Welcome to Canada! Rima and Sayid are newly arrived Syrian refugees, going through the process of trying to acclimatize to Canada. They are not alone in seeking permanent resident status and ultimately Canadian citizenship.
Canada has a long history of welcoming immigrants to grow our country from east to west. Whether you agree with it or not, this welcoming nature has made Canada one of the best countries in the world to live in. Our hope is that it means a better life for all.
But how confusing and maybe a little scary.
Fast forward a few months, and Rima and Sayid have both found jobs, Rima is working for Company XYZ, and Sayid, Company ABC.
On Rima’s first day, she is told what she will be doing, is taken on a tour of her new work space, she meets some of her co-workers; it’s so overwhelming, but she is really excited.
Once settled in, HR calls. HR (Human Resources) explain to Rima that she must wait 3 months to join the benefit plan, and in 6 months she can join the pension plan. She is given a booklet and directed to a website. She nods and says Thank you. She isn’t clear what any of this means, but she doesn’t know what questions to ask. Her husband expresses the same feelings to her.
Her next surprise is when she gets her first paycheque. There are all kinds of deductions; CPP, EI, taxes. What is all this?
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is available to everyone working in Canada and forms the foundation of retirement income. It also provides benefits if you die or become disabled. It replaces some of your income at retirement. Depending on where you are from, you may be eligible for a pension from your original home as well. You can find more information about that at www.esdc.gc.ca .
Taxes are pretty straight forward. Collected by governments, they are used to provide services.
Employment Insurance (EI) provides a safety net, if you lose your job, through no fault of your own, and cannot find another job. You must have worked a minimum number of hours in the 52 weeks before this happens, to be eligible. In addition, EI provides family benefits and sickness benefits. For more information, visit www.canada.ca/services/benefits.
By now, Rima is settling into her work routine. Her 3 month initial period is almost up and she will have to enroll in the benefit package. Stay tuned.