Here we go again – acquiring toilet paper and Canadian Onboardings Just Got Harder. Change is the constant.

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Once upon a pre-COVID time … a good destination service provided assignees to Canada (or any country) with an efficient and predictable onboarding experience.

Well, with the rising numbers in most Canadian provinces, predictability has been thrown out the window.  As the rising COVID-19 numbers have us grabbing for bulk toilet paper again, they are also impacting how services are delivered.  We, as professionals, will guide your assignees through the morass, but we cannot make the coming months more predictable.

Things are also changing rapidly. We are in constant contact with various provincial agencies, and we expect their rules to change rapidly, so we will update accordingly.

Hey – there is one constant. It goes without saying that most jurisdictions now have mandatory mask mandates.  Prepare your employees before they arrive.

We also hope that the ArriveCan App is something that is a future constant, but we have written about this before, and are still recommending that people come with full self-isolation plans.

Government offices

At the time of writing, government agencies are responding to the rising numbers by reducing contact.  Offices are starting to shut, giving assignees fewer options in order to obtain provincial health insurance or a new driver’s license. While it is not a perfect rule, more and more provincial government services are requiring appointments to be made, or they will not see you. Showing up and lining up is becoming less and less an option.

What does this mean for companies?

Companies need to give their employees freedom in their scheduling for the first few weeks. Once again, before COVID, the assignee could call the shots on the timing of getting their provincial health insurance and driver’s license.  “I can take next Tuesday off, so let’s do that.” Well, this option is disappearing before our eyes. The government now tells us it is next Thursday at 10:00. Give your employees greater freedom in their work-life for the first few weeks of their onboarding.

Driving is a…mess

So, as a 101 on destination services and obtaining driver’s licenses, there are many nationalities (depending on province) that must take road tests in order to obtain a new provincial license.  At the same time, they are (depending on province) able to drive on their old country license for between 60-90 days.  After that they may be driving illegally.  However, we are finding that road tests are now being booked between 3 – 4 months down the road. This means that most assignees who need to take a road test will be driving illegally for some period of time. We have asked the various provincial agencies whether there is forgiveness for assignees driving on their old country license, given the circumstances, and the answer is no.  So, what are assignees in this situation to do? There is no satisfactory answer.  That is the situation we are in.

Home Showings are changing across the country

As the numbers rise, landlords’ and Realtors’ tolerance for showing properties in person is starting to wane.  We are now going back to the days of virtual showings. It is not a perfect rule across the country, but we are starting to see it expand and expect it to continue to do so.

Speed of change

The speed of change is increasing at government offices, in different provinces and in property showings.  We are being asked by some clients about what can we expect about their assignees’ landings in a few weeks, and the honest answer is that we can only answer for today. Things are changing rapidly and we do not know what things will look like on December 5.

As they used to say, “Watch this space.” Because we know things are going to change again.

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