Friday, October 04, 2013

3 years in Canada

Today marks my 3rd year of landing in Canada

I was chatting with my landlord after work. He remarked that I have made significant achievements (click herehere and here for examples), in establishing myself in Canada, in 3 years as a result of my hard-work. I noted to him that I was lucky because I've met other migrants who have not successfully established themselves in Metro Vancouver (B.C., Canada) despite having been here longer and having obtained Canadian citizenship. Indeed I've met people who are here more than 5 years, and even more than a decade, who still have not successfully obtained stable income.
Note: To be honest, by the typical materialistic Singaporean approach to measuring "significant achievements", I have achieved nothing of significance. Let's take a look at the 5C's for example: Limited cash, a credit card with a mid-range 4-figure credit limit (nothing eye-popping), no car (not even a valid BC driving licence), no condominium (still renting a room in a shared house), a career that is only just starting and currently part-time hours (still thinking about which specific area of specialization to work towards). Nothing to boast about. But that said, I am happy to count my blessings for 比上不足,比下有余。 [Literary: "Comparing with the superior leads to insufficiency, comparing with the inferior leads to excess". Meaning: "do not compare with others, for there will always be those better or worse off than oneself".]
My landlord replied that most immigrants to Canada who work hard, like myself, will be able to establish ourselves within that timeframe. Canada is a 正常社会 ["normal society"] where hard-work would be rewarded, unlike China where the hardworking ones will be bullied even more by society e.g. 能者多劳 [i.e. the capable will find themselves deluged with work]. I remarked that Singapore is similar to China in recent years.

3 years... decisions to be made...


  1. Wah, this information is unnerving to know for a immigrant-wannabe like me. Reality check...

    Congratz on your way to establishing yourself in BC! I believe it takes more than just being lucky ;)

  2. Hi Vegabond and Space,

    Thanks for visiting and your well wishes. May you find your way in your current/future host countries too.

    Cheers, WD.

  3. /clap..! I have just started working in Vancouver and hope to get my PR next year or the year after (/crosses fingers)

    However, I would highly encourage you to get your driver's licence! At least go test for your L, because discounts start from the day you get your license (including L). Or else.. when the day you finally decide to drive you will be shocked at the crazy rates that ICBC charge new drivers :\

    1. Hi Ban,

      Thanks for visiting and dropping your comments.

      Yes, I plan to get my BC driver's licence, I just have not got round to it. The ICBC lady from whom I got the *FREE* driver's manual said that I can get a N licence straight away when I pass the knowledge test if I surrender my Singapore driver's licence. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she is right. Yes, I know that driving insurance in BC is super-expensive compared to Singapore, but it's a monopoly, so no choice. Same thing for how much a nursing registration costs in BC vs Singapore.

      Good luck to your PR application. When you get it, make full use of the immigrant settlement services e.g. MOSAIC (Commercial Dr at Grant St, Vancouver) or ISS of BC. They can help enrich your experience of Metro Vancouver, BC.

      Btw, do you have a blog? It would be nice for readers to get another perspective of settling into Vancouver.

      Cheers, WD.

  4. Hi Winkingdoll! Congrats on your 3 years in Canada, it certainly seems like you have accomplished a lot!
    I have a few questions that I was hoping you could help me with. I am a RN from the US, and am also required to take the re-entry program. I am a bit discouraged to hear about how long the process is, from reading your experiences. I have researched both TRU and Kwantlen, and know that it'll take years and thousands of dollars to become a RN here. I was wondering if you could give me advice on working as a HCA/LPN here. I also researched on the process, and it seems like one has to take specific courses and an exam to be registered as HCA/LPN. Are IENs exempt from this process, or do we also have to take the required courses/exam to be registered? If so, it doesn't seem worth it, but that's what I wanted to ask you about. How is the pay for both? Is there another option with a higher paying salary? Sorry for all the questions, but would appreciate your help! Thanks so much! :)

    1. Hi La Vie De Jennie,

      > HCA/LPN... Are IENs exempt from this process, or do we also have to take the required courses/exam to be registered?

      Your questions are similar to another IEN's. You can check her questions and my replies to her here.

      As for pay, you can search the Working In Canada website for details.

      Cheers, WD.

  5. Hi winkingdoll :)
    I'm a male nursing student from singapore who just graduated from a local poly there! I have so many things to ask you but I don't want to overwhelm you with questions so I'll just ask one at a time! I'm glad I found your blog! I'm interested in working in canada as a nurse but i've been looking through all this information online about moving there and working that I can't help but feel lost. It would be really great if you could tell me where to start looking for any helpful information. & do you think I should study, get a degree and have working experience in singapore first or would it not make a difference if i applied for a job there without a degree, or maybe get a degree in nursing there?
    Thanks in advance, can't wait to hear a reply from ya! :)

    1. Hi Anonymous at Thursday, November 21, 2013 5:11:00 AM:

      The best option FSWP (Federal Skilled Workers Program) has already dropped nurses from its list of wanted skills.

      The next best option is to Google for each province to see if nurses are wanted on its Provincial Nominee Program.

      E.g. BC's Provincial Nominee Program requires RNs to be already registered with the CRNBC.

      In other words, for B.C., you'll need to undergo SEC (Substantially Equivalent Competency) assessment by CRNBC.

      Also check out Alberta's Immigrant Nominee Program.

      Not forgetting, the PNP (Provincial Nominee Program) of the other Canadian provinces.

      My suggestion is to monitor these provincial websites regularly and closely as the window of opportunity opens and closes very quickly. Remember, you're just 1 of many RNs who want to work in Canada -- consider the many IENs (Internationally Educated Nurses) from The Philippines and India.

      Good luck!

      Cheers, WD.

    2. Please note the big warning from CRNBC (i.e. BC's nursing board):

      "CRNBC cannot fast track applications from individuals who have secured jobs in British Columbia.

      We strongly encourage that you do not move to British Columbia or commit to an employment start date until your application for CRNBC registration has been assessed and you are aware of the requirements you must meet to become registered."


      Not to pour cold water, but to get you mentally prepared for the challenge ahead should you decide on heading to B.C. Getting registered with CRNBC is only step 1, finding a job when you do not have the visa to work for any employer in Canada is hard. There are plenty of unemployed/under-employed RNs with citizen/PR-status here in BC, read my posts on Nursing In Canada for examples.

      IMHO, you do, however, have one advantage in being male. Good for you (sad to say) that the reality is that there seems to be some remnant gender bias for male applicants in nursing recruitment by some facilities/authorities. I suspect it is due to the outdated notion of "we need MAN (muscle) power" for lifting/moving patients -- which by right we shouldn't if the facility has the right lifting equipment and enough time for tasks (for a safe workplace).

      Anyway, just FYI.

      Cheers, WD.