UPDATE: This article was written in 2015. If you’re looking for resources during the coronavirus pandemic, please visit the federal government website at canada.ca for the most up-to-date information.
To say Alberta has hit a rough patch would be an understatement. Group layoffs have surpassed 18,000 people, flooding Service Canada with a record number of EI claimants.
The province's pawn shops are lined with luxury goods, too.
Unfortunately for the oil and gas industry, it's going to get worse before it gets better.
Losing a job is hard, not just on your bank account, but on self-esteem as well. It's important to be prepared in case the worst happens, so you can bounce back as quickly as possible.
If you've just been given notice, here are some of the first things you should do.
1. Apply for EI
A record number of Albertans — 58,000 as of September — are receiving employment insurance benefits, which, among other reasons, has led to a backlog. To make sure your claim gets through, apply immediately after receiving notice.
2. Get your record of employment
For your claim to be accepted, you'll need to make sure your employer has submitted your record of employment (ROE). Your boss is required by law to submit it within five days of paying you for the last time.
You'll need an ROE from every employer you've worked for in the last year. While you can submit your claim without an ROE, it can't be processed until that paperwork is submitted.
3. Look into severance pay
If your employer doesn't give you enough notice before you're let go, they're required to pay out severance.
For example, if you worked for a company for over 10 years in Alberta, your employer owes you eight weeks of severance pay — the exact amounts vary from province to province. You're also owed any banked overtime, holiday or vacation pay.
If your employer offers you severance, you don't have to accept it immediately. It's fully within your rights to negotiate for added benefits or supports.
4. Update your resume and gather references
If you left on good terms with your previous employer, definitely ask if they would be willing to provide you with a reference. This is also a great time to update your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile.
5. Sort out your student loans
If you have student loans, you can apply for repayment assistance. The federal government will either reduce or freeze your payments depending on your financial situation. That's one less bill to worry about.
6. Revise your budget
7. Get back out there
Much like a bad break-up, the worst thing you can do after getting laid off is to hide away in your house, feeling sorry for yourself. Dust off your best interview outfit, and put yourself back on the job market.
Handing out resumes is fine, but try to think of more creative ways to promote yourself. Networking events, Twitter meet-ups or even free lectures are all great opportunities to mingle with like-minded people.
You never know what opportunities you can find!
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