How having an opinion can get you in trouble.


Here is a copy of a Facebook conversation I had with a friend of mine who has run for the Conservative party municipally and Provincially.  He posted that he will was invited to a dinner event with Immigration minister Jason Kenney, who I just posted about due to my concerns with the recent changes to the live-in caregiver program.
 
I congratulated my friend of over 20 years and asked him to get some information for me.  Now looking back, and knowing my friend, there was no way he would just up and question the minister, however if he had a moment, I guarantee he would ask for me.
 
Someone saw this exchange and must have thought I was criticizing my friend, or the progress being made by this government – which I kind of am doing – and below is a transcript of the conversation.
 
Urbandaddy: Awesome, Mike Yen. Can you ask Jason what he’s doing with the Canadian Live-in Caregiver program? He’s messing up the agencies and the nannies already in it. He’s causing headaches for the employers too. I posted a couple in-depth blog posts you can refer to @ www.urbandaddy.wordpress.com, if you’d like.

urbandaddy.wordpress.com
 
Person: Urban Daddy, you’re little unfair to the minister.. and also mike, by not completely briefing mike prior to meeting Jason kenny.First off you make no reference ( in your blog ) to ” why ” the new changes have been made. Nor do you offer any history into the amount of abuse that was bestowed, under the old rules.There are very good reason’s for the change.Caregivers now have 4 years to get in two years employment,( or equivalent hours ) up from 3 years. This was done, to allow the employee freedom, and not be locked into miserable jobs because of a calendar. Under Minister Kenny, a hot-line has been set up “just for caregivers” working / living in abusive situations… no other minister had done this before.

Clamping down of unscrupulous agents and consultants has been a great accomplishment by Minister Kenny. Maybe a blog on that topic would shine some light on the other side of the fence. And then another one or to on the “abuses of authority” employers rein down on some of these woman.

And of course the wait time to be processed is going to be longer.. more people are applying for the PR, and of course the process time to get here will be longer, more people are applying to come here.

Over the last 5-7 years, there has been a popular and very lucrative and in many cases, unscrupulous, industry created around ( primarily ) Filipinas coming to Canada via Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai. Again, this explains the extended wait times.

In my experience, the only ones that are “really upset” with the minster’s new rules, are those that are attempting to live off the avails of caregivers. See consultants and agents above.

To send Mike at the minister, using only the info in your blog, could very well be an embarrassment to him.

Jason Kenny has done a great job with the changes. They are not perfect, but the door has been slammed on the bastards that were using and abusing the caregivers. And for that, he gets my full respect.

 
Urban Daddy: Hi.  I don’t think I’m being unfair to Mike at all, actually. I’ve known him for over 20 years personally and Mike would never just read what I’m writing and speak to the Minister on that. I was hoping that if he knew him and had a moment to ask him about where the government is going on this he would. Mike’s a pretty strategic fellow. And as for my views on the program, I’m coming at it from a very honest straightforward view. I worked in government, and I’ve employed nannies (still do). Going through the process for me was a little more difficult because it had to be even more by the book. While I understand there has been some corruption in the program, I have never seen it personally, so I’m looking out for the honest folks, like myself, the agency that helped us on 3 occasions and the wonderful woman who have helped take care of my children.
 
– I’ll saw here that a lot of what this person said was legitimate, however, had he read any of my 3 blog posts on this topic he would know that not only do I have the government experience, and I’ve sponsored 3 nannies and helped them all go through the program, complete their paperwork and get jobs after, but I have also sent my posts to an amazing nanny agency called Wee Care here in Toronto to vete my thoughts to ensure they are not biased.  This agency is about as legit as you can get and just for doing business they are required to jump through hoops. 
 
I’m all for getting the bad guys but let’s not lose sight of the fact that not everyone is a bad guy.  Good guys can complain too about process / procedures because they make little sense.  Those trying to cheat the system will do so regardless of what obstacles are in front of them,.  So why make the honest guys suffer.  My kids current nanny is this petit sweet very Christian girl who just wants to get her residency so she can get her career moving and help her family back home.  She wants to run a business here and upgrade her education.  To do so, she needs her residency but until that time she can’t even take courses.  She’s devoted 4 years of her life to this country and in return she is asked to wait an additional 18 months to get her residency.  If the minister really wanted to be fair to everyone, he’d grandfather (grandmother) the current group and start fresh with the next lot.
 
Back to the discussion –
 
  • Person: Urban Daddy, my wife is a Filipina, that came into this country through the caregiver program.. I have met many caregivers, and only one, has had what I’d consider a really good employer. By that I mean her employer stuck to the duties spelled out clearly on the contract.Caregivers are not dog walkers, snow removers, lawn cutters, house painters, furniture movers, car washers, gardeners ( read: weed pullers ) etc. However, most, almost all, are called upon to perform many of the tasks I’ve noted. Employers are getting all those services for min wage. If they were to pay the caregivers market value for those extra tasks, ok, then that would / could be acceptable.. but that is not the case.What Minster Kenny has set up, is a system whereby, caregivers can now leave their slave-driving employers, with no penalty to themselves. This is a great change.

    I agree with you, there are a few good agencies. Just a few. The new guide lines, are closing down the exploiters very quickly. I just heard of another one tonight.

    The new wait times are longer. I know this can be frustrating.
    But there are more than enough here, that will accept part-time, until the other caregiver arrives. We’re currently waiting for my brother in-law to arrive from Dubai. There’s a job waiting for him when he arrives, and until then it is being filled by a woman with a PR Card. She’s aware of the temporary nature of the job. Plus, she’ll be working there on the weekends when he’s with us. And of course, under the new guidelines ( as I’m sure you’re aware ) no fee’s are being charged to the employee, for the job.

    I really think it’s noble how you care for your employee’s future here in Canada. I also believe we have a great guy ( Minster Kenny ) steering the ship.

    Whenever I get frustrated at the new rules, ( that my brother in-law is experiencing ) I just think of the added protection to the caregivers.

Again I appreciate that this is his view, however, now in over 6 years of employing caregivers and having many at our house, often, I cannot say that I have ever seen this.  I have not heard of, nor would I ever ask an employee – nanny or tax staff – to do something not in their contact.  Again I think each person sees different things or gets asked different things.  I’ve been asked if nannies are allowed to go out at night, or if they are on call 24/7 and yes, I have set people straight.  How else do people learn. 
 
I like some of the changes to reduce nanny abuse and require them to be treated equally under the law as a regular employee but to up the costs to employers and make life difficult and expensive for potential employers tells me the minister is trying to make this program available only to the rich and I have problems with that since it’s usually the middle class who need the live-in caregivers so both parents can work as it’s a cheaper option that a live-out caregiver.
 
All I wanted from the minister was answers… Where is he going with the program.  I ended the conversation this way: It looks like we both pretty much see things the same way. Happy to see corruption kept out of the program and let the legit businesses run properly and help those fantastic workers do their stuff and come to be productive Canadians. Pleasure having this discussion with you. I’ve learned a lot. Cheers.
 
What are your thoughts?  If you comment and you have either a nanny or an agency, please disclose.
 
Thanks!
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Can they do this in the government? No. But in the private sector…


They cannot do this in the government.

I feel like I’ve just had a carrot dangled in front of my eyes…

But in the private sector, life is very much different, and here, a year into my life in the private sector, I had a refreshing meeting with our VP.

You see, for almost 11 years in the government, as part of our regular work activities – and coffee breaks – we didn’t meet with anyone to discuss our “future”.

I had set up meetings meeting with my Team Leader, Manager, Section Manager, etc., in order to find ways to challenge me, and keep me busy all day long, and while smiling at each other they could do nothing, or offer any insight.

Yet today, here is what I was told;

“Continue to do well, and the rewards will be plentiful”.

I’m not sure what that means?!?  Well, I do know what that means, but I’ve never really had the opportunity to work for an organization that values employees and wants to do what is best for them and best for business.

Since I plan on continuing to do well… We’ll see what that meant, if anything.

Life in the Private Sector after 11 Years in the Public Sector: I love my job!


It has been almost 2 months since I got up from my desk at the government after almost 11-years of working there, walked out and took a role in the private sector.  Many of my former colleagues still do not know I have left, and some probably think I am on vacation.  I spent a lot of time in that role getting to know the staff in the building and I’m proud to say that I know the names of, and a fact about, almost every one of the 1100 employees there, but it was time to move on.

So how am I doing in the scary private sector?  I love it!  I love my job and the people that I work with and who work for me.  And no matter how weird it feels to think or even say that, I really do.  I like the responsibility – I manage 8 people now (I hired one and have interviewed 3 others for 2 more vacancies) and I like the corporate talk that goes on at the Managerial level – something I had little access to at the huge government.  I currently don’t have any team leaders to look after – I manage my staff directly – but if I get my way that will be changing soon because my department is critical to the success of the organization and I fully expect it to grow!

I like being able to work from home if need be, and that if I have to work late that I am able to and for as long as I want.  I like working between offices in the city and up in the burbs and I’m really fond of being able to display my MBA designation after my name and title on my business cards and not feel embarrassed to have it.  It just fits for me.

As is customary when leaving a public service job, I have applied for and was granted a leave from my position, which means if I wanted to go back there I could for up to a year unless my leave changed (ie/ paternity, disability, etc.)  But I am never going back, I know that now, which means I am so looking forward to doing something so out of character for me that I’m almost giddy at the thought. I am going to withdraw from a team leader pool at my former job.  The same place that I begged them to let me work at that level – with or without pay, on a project or not, in any division… anything to keep me from being bored and to learn.  The place where I thought I would be able to use my MBA to get a team leader position, which never happened because they don’t recognize MBA’s.

But now I’m going to withdraw after completing almost all of the requirements.  It’s basically at the interview stage.  I smile every time I think about the look of the face of the hiring manager as he reads it.  <giggle>

I’m just happy to have gotten out and now I can turn my brain back on and work my ass off to support my family who have supported me while I was on the government payroll.

In other news, my Wii tells me that I have gained 2.8lbs in the last week.  Damn Halloween.  I realized that I eat too much, of the bad stuff, at bad times.  I always seem to be hungry late at night and instead of going to bed earlier, I got in the habit of being up late to do work from graduate school, so I stay up and then I eat,  Of course, eating makes me feel guilty and that stress makes me eat more.  Dumb, eh?  I actually went for a run tonight (Sunday night) and I lasted 30 minutes.  The main problem I had – besides being tired – was that my track pants kept falling down and every few minutes I’d have to yank them up.  I must have looked hilarous.  I really need proper running clothes including equipment to be seen at night so I don’t get run over!

Did I mention that every morning Stewie freaks out when he looks at the control panel for the house alarm – on our bedroom wall?  He calls for me and asks; “Daddy, turn the red light off please.”  So while watching me, punch in the code, he waits for the red light to turn green before he says, “thank you!” with a sigh of relief in his voice.  If I don’t get to it soon after he arrives in our room in the morning, he’ll just keep asking for me it turn it off.  LOL.  He’s crazy.

 

Ouch…


I don’t normally like to write about my feelings in my blog, it’s not for that. I remember how I feel at certain points in my life and don’t need to write it here to remember it. Today, however, is a little different.

You see today I had an opportunity to – as I was promised – to be a part of an exclusive party at my in-laws cottage which would have in attendance several senior employees of a company that I would not be adverse to working at. It has been my intention, now 2 courses and three months from completing my MBA, to seek employment that I would find challenging and which would provide me an opportunity to advance my career. While not the most ideal fit for me, this company is in the top 3.

So over the past few weeks, I was advised to get my resume (or CV) together and find some positions in this company that would be a good fit, and that the people at this party would be able to get me a job in their firm… I could be one of them and not in the government where I am VERY unhappy. So I worked really hard on my resume, found a few really awesome jobs that I would really enjoy, dressed up nice and came prepared to shmooze my way to a long awaited career change.

What happened today was very disappointing for me – and really it was my fault for expecting, believing, that something was going to happen.

There is a LOT to be said about the expression, No expectations, no disappointments… I had expectations and boy was I disappointed.

Turns out my father-in-law had invited 2 guys he met at Starbucks – one of which was selling flowers 2 months ago – to this day at the cottage as he had helped them develop a product which they came to pitch to this company today. My FIL was very proud of these boys and they were thrilled to have this opportunity. It was all very surreal to me because I’ve been in the family for 8 years now and my FIL and I have had an OK relationship, but never a great one. He treats us great, but individually I never got the feel that he really respected me. We have only ever hung out once, and I don’t feel like he really ever took me seriously, and why should he? I married his only daughter, gave him two beautiful grandchildren and really don’t cause any problems in the family. I don’t get it.

I mean that. I don’t get it. On a day when I expected to be able to discuss career opportunities, I did not even get that far. His two Starbucks proteges were the talk of the day, to the extent that I might not have even existed.

I did get asked one question from one of the VP’s about what I was doing now which I partially anwered before I’m sure he became bored of hearing me talk and turned to have another conversation.
This day was NOT for me. I gave my resume to one of his colleagues and she left in on the cabinet by the door and when he left, not even a good-bye.

I guess, as UrbanMummy speculated, the people from this company were there to have a good time and maybe a small pitch on the side would have been okay, but after this big sell for the two boys, trying to force me in there too was too much for the VP to take, so he let it be… and so shall I.

Today was a waste of a day for me, emotionally, I put a lot of hope into this day and it turned out to be a big zero! The rest of the day was fun – good food, my kids had fun, UM made an awesome show of herself asking great questions and with he knowledge of relevant information (asking GREAT questions). But for me. Pfffffft.

Back to the drawing board.

I’ll have to remind myself every morning. No expectations… No disappointments.