Machinist with just shy of 8 years experience looking to relocate to Canada.
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  1. #1
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    Default Machinist with just shy of 8 years experience looking to relocate to Canada.

    Preferably Alberta or British Columbia, Canada.
    I started machining in July 2007, undergoing on-the-job training and completing a course called ToolingU that was a decent starter course for the beginning machinist; tooling and work piece material, programming, speeds and feeds and GD&T.

    At my first shop I ran a few manual Bullard VTL's, manual Warner and Swasey turret lathes, CNC Warner and Swasey SC-20, SC-25 and SC-32 lathes, and a Toshulin SKIQ-12, a CNC VTL with live tooling. Line by line programming with Fanuc and Allen/Bradley controls.

    Approximately 4.5 years later I received a job offer with a significant raise so I went for it and ran a Mazak HMC along with a Mazak HTL. Mazatrol 640 controls. After about one year on the job the mining industry tanked and took most of the jobs at this company (including mine) with it.

    After a short period of unemployment I found a local shop that employs machinists in a maintenance capacity using manual lathes, mills, grinders and presses along with a few CNC machines. We are brought broken or worn out components and are responsible for tearing them down, machining new parts and re-assembling said components.

    Machines I currently set up, maintain and run:
    Mitts & Merrill hydraulic key seater
    Various radial drills
    Bridgeport knee mills
    Monarch engine lathes from the '30's and '40's
    Bullard VTL from 1917 (yep)
    Warner and Swasey turret lathes
    LeBlond engine lathes
    Various hydraulic presses
    G $ L HBM
    G & E gear hob
    Thompson surface grinder
    Norton OD/ID grinder
    Mori Seiki SL-35 CNC lathe (Moric T-5F control)
    Fadal 4020 VMC (CNC 32MP control)



    I'm hoping someone in the above desired areas may be looking for someone with my skill set. I am a hard-working, married father of two who is looking to provide a safer, happier, healthier, better educated life for my children than they may be able to attain here in the U.S.
    Cheers,
    Jed

    Email:
    Jedediah(the number eighty)(at)Yahoo.com

  2. #2
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    Good luck Jed, I wish you well. I admire any guy who wants the best for his kids. Keep the faith guys like you don't have trouble finding work.

    Ron

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    Thank you for the kind words.

  4. #4
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    Hi Jed,

    Sounds like you're someone who learns quick and can be tasked with any job. That's a great asset. You're also stable, family oriented and young- some of the older hiring managers will like the "young buck" scenario. Younger ones, it won't make any difference.

    I spent the second week of May in Alberta- Edmonton, Athabasca and Ft. McMurray. There seems to be sweet FA going on in any of those place right now, unless you're in road construction and work weekends in Edmonton. General labourers and heavy equipment operators have little work right now, and considering it's summer that's a scary reflection of the state of the industry. There are many auctions coming up for shops in Edmonton and north of, who are jettisoning surplus machinery to get through the trough of the waveform. But that's just it- it's cyclical and will pick up. Just not ideal at the moment.

    I haven't a clue as to how BC is faring, hopefully local members will chime in.

    The US has some fantastic universities. Don't buy into the Canadian post-secondary industry's mantra of "we're the best". Every university is the best. And every school here is "Canada's top university" or some variation thereof. Tuition for citizens is ridiculous, and tuition for international students is ludicrous (twice that of citizens). The only place is seems to be a bargain is Quebec- but their students fight for change with a gusto that's not apparent in the student bodies of any other province. Anyway, to your point it's sufficient to say there are quality schools in both the US and Canada.

    Good luck, really all you need is to pick the right venue.

  5. #5
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    Thank you for the reality check. Things here have been rough and I guess I fell into the "grass is greener on the other side" trap. My main motivators have been the endless medical bills (on top of the $90 per week I pay for "insurance" that doesn't cover much, it's been averaging $800-$1,200 per month) we've been receiving and the reality that they will never stop and that they will siphon away money that, 10-15 years from now, should be used to help my kids with their college expenses. Couple that with the fact that I broke my foot a few months back and separated my right shoulder but can't afford to take time off to get it fixed, let alone the cost of the procedure, since it seems that specialists are never "in network". So I just limp for a bit once in a while and try not to lift heavy stuff with my right arm.

    It's pretty sad when I make $27 per hour, drive an old car, have no hobbies and live in a modest home but can already see that my kids will be on their own for college which, I'll bet you may have guessed, I was never able to afford. I was hoping to break that cycle.

  6. #6
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    It's pretty sad when folks are wanting to bail from the US to find something better. It was bound to happen...and will likely increase over the next decade. Jed, I understand where you are coming from.
    I can't say if Canada is better, I have been there, but never lived there. My Opinion based on what info I have is that they have different problems than we do, like many countries. At the end of the day better or worse is a highly opinionated state, but surely different. For example, I have known folks from countries with government run / paid healthcare. They said it sounded great at first but 10 years later it would take forever to get in to see a doctor. And "optional" things like knee or hip replacements... Didn't happen. I don't know about Canada, just bringing it up. (We are headed there too... But will probably be total collapse about the same time, so we will have other things to worry about too)
    What I will say, is that you have a pretty diverse résumé for a relatively short career. That will be a huge asset whatever you choose to do.
    Good luck. Think things thru, don't just jump.

  7. #7
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    Thanks.
    I apologize for my ranty, whiny post. I think maybe the reality of what the next several years are going to entail finally set in and I became angry and disillusioned with the state of things.

    That and I read the local paper daily during my lunch break and it's nothing but bad news for people of my (our) caste, particularly in Illinois. That led to the motivation to move out of the state and communicating with some friends across the border to the north rooted the idea of emigration into my head.

    I figured since I was already planning to move, why not go the whole hog?
    We'll see. I'm most likely stuck, the immigration application isn't looking too promising.

    But again, thank you for the advice and information.

  8. #8
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    You might try the government websites to figure out how to move properly. Work in Canada
    If you " wetback" as some people do you essentially would be banned when caught.
    Yes the economic engine that has been driving western Canada has slowed down but people forget that there is more oil up there than Saudi Arabia. It will slow but not come to a dead stop.
    I would send out resumes and see what you get. Alberta/Saskatchewan is really the only place that is pro-industry. BC has been shut down since they went after logging and it only got worse with every NIMBY standing up and stopping progress. If you can get an employer to guarantee that he will hire you and he has not found any locals that will help.
    We had a foreign workers program that was a fiasco and the federal government has had to back track because employers were abusing the system and exploiting the people they brought in.
    Prior to the changes the only way you could come in was if you had university education. What it did was bring in doctors with foreign qualifications who ended up working as janitors. It worked on a point system and finally they realized that they needed tradesmen so the system has been changed.
    If your family has serious chronic medical conditions it is likely your application will be blocked. There was a family that was refused who had a deaf child. It made the news a few months ago.
    We have the about a tenth of your population. With the breakup of the Soviet Union we are the largest country but keep in mind something like 90% of the people live within 100 miles of the 49th parallel. I would expect that you would have good luck finding work in Alberta, likely Edmonton area. Some people cannot take the winters so you have to expect cold times and adapt.

  9. #9
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    Jed
    Have you ever thought about some of these off shore jobs ? Traveling around the country/world and working at a place on contract for a period of time. I guess they pay pretty good and it might work for a young guy with a family. I know you are looking for the right place for your kids but any place you go has it's own problems. If you were to do this for a few years or longer if it worked out you may be able to bank some cash and then settle into a place you feel is good for your family once you are on good ground.
    Yes you will be away from them for long periods of time but can maybe go home on a long weekend at times, you can communicate many ways today. Email, cell phone, skipe.
    I had started my first company right before I got married.The company took off and i was working seven days a week. Our first child came along two years later a BOY !!! followed by my two precious girls over the next four. Again I was working seven days a week and often not home before late at night and missed a lot of the early years. I was making good money and my wife was able to stay home and raise them right. I can't say enough about the job she did and continues to do into early adulthood, she's a mom, a super mom.

    I missed a lot and sometimes it bugs me to think about it but that's the sacrifice paid for bringing up good kids and it has paid off big time.

    Good luck keep us posted

  10. #10
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    @ Hobbyman:

    Definitely not looking to immigrate illegally. I'm currently in the process of working on immigration and citizenship applications.
    It irks me a bit that Machinist is not a "skilled trade" to those who make the decisions. They see machinist and think "operator".
    The wife has Trigeminal Neuralgia and we're in the process confirming or eliminating the possibility that my son has Juvenile Arthritis.
    Regarding the winters, both the wife and I own Subarus.
    Thanks for the advice.

  11. #11
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    @ Overflow Machine:

    Good to hear about the wife and kids!
    I appreciate the thought but, traveling for work isn't an option for me (us). As it is my schedule splits us up quite a bit. The past few weeks I've worked: 3rd shift, 3rd shift, 1st shift, 3rd shift, 2nd shift and, despite being at the job for nearly two years, I'm the bottom guy so I can be held over for a 16 hour shift with no notice.

    Lots of motivation to try to improve our situation.

  12. #12
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    Jed: don't let anyone up here tell you that 'machinist" is not a trade. It is "Red Seal" qualification. We have standards for all trades and the Red Seal is the inter provincial qualification people apply for after completion of an apprenticeship.
    If you do not have papers all you have to do is provide documented proof that you have worked in the trade for five years or approximately 10,000 hours. You then do a challenge test which may or may not have a practical component depending on the trade. Once you have your Red Seal you are a valuable commodity. I found that my Red Seal had more clout than a university degree when it comes to getting a job.
    Red Seal Home / Red Seal

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  14. #13
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    Thank you, hobbyman!

  15. #14
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    Update:
    I've been working doubles and paying down the medical debt. Thanks to the overtime, I have enough of a cushion built up to have corrective surgery, which is very likely to be needed. I'm finally seeing a joint specialist on the 23rd.

  16. #15
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    "Another Update:
    This past April I transferred to the Rod Mill department of the same company. I am now responsible for turning the large nodular iron and carbide rolls and grinding the smaller carbide rolls, along with putting together the roll groups for a "line up" to produce a coil of rolled steel rod anywhere from .219" to .750" in diameter.
    Slightly more money and a much better yet still demanding schedule. Also the medical bills have been eradicated and a very large cushion has been built up, yet I'm still in Illinois. I guess I can't complain too much.

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  18. #16
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    BC: you will never make more than 27 an hour as a machinist. that's in canadian dollars, in the BC/Vancouver job pool with the associated cost of living. it is also a very crowded job pool there and I don't see it ever growing past what it was ten years ago. I wouldn't recommend it.

    Alberta: currently in a recession, lots of shops are selling their machine tools and getting out of the business. machine tool sales are down across the board in western Canada. getting any kind of work in Alberta is quite difficult now.

    Sask: currently seeing lots of layoffs due to resource slowdown, definitely no growth in machining.


    Canada wide: I see very little growth in machining across the board. Machinists are not people who other Fab/manufacturing shops like to hire (because they think they are worth more than a less talented operator), so I feel more than ever, it's a dying trade with a tight future here. Automation and engineering positions are on the rise, journeyman machinist wages are in decline. It is worthwhile to have been a machinist in the past, to be one currently, not good here.

  19. #17
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    Well done !

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jed View Post
    "Another Update:
    This past April I transferred to the Rod Mill department of the same company. I am now responsible for turning the large nodular iron and carbide rolls and grinding the smaller carbide rolls, along with putting together the roll groups for a "line up" to produce a coil of rolled steel rod anywhere from .219" to .750" in diameter.
    Slightly more money and a much better yet still demanding schedule. Also the medical bills have been eradicated and a very large cushion has been built up, yet I'm still in Illinois. I guess I can't complain too much.

  20. Likes The_Jed liked this post
  21. #18
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    I appreciate your honesty. It looks like I'm going to stay here in Illinois, with the same company. Better the devil you know, I suppose.

    Honestly my situation has improved drastically and our standard of living is better than it has ever been in the past.

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