrifice of sharing their living space (as an example)are they able to afford to take these jobs.  We could all learn a lot, as could our kids about losing the sense of entitlement that seems to be prevalent in our society these days.

piper wrote:
5:17am Wednesday July 17, 2013

Yukoner87 if that’s a fact then I would know you… I never had a mortgage & sold my house 2 yrs ago & bought a farm in central Canada still no mortgage I mention that only because of your last statement I guess I’m supposed to be impressed ? I’m not..  my apologies but that is the impression you gave, & returning to the topic… I stand by my statements good luck to you in WhiteHorse .

Voice in the crowd wrote:
2:30am Wednesday July 17, 2013

The biggest thing this article and even this discussion highlights to me, is how as a society we are lazy, and raising our children to be lazy.

These people come to our land, and in most cases are just looking to live work and enjoy life like the rest of us, but are willing to take low level jobs to do it.  jobs our children won’t take, because we spoil them and they do not have to.

@piper, as long as we have a system that has Welfare supports, and other supports that allow individuals to bypass working in menial jobs altogether, you can forget your argument about taking care of Canadians first. Fact is if we were willing to take these jobs we wouldn’t have so many sponsored workers, as there would be no need. Remember these are Nurses, and Radiology tecks getting your fast food, or directing you to the proper aisle, and considering how often they get it wrong, I for one am glad they are not working in their chosen profession, the mistakes are less life threatening… but at least they are willing to work at what ever they need to or can to better their lives.  what will our children do, in 5, 10, 20 years when they are the minority that cannot get a job.

My issue is in area’s like skilled trades, where they are brought in, and there is no reason, other than a failing apprenticeship system, where employers are allowed to screw over employees, and the apprenticeship officers are more apt to show up late, and drunk to administer provincial standard tests, than enforce the apprenticeship requirements on employers.
And to make matters worse, the NDP want to promote the system that much more, by having labour code, occupational health and safety materials and worker comp info printed in several other languages, that are not English or French. Oddly it’s not the conservatives that are pushing temporary workers on us, it’s the liberals and NDP.

Yukoner87 wrote:
6:12pm Tuesday July 16, 2013

Piper & Student:  Student - thank you for posting and your point about further discussion/changes on integration are key:  Fact - immigration has been and will continue to be a part of Canada. Agree or not - it’s about accepting its part of what Canada will continue to be at least in our life time.  Fact-service sector jobs, rental/housing costs, across Canada not just Yukon raise concerns for all Canadians born here or moved here.  Again whether immigrant or born Canadian, low wage earners trying to get a start or restart in some cases do live in situations as outlined in this story. Victims - no, people who continue to look for opportunities to better their life - in most cases yes.  How do we in Yukon move forward for the better?
Piper - you are so wrong in your assumptions - I said I don’t live in Faro - not that I never lived in Faro -it is one of the rural communities I have history living in (a long one) and can certainly speak to it - just as I mentioned Dawson City and other rural communities. 1987 begun my journey with Faro, - all of my children were born in the Faro Nursing Station, lived most of their childhood in Faro- many good years and some not so good, but all in all very blessed with meeting special people from around the world there and yes immigrant friends, higher wages and service sector jobs were a-part of that.  I lived there until 2008, still own titled – not mortgaged property there (which is occupied) and pay taxes to the Town of Faro.

student wrote:
11:49am Tuesday July 16, 2013

living paycheck to paycheck eh? .... I’m a student, who pays the same 500/month for rent and tuition. And I too live pay check to paycheck, only thing is my paycheck comes every 8 months. As an immigrant I discourage of people agreeing to do this stories because it portray us as victims. However, there need to be some discussion/changes on the integration of skilled workers into the Canadian workforce for the benefit of the entire community.

piper wrote:
6:05am Tuesday July 16, 2013

Thanks for the laugh yukoner87 .. wonder why you think you can talk like a expert on towns like Faro which you never lived in.. & think you know the score ? I know it well & know everyone in that town & when just about everyother house is for sale & very few have sold in the last 3 yrs , it is a poor example not that many new immigrants in these towns . Wonder why you didn’t cite Ross River ? I’m sure they would be thrilled to have some of the job s that these new arrival’s are being given .Do you really understand we have a need to take care of our own here in Canada ? Yukoner 87 try to have a nice day .

Fredia wrote:
4:59pm Monday July 15, 2013

Yes, it is sad about their plight but an immigrant needs to speak and understand the language fairly clearly to get licenced in Canada and for good reason.  The TOEFL test of English as a foreign language would go a long way to helping them get work in their profession providing there are jobs of course.

There is such a family (families) living not far from me so I can say this first hand.  There are without exception 4 new vehicles parked there at any one time and usually several more and the street is choked with many more vehicles more times then I care to count. one can’t even park in front of your own lawn. It’s great to have so many friends but these friends stay overnight and I always thought this neighbourhood was single family.

I say if people need to house over a dozen in one house, in order to cost share expenses then why all the fancy cars.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they are running a car wash business.  The pressure washer starts at any hour and runs for several.  One member has an enhanced for lack of a better word muffler and you can hear the darn thing right though closed windows winter or summer and it idles for prolonged periods.  So there you go, with the cost of gas, someone’s got a bit more money to spend on single household rents.

AF wrote:
1:49pm Monday July 15, 2013

I personally have worked with immigrant workers in their trained profession and they didn’t have a clue as to what they were doing. Even after a year they were clueless. I agree with piper, Canada does need to look after our own first.

Yukoner87 wrote:
1:06pm Monday July 15, 2013

Yes Canada needs to take care of Canadians, but if my career and life experiences have shown me anything - it’s no matter where you are - programs and people only succeed when they are both committed.  There is no clear cut solutions - There are many student and adult Yukoner’s and Canadians who have strong work ethics and are willing to do what it takes to provide and be responsible for themselves.  There are others who no matter what is offered do not pick up the tools provided to them - likewise there are people who come into our country who do not follow our laws and others who are extremely grateful and become awesome families and members of the communities they live in.  And yes Faro is a good example - like Dawson, Watson Lake, Haines Junction - houses are sold, put for sale and resold - just a people move out, (and many have made profits on the houses they sold) - other people are moving in - there are young families continuing to choose Faro - I don’t live there, but I know of others who do and the school age children show the numbers.  Just like any housing market - Whitehorse included - the market has become soft.  I have raised three kids and anytime an article like this comes up - - this problem will remain in some form or another, however, empathy, discussion and appreciation for what we have is something we can all do.  Just like many immigrants and Canadians who work hard -there are more things in common here - This article is stating facts that other non-immigrant Yukoners have stated before.  Piper - enjoy your day and we can all count our blessings.

Riptide wrote:
10:51am Monday July 15, 2013

@Anna, “But it really hurts me when landlords refuse to rent their apartments if the number of tenants is more than one in 1BR, more than 2 in 2BR apartments and so on”

Anna, as a landlord I understand their thought process. And to an extent I’m the same. It’s not that they’re trying to be mean or anything… it’s that 2-3 people means more wear and tear, and more changes of things being damaged or broken.

piper wrote:
6:11am Monday July 15, 2013

Yukoner87 those are my views & I don’t care if you don’t like them tough. Lots of people are leaving Faro just look at all the houses up for sale that was a weak example you cited. Again my opinion & what is it that you bring to the discussion ? Again Canada should first… take care of our own & that’s that… don’t like my view ..to bad.

jimanji wrote:
11:50pm Sunday July 14, 2013

I came to Canada myself in 1994, Not like migrant worker but as a new immigrant. I had a horrible, low paying jobs at the begging, guess what? That’s what immigration is. By the way, I never complained. This is a great country, if you want to work hard, sky it the limit.

Yukoner87 wrote:
2:48pm Sunday July 14, 2013

Piper:  for someone who, I think in past postings,  has said you used to live in Faro - your anger seems very misplaced and misdirected…..Plus I believe you left the Yukon did you not?  Faro along with many other Yukon communities over the years are examples of a melting pot of people from all over the world over the history of Yukon that came to seek a better life, myself included, many years in rural Yukon - many of us started in service sector jobs not all worked in the higher paying jobs at the mind.  Many struggled in yesteryear and today.  I agree with other postings is not just a story of immigrants and service sector jobs - its about what many people of all cultures and ages are facing in Yukon and across Canada.  Angry words like yours, and you certainly are entitled to your thoughts - however, perhaps you should keep them in your head because you certainly add nothing to the discussion…

Sam Smithers wrote:
12:55pm Sunday July 14, 2013

I know of many currently established people who came to the Yukon with little and lived in cabins, walltents etc as they started progessing through employment opportunities.

Immigrants are new Canadians. They come here for a better life and many will do well because they have hope, are hard working and they have positive attitudes,

piper wrote:
5:57am Sunday July 14, 2013

This is what’s wrong with Canada ,letting everyone in who has a sob story etc…. You telling me that we don"t have enough needy people of our own right here in Canada… that could use these job’s that these new arrival’s are complaining about ?? I have a few words for that… but I got to keep it clean here….@ been here since confederation ?  you & all like you should wake up & smell the coffee.

Krysta Meekins wrote:
2:10am Sunday July 14, 2013

This is a common for low income workers, Canadian-born or otherwise, in the Yukon.  I live in a three bedroom (one bathroom) trailer with 5 other people and I am grateful.  It certainly beats tenting.  We all work hard and we’re not complaining.  I don’t think the folks quoted in the article were complaining either.

Ted Parkinson wrote:
2:20pm Saturday July 13, 2013

Piper wrote: “If they don’t like it here then they can go back to their own country…..Canada should take care of our own….. instead of rolling out the red carpet to all these new arrival’s. I don’t feel sorry for them at all”. Actually Piper, none of the people in the article asked you to feel sorry for them. So relax. And for the others who asked “what is the article about?” it is a story about a complex situation. It is a story about culture clashes and how some immigrants are dealing with our way of life.

Here is my summary: No one has to feel ‘sorry’ or ‘obligated’ to people who immigrate. However, if we want to reach our potential as a country we NEED more foreign workers since we are not making enough babies of our own, and we are better off using everyone’s best skills possible. It is the role of government to help ensure everyone can work to their fullest potential because there will never be a shortage of people with dishwashing skills!

Been here since confederation wrote:
12:05pm Saturday July 13, 2013

Our immigration laws are archaic and xenophobic.  As is our higher education community.  We like to think we are a welcoming nation that takes more immigrants than most others, but compared to other OEC countries, thats just not the case.  Instead we complain about not having enough skilled workers, cherry pick skilled workers with immigration programs, then don’t let them work here because their accreditation is not accepted.  Though in many cases accreditation is accepted in most other commonwealth countries. 


You live in a land of immigrants, deal with it.  This country would be no where with out all the immigrants (including first nations)  If you don’t like it.  Get off of earth.  Or join a different species.

piper wrote:
5:23am Saturday July 13, 2013

If they don’t like it here then they can go back to their own country…..Canada should take care of our own….. instead of rolling out the red carpet to all these new arrival’s. I don’t feel sorry for them at all.

Anna wrote:
2:01am Saturday July 13, 2013

It’s the plight of all foreign workers/students. I have seen many engineers, doctors, nurses, chartered accountants taking up survival jobs as their qualifications and skills are not recognized (without even testing their skills).  I am an international student, I am paying five times more fees than the Canadian students, I am skilled in my field and can take up any related job with no less efficiency and competency than a locally-educated candidate. But I don’t even get shortlisted for interviews because my degrees and experiences are foreign. May be another reason I don’t get shortlisted in my own field is because I am a student and I can work only part time and no employer would want to hire someone who is on student visa/off-campus WP. For someone like me who is still pursuing a local degree that bias is acceptable. But it really hurts me when landlords refuse to rent their apartments if the number of tenants is more than one in 1BR, more than 2 in 2BR apartments and so on. That’s more common in Vancouver. I partnered with a local student to look for a 1BR apartment so that we could save on rents. Though one landlord finally agreed to rent his apartment to us, we were rejected by at least half a dozen others.

jaz wrote:
12:05am Saturday July 13, 2013

UNfortunatly its not just a foreign worker situation, this is a world situation.  Cost of living in Canada is insane,  Barely afford rent, never mind bills, groceries…

mlehner wrote:
8:40pm Friday July 12, 2013

While the artice doesn’t actually state this, several of my coworkers have said that the article infers that some employers are taking advantage of immigrants…. I don’t find this to be true at all. A lot of the jobs that are being taken by immigrants are entry level positions that are usually occupied by students and those entering the workforce and needing those basic skills so they can move forward with their working careers. A combination of things, like our strong economy and growth in the business sector has left us with a shortage in the labour force, especially for these entry level jobs. If immigrants are able to fill these positions, then that’s great. I would expect, as I think most Yukoners would, that they are paid a wage that is fair and comparable to what anyone else would make in the same position. I hope that once these folks get their PRs and are able to move into more skilled jobs, that they remain in the Yukon and help contribute to our economy.

Alan wrote:
7:10pm Friday July 12, 2013

The plight of immigrant workers underscores to me how much corporations benefit from immigration and no one else does. The immigrant gets minimum wage, the average Canadian gets increased competition for better paying jobs and accomodation.
Immigration was and still is corporate driven.

Mr. Blunt wrote:
6:34pm Friday July 12, 2013

I am grasping at the meaning of this article.  Is it designed to guilt us all into feeling bad for foreign workers?  I feel absolutely no sympathy for foreign workers in the Yukon whatsoever.  I bet you 80% have no specific loyalty to the Yukon, and, once they gain permanent residency, they will probably get on the first flight to Vancouver or Toronto.  We are using them, but they are using the Yukon also.  So there is no need for sympathy.

Patrick McCormick wrote:
3:14pm Friday July 12, 2013

I am also unclear as to the exact point of the article. The comments by ‘The Other Side’ point out some of the issues, but I would like to add that the issue of wage versus high cost of living in Whitehorse (and elsewhere in Canada) is one that is shared by everyone. Increasingly the wage base struggles to keep up to the high cost of rental accommodations and real estate prices. It does not matter if you were born here, or come from any other country. The inequity between wages and living costs continues to grow. No one is exempt.

The Other Side wrote:
2:21pm Friday July 12, 2013

I am uncertain what this article is really trying to get across.  Is the plight of foreign workers?  Is it the fact that foreign workers land in Yukon after drifing across Canada for the sole reason of ganing Permanent Residency, not working?  Is it the fact foreign workers are underutilized for their skills? 

Fact one is that all foreign workers that enter Yukon and Canada are Temporary Forweign workers and must meet certain conditions to gain permanent residency.  the fact that one states they have waited four years, means they have not met one of those obligations.

Secondly, the fact that many have been to several provinces to find meaningful work applies to many Canadians as well.  This is not a phenomenon to just foreign workers, nor is the fact that 4-6 live in the same residence, since affordability is a problem for Canadains as well.

As to the application of their skill set, many Canadians go to university or college to gain specific skills, yet never apply those in the workplace. This is not unusual.  you do what you have to to earn a living wage.

So, to these workers, I say welcome and all the best in your quest, but be assured, you are not alone in your travels.  It only makes you appreciate everything that much more when you attain it.


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