Can you “Make it like Manny” in Canada?
We all know that Manny Pacquiao is rich. In fact he is super rich, famous, beloved, and is one of the world’s most endearing and successful rags to riches stories.
Who would not want to be like him? Leave home, find fortune and glory, and become a hero. However, the question for you is whether moving to a new country will lead to Manny type millions, or will it all turn out to be a mirage?
Send home a million pesos in just one year?
Manny did not start out making millions overseas, but maybe you could? We all know that Filipino migrants send back home a lot of money. According to the Globe and Mail, Filipino migrants in Canada send back over 80 billion in pesos each and every year! That is a staggering amount. For arguments sake, lets see if it is possible for you to send home a million Pesos in just one year.
Well, in Canada there are two interesting factors that help make the “million peso” miracle a growing possibility. These two factors are the prevailing wage policy in Canada and the existence of high wage average cost cities. Know them well, because understanding these two factors could help you “Make it like Manny” in Canada.
Your new best friend…the Prevailing Wage
First lets talk about the new Canadian immigration policy of the prevailing wage. Up until very recently many companies thought they could use foreign workers as a low cost solution contributing to profitability. However, on June 20, 2014, the Government of Canada announced reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that changed much of this thinking.
At Uniivaa, we have written other articles detailing this program. However, the important thing to understand is that as of June of this year all Canadian employers that hire workers under this program must pay foreign workers the median wage paid for a particular occupation in a given geographical area according to the Government of Canada. This is known as the “prevailing wage” and it means that if you come to Canada you should be making what others in that area of Canada make for that same position.
This is an amazing change in policy, and in fact can amount to a very large amount of money. For example, the province of Alberta has conveniently posted information about wages in that province. You will find the link to this information and other references at the bottom of this article.
Uniivaa deals with quite a few engineers who are looking to come to Canada, so lets use the common example of a Civil Engineer. According to the Alberta government website, the median or prevailing wage for Civil Engineers in all industries is $45.90 an hour. Additionally, the overall average annual salary for Civil Engineers in Alberta is listed as $92,054. As the Alberta government website declares, an employer must agree to pay a temporary foreign worker the prevailing wage rate when they apply for the Labour Market Impact Assessment. In other words, the days of underpaying foreign workers in Canada must end! This is the ultimate in wage protection for foreign workers coming to Canada. Knowing this means that you will be making much more money in Canada than you originally might have thought.
Follow the yellow brick road to…Fort McMurray!
Of course wages are only half the story. Actually, they are only a third of the story. Two other parts remain. First, can I get a job and, second, how much does it cost to live in Canada? Well, let us tell you about a little place called Fort McMurray, Alberta. Fort McMurray is the new Canada and the centre of the Canadian oil patch. More recently, people have started calling it Wood Buffalo but everyone in Canada still calls it Fort McMurray. Fort McMurray is on fire. Not literally on fire, but is an example of a Canadian city in the resource sector that is growing fast and making everyday people, including new immigrants, lots of money.
Additionally, Fort McMurray is not the only relatively unknown city with a huge demand for workers. Grand Prairie, Regina, Saskatoon, St. John’s, and Red Deer are all other examples of cities with extremely attractive job and salary markets. These cities are obviously not Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. However, this is Canada and no one really lives in igloos anymore. These cities all have good schools, housing, stores, parks and even vibrant and growing immigrant populations.
But lets take Fort McMurray as an example. According to one study Fort McMurray is the hottest job market in Canada with 13.71 jobs available per 1,000 people. In comparison, Vancouver is number 19 at 4.77 jobs per 1,000 people and Toronto did not even make the top 50. Let’s put this into even more perspective. The Alberta government asked employers if they had recruited Civil Engineers over the past two years and if they had had hiring difficulties or current vacancies older than four months for that profession. The results were astonishing. The study revealed that 62% said that they had recruited in the last two years, 48% said that they had hiring difficulties and 28% said they had unfilled vacancies of over four months. If you are a Civil Engineer looking to make $92,054 or 3,699,663 pesos at current exchange rates, then Fort McMurray has to be the first place to start a search.
So, you find high paying employment in Canada but how much does it cost to live in Fort McMurray? Searching this question in Google will certainly scare you half to death. Some articles say it is the most expensive city to rent in Canada. Others make it seem like you are living in Kensington Palace, London or The Peak of Hong Kong. But lets look at some specific data. If you look at some local data it appears that the average rate for a one bedroom apartment in Fort McMurray based on apartment rental listings for the past year is $1,960 a month. If your intention was to save money than you could seek out a basement suite at an average cost of $1,575 a month or even a basic room which would cost you on average $788 a month. Granted, availability factors into the equation, but another basic Google search will show that there are certainly places available for rent at these rates.
But what about other costs of living like food, clothes and transportation? Given the northerly location of Fort McMurray it is no surprise that basic costs are more expensive than a city such as Toronto. However, they are not double, triple or quadruple the amount. In fact, one report suggests that consumer prices in Fort McMurray are approximately 44.36% higher than in Toronto. For those of you who are interested we have provided a link to information breaking down the costs of essential items such as milk, bread clothing in Fort McMurray. Really, unless you are spending hundreds of thousands of pesos each month on all these costs of living, 44.36% is certainly not a reason to avoid places such as Fort McMurray.
Do the math…achieving the “million peso” miracle
This article is not an ad for Fort McMurray! We have no connection to or stake in the city at all. In fact, our offices are located in Toronto, Ontario and we would be happy to see you move to this fine city. However, if you are looking to send a life-changing amount of money back home, working in relatively unknown but growing cities such as Fort McMurray are places where the math suggests that this is quite possible.
In fact, lets finish with the math. You are a Civil Engineer. There is a high demand for workers in Fort McMurray Alberta. The Canadian employer pays you the prevailing wage of approximately $92,054 or 3,701,505 Philippine Pesos a year. Unfortunately the government takes approximately 25.09% in taxes leaving you with 2,777,911 pesos. You rent an apartment for $1,960 a month or 947,496 pesos a year. This leaves you with 830,415 pesos a year to eat, play, travel to work or do anything else that you please and one million pesos to send back home each year!
This is the “million peso” miracle in Canada brought to you by the prevailing wage and relatively unknown but extremely hot job markets. As they used to say here in North America, now you know…and knowing is half the battle!
If you are interested in working in Canada, please feel free to use our free Jobs in Canada Eligibility Tool to assess your chances of getting a job in Canada. Visit: www.uniivaa.com
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