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This blog contains the unedited posts of Ukrainians who successfully moved to Victoria, BC, and/or their hosts. Content posted with permission. For privacy we are keeping them anonymous. The opinions expressed in the blog are those of the author and are neither supported nor endorsed by the moderators of this website.

Dear CUAET newcomers, my compatriots…

This post is something of a warning, based on my own experience in Canada. I know you are relieved to escape the bombing, shelling, shooting, burning, destruction of economic infrastructure and your homes, the occupation, and all other horrors the invaders brought into our peaceful homeland. I know you are delighted to arrive in Canada, a land that has an international image or prosperity and welfare, to walk and breathe freely, enjoy Vancouver Island warmth and sun, discover a whole new world here.
So am I.
At the same time, we all should keep in mind that Canada’s living cost is 400-500% of Kyiv living cost, 2500 Canadian dollars per month, a dream salary for most Ukrainians, is barely enough for survival for a single person here. Some of us brought our savings here, but many didn’t. Some of us speak English really well, but most don’t. Some of us have an in-demand profession, but most don’t. Some of us arrived solo or with a partner or with adult relatives, but many have dependants to maintain.

I’m very very thankful to Canada, to BC, and to Canadian people for letting us come here, for supporting us, hosting us, guiding us, giving us shelter and resources to integrate like health insurance, work permit, Work BC and local Immigrant services, etc. We’ll also be getting allowances for several weeks or single time paid support money.
What my message to you is, based on my individual experience so far: SEEK EMPLOYMENT SOON!

Canada is a very expensive country, no savings can sustain you here long enough, especially considering the ongoing significant prices inflation caused by the global problems with oil and gas, coal, fertilizers, wheat, and rare metals prices. United Nations and other expert economists say these problems will not be resolved in the foreseeable future, they will get even worse in autumn and winter 2022-2023.

We cannot expect more help from Canadian and provincial governments than they’ve announced to give. To integrate and live a good life in Canada, we must get employed here as soon as we possibly can. And Canada’s qualified gainful employment market is very hard to enter, our overseas credentials, experience, references, status have little value here, what really matters is our skills and expertise we can demonstrate, and the command of English.

For these reasons, be proactive, be seeking, be realistic, check out any employment opportunities you encounter, get registered at WorkBC here: https://www.workbc.ca/Resources-for/New-to-B-C.aspx to get guidance and take part in workshops, attend all free English courses you can find from Vancouver Island’s wonderful ICA and VIRCS organizations, and other sources. Use the mobile application Duolingo on every spare minute you have to boost your vocabulary and grammar.

Pave your way through thorns to the stars, go for any job you can do, and the sooner you start the better.
In my case, I speak English fluently, I have a great in-demand occupation, I lived and studied or worked in other Western countries before, still getting a job in Canada is an activity that requires much time and effort, I keep shooting my CV for various jobs every day, then having job interviews, getting rejected, trying again. Never lose the spirit, you will find your employment niche, and even if one attempt our of two dozen is successful, that is exactly what you needed, follow this opportunity route until you find something better. War or not, Canadian employers frown on void time spans in CVs. Being persistent and learning through trial and error is the only way to success, to self-dependence and prosperity in Canada, let’s follow this route all together, that is the only thing Canada expects from us in return for all help and support we are getting, without voicing that.

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