Oh Canada, are we falling apart at the seams?

Tink’s Treasures: During a visit, when Tink was a toddler, she was playing quietly in the spare bedroom. Quietly and with great concentration, she removed these pieces of wallpaper that had been decoratively glued on at intervals. A very neat job!
TinkTreasure

First let me say that I have a lot in common with young people who are working multiple jobs, trying to pay their bills. I have little in common with people my own age who are still working in jobs that provide a living wage, or have retired with pensions that make my income look like “spending money”, as an affluent person once called it. The difference between myself and young people working multiple jobs is, I have no hope of finding a job in my field in the future; I don’t have that kind of time left. Young people do; and if they keep working and gaining experience it could pay off in the long term, when an upswing in the economy comes along.

It isn’t just young people who are overwhelmed by multiple jobs, seniors are just as vulnerable to the stresses of working a few hours here and a few hours there to pay the bills. And of course, seniors have their own unique challenges; they have a lot less stamina, and often have a lot more health issues to juggle with work, than young people. And very few seniors can move back in with their parents to carry them through tough times; there are very few threads left on a senior’s safety net.

But it isn’t easy for anyone who has to juggle multiple jobs, or deal with unemployment, underemployment, or inadequate opportunities to work.

I have been dealing with a few issues the past few months, concerning multiple workplaces that make up their own rules and ignore labour laws or manipulate collective agreements.

I have been filling in form after form, making call after call after call, all on my own time, all to ensure that what is supposed to be a legislated basic right in the workplace is actually respected. And these aren’t nitpicking details I am talking about, they are basic things, like keeping appointed hours of work and being paid for hours worked. The jobs I have ended up with, in this depressed economic area (don’t let the affluent visitors distract from the reality of actually having to make a living here), have been fraught with issues that by rights shouldn’t even come up, let alone be something one has to pursue personally.

I plug along, making a little progress here and a little progress there. It is always in my face, day after day after day, that the onus is on me to defend my rights, against what are in my opinion profiteers, that unless I take a great deal of time to follow up on these issues, my rights will be ignored.

Just one little example, one company I worked for last year claimed to have paid me wages that they did not pay me; now I have to pay income tax on wages I did not receive due to the official and incorrect T4 slip they prepared for the government. I have a few options to deal with this, but the onus is on me to provide proof and fill in all the forms and keep on top of it all. And this is just one of the issues with this company, who seem to take every opportunity to increase their profit in such ways, and all of the issues end up taking up a lot of my time, and none of theirs. I worked for two companies last year, and four the year before that, so I have usually have a lot on my plate.

When you have to work for multiple companies, many of whom are indulging in similar sorts of behaviour, life seems pretty grim, and one’s faith in society is greatly strained. I shudder to think the effect this kind of social idiocy has on young people who are just coming into the world as adults. Oh Canada, are we falling apart at the seams?

I am wearing out. And all this for wages that would not support a single person. Which, I suppose is the ultimate goal of the these companies, with multitudes of part time employees it is a lot easier to divide and conquer. The government who legislates my rights… well, they have mentioned to me that the number of people in similar situations to mine is substantial, and that the backlog is substantial.

Not every workplace in this area is so ugly. The little shop, where I worked at for a while, paid low wages, but did not indulge in these kinds of activities to squeeze profits out of the workers. Attila works in a respectable workplace, a place where hard work is appreciated and respected. Although respectable workplaces exist here, they are not common.

Well, that is the ugly part of life at the moment. I have a few more forms to fill in today, same as I have had every day for the last few weeks.

Writing about these employers is not going to improve the situation or how I feel about it. I guess I write about it so that if my Great Great Grandchildren are curious about what life was like in the olden days, the picture I paint will bear some resemblance to the reality I am living. It isn’t all good and it isn’t all bad, and neither good nor bad are being ignored.

Carrying on with the better things in life, today I am going to begin dehydrating more green peppers. Mist is going sleep her day away. Attila is working, but it is warmer now, just below freezing, so it isn’t as cold as it has been through the end of January till now.

And me, I am going to work on my genealogy, burn a few more books, write a few resumes, and eat a good lunch. I am looking forward to that good lunch!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-2 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -1.8°C
Dewpoint: -6.3°C
Humidity: 72 %
Wind: SW 13 km/h

Quote

“It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.”
W. Somerset Maugham
1874 – 1965

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2 Responses to Oh Canada, are we falling apart at the seams?

  1. Bex says:

    When it came time for me to retire, I had already been whittled down to half-time for about a year. Then our company closed. I was truly retired and at a younger age than recommended – 62. But it was possible to do. I thank my stars that I found Paul when I did back in ’85 when I was a very poor working single woman unable to continue the way I was going, even working full time. He saved me. He had saved his money all his life and he pulled me up out of my deep well of poverty. We are not rich or even close to being middle-income, a retired typist and a lobsterman is what we are, neither of which make big bucks. But he saved and he got me to save in the years we’ve been married and now, with social security kicking in for us both, I think we’ll be ok…not well-off but able to live. That’s all we ask anyway.

    But if he hadn’t come along on his white horse, I can’t even imagine the depths at which I would have had to live my life. It’s very scary. So much has changed regarding employment. I am so glad to be out of the working field now, I don’t know how people manage. I wish you the best in your endeavors to make it in this crazy mixed up world.

  2. Maggie says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience Bex, and I am very glad to hear that you and Paul will be OK. Very glad.

    It is a crazy mixed up world indeed!

    I like to think of myself, and many, many other’s, as falling into the “helpers” category; doing what we can when we can, taking every opportunity to be kind, compassionate, and to treat other’s with dignity and respect. I think being a “helper” is achieved by taking up these opportunities when they arise and flow naturally into our lives. The opportunities do come and go, one has to be aware of them to take advantage. I keep my eyes open.

    “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
    Fred Rogers