Effects of the Recession in Canada and How To Survive It

Surviving Yet Another Lay-Off

We knew the call would be coming. We were edgy and worried and every ring of the telephone had us biting our nails and crossing our fingers. Lay-offs were happening everywhere and there was no such thing as immunity. The recession had its fingers wrapped around almost every facet of the economy and the trickle-down effects were being felt everywhere.

Whats more, is that my husbands grip on his position was more slippery than ever because, realistically speaking, why would a company want to pay an employee guaranteed on-call pay for working only one shift a week? We knew we wouldn’t be escaping the next round of lay-offs, and just as we put a voice to our fears…the phone rang.

'Temporarily laid-off. Indefinitely let go. We may call you tomorrow, or it may be next month. Sorry, we can’t tell you more than that.'

And just like that, my husband and I were plunged into the same position we have been trying to escape for the last 7 years. The recession may have just been brought to our attention recently and felt most poignantly as of late, but if you ask me, it has been slowly building over the last 7 years.

For example, here in Canada, the lumber industry has been dying a slow death. When my husband began his career as a sawfiler back in the late 90’s, things were good. New mills were popping up everywhere and there was no shortage of jobs for him. He was being wooed by huge companies; Bowater, Abitibi, Domtar and the likes were competing to get him to their mills. But suddenly in 2003, things started to change. There were talks of layoffs, and sure enough, a little pink slip arrived in the mail and we were out of a job. Not good news to a family who had just had their second child one month before.

But not to be discouraged, we made a move to the city where a bigger company wanted my husband. We were far from family, but we did what we had to do. However, one year later, more pink slips arrived in the mail. The brand new mill was closing its doors and that was it. So off we went again in search of new work and decided to move to Quebec to be near my husbands family.

The work was substantial in Quebec. We were not worried at that time, but it didn’t take long before rumours started circulating. And just like that, once again, mills started closing their doors. It was devastating. And whats more, baby number 3 was well on his way.

Finally realizing that the lumber industry was no longer a viable industry to work in, my husband and I started thinking of other careers. So with a lot of effort, a lot of work and a very large amount of perseverance, my husband entered the transport industry.

We were excited. It was a whole new direction, a brand new door was opening and we were not afraid to walk through it. There were many benefits to working for this company and we believed that we were set…but then came the Fall of 2008.

I know I don’t really have to tell you what happened. Everyone knows. Layoffs, massive layoffs, indefinite layoffs. And my husband was one of them. It lasted 3 months, but that was long enough. When he finally started working again, we thought, this HAS to be it. Please let this uncertainty be over with. We need to be stable finally.

Guess what? One week ago, he was let go of again.

Are you all feeling a little doom and gloom yet? Well, that is not my intention, so please read on.

What I really want you all to feel is that you’re not alone in all this. No matter how isolated you think your case may be, believe me, there are thousands going through the same thing. Don’t let a rut drag you through the mud, and even if it does, pick yourself up, wipe yourself off and start again. Find something different. Possibly, that 'something different' may be affected by the Recession as well, just like what happened to us, but don’t let it stop you.

I remember watching an Oprah show with people who had lost their jobs, and were close to losing everything they had due to the Recession. What really stood out in my mind though, was the complete lack of hope those people had. They were depressed and sad and felt like losers (in their own words) because they had been let go. Instead of realizing that a sixth of the country was dealing with the same thing and that it really was nothing personal and getting on with the business of living, they were wallowing in despair. I guess its an easy thing to let yourself fall into, but seriously unproductive.

Now I realize that my husband and I may be looking at some tough times ahead. We have been there before though and we are sure we will weather them well. After all, we have learned how to be resourceful, frugal, and we are hard workers. If we need to buy clothes at rummage sales, so be it. We can usually find some pretty great stuff at those. If we have to give up TV for a while, oh well, summer is coming and there’s nothing on anyway. And if we have to sell the house because we can’t keep up with the payments, then thats what we will do because material can be replaced, but there is no way to put a dollar amount on health, happiness and hard work.

We are surviving another layoff. It’s worrisome. I won’t lie and tell you that we don’t worry about money. We do, but worrying and doing nothing about that worry gets us nowhere. So to get somewhere, we are working hard and trying to keep a positive outlook.

Good luck to all of you out there who are doing the same

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Comments 5 comments

mom/dad 7 years ago

Thanks for the encouraging words in this story. Anyone who is struggling in the employment area will find this makes them feel a little better - that they aren't alone. A real help, Meg.

Love, Mom


Stacie L profile image

Stacie L 7 years ago

This is encouraging,thanks


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

thanks for the Canadian prepective encouragement.


Regan 6 years ago

I can really relate to this, I was laid off at 7 months pregnant in September 2009 because of the recession. Luckily my husband (web developer / programmer) didn't get hit. I am a graphic designer that was in the print industry. My goal is to take my skills, and get into web design instead, since that's where everything is going. Having a goal in mind, ideas, is what helps me get through this. Gives me something to work towards. I am also enjoying this precious time home with my son, while he's still small, and thinks I'm god.


Mom 5 years ago

By the way Meg, I need you to buy milk when you're back.

Love, Mom

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