My letter to the minister in charge of immigration:
We are British postdoctoral researchers working at the great lakes forestry centre in Sault Ste. Marie. I am writing this e-mail in complaint, and although we are not eligible to vote I hope you will still take notice of this e-mail. A number of my colleagues who are eligible to vote recommended I contact you as they are as outraged as I am.
As post-doctoral researchers the nature of our employment is short term contracts with review periods (generally a formality) at the end of each year. However, the system for temporary work permits in this country requires us to apply for a work permit renewal after this review. Therefore, we have to apply yearly for a renewal at a cost of $150 each. In order for the renewal to be processed we had to have our application in 1 month prior to the expiry of our work permit. This meant that we had to pressure our employers (University of Guelph and University of Algoma) to review our employment early. Even so, because of delays by our employers, the earliest we were able to send our application for renewal back was 3 weeks before the expiry of our work permit.
Our work permit has now expired, but we are told that the processing centre is processing applications received on July the 9th! This means it will be 3 months before anyone takes a look at our application. In the mean time we are able to continue to work as we have "implied status", however we cannot renew our social insurance number, nor our OHIP. The OHIP problem is of particular concern, we will be without OHIP for at least 3 months! We shall try not to have any accidents or to get sick. I bet my salary is still debited for the cost of OHIP though.
This situation is all the more farcical because, as post-docs, we are exempt from certain immigration rules (exemption code C44 I think) and so there is much less paperwork to be done. When we first applied for a work permit at the Canadian embassy in London, UK we were told that postdoc applications were dealt with separately as there was so much less work involved, however it seems when renewals are processed in Canada the postdoc applications just sit in the same pile as the much more complicated applications. As such 3 weeks after our applications were sent they haven't even made it onto the computer system yet.
Anyway, those are my thoughts, rant over.
Dr David Woodward