Windsor wasteland

Calgary condo crash = buyer swag

About as close as you’ll get in Canada to a Rust Belt city in the early stages of an economic depression is Windsor. Like most of southern Ontario, it has been hit hard by the collapse in the automotive sector, and local real estate is showing the strain – not from any subprime mortgage folly, but simple because housing is beyond the means of a stressed population of potential buyers. Following is a story from the Windsor Star, showing that even the MSM is starting to understand we may be sitting on the brink of the greatest destruction in personal wealth in national history. — Garth

Sellers take beating in rough housing market

Jayne and Patrick Rhoads had finally found the one.

A two-storey beige brick and vinyl house lured the Tecumseh couple in with its quiet tree-lined suburban street, kidney-shaped pool, and spacious rooms for their growing brood.

“We just knew this was where we wanted to raise our kids forever,” said Jayne, sitting in her St. Gregory’s Street home with her three young sons earlier this week. “It was perfect.”

Yet, less than five years after the Rhoads found their dream home, it’s up for sale.

With the local automotive industry tanking in the last few years Patrick began to realize his job as a pipefitter at Chrysler had no future.

So, like many other Windsorites, he went looking for a new start and brighter future in Western Canada.

Last November Patrick took a buyout package. He easily found a much higher-paying job as a project manager for the oilsands in Calgary.

These days Patrick, 39, gets to see his family about once a month. Meanwhile Jayne, a 34-year-old dental hygienist on maternity leave, is home alone caring for her three rambunctious sons: Kameron, 9, Aidan, 7, and Ryan, 14 months.

With Windsor’s unemployment rate at 8.3 per cent in June the Rhoads are not the only ones looking for a fresh start elsewhere.

“Windsor’s economy has been hit with a perfect storm targeting its key tourism and automotive industries,” according to the summer 2008 metropolitan outlook report released by the Conference Board of Canada. “A soft economy has prompted a resident exodus, slicing the (Windsor) CMA’s population by 0.1 per cent in 2007 after a flat 2006.”

Article continues here.


#1 pbrasseur on 08.03.08 at 12:15 pm

A healthy economy is not static, in fact it is just the opposit, a healthy economy is constantly renewing itselt. As tressful and painful as it may be it is a good thing. Old and/or inefficient industries give place to new ones. Obviously regions where these declining industries are situated will suffer more at least momentarely. The auto industry is one of those industries (it makes no more economical sense to build cars in Canada) and Windsor is one of thoses regions.

#2 3rdman on 08.03.08 at 12:55 pm

Well at least they’ve got it halve right by renting out west…

They should just let Winsor go at a loss – there’s nothing else they can do.

Mr saw the writing on the wall with the Chrysler job but does Mrs see it with the old beige- brick dream home?

#3 Jo on 08.03.08 at 7:09 pm

UK market has now experienced largest drop since early ’90s:

Prices predicted to fall by 27% by end 2009. But it couldn’t happen here could it? Interesting that the only “glimmer of hope” is that mortgage rates could lower to allow more buyers in. Of course, they couldn’t get any lower here so where will Canada’s glimmer of hope come from?

#4 islander on 08.03.08 at 7:27 pm

They deserve to starve for misspelling Cameron.

#5 JC on 08.03.08 at 8:36 pm

A sad story, depicting the price ordinary Windsorians and Ontarians and Canadians at large will continue to pay for legislated union greed, high taxes, absurd spools of regulatory red tape, and a generally Keynsian approach to life that says greed is good, and socialism is for the rich.

And this gem, from the article, is typical of the type of thinking that will finish Windsor: “The refurbished casino and a few upcoming construction projects, such as a new Detroit River crossing, are expected to boost Windsor’s economic growth in the coming years.” Right.

The final, sad forecast for the Rhoads family is, the oil and commodities bubble has already begun a deflation, so employment in the oil patch may not be terribly viable…

#6 Brent on 08.03.08 at 9:15 pm

How did he go from a job on an auto assembly line in Windsor to a Project Manager sjob in the oil sands?

#7 Brent on 08.03.08 at 9:17 pm

I’m in telecom and there’s not a job to be had in all of Canada.

#8 calgary on 08.03.08 at 11:45 pm


It’s just more folklore of the Wild West… I always thought the Oil Sands was in Northern Alberta… like Fort Mac.

#9 Calgary rip off on 08.04.08 at 12:17 am


Nice take on the idiot article written today in the Herald. The title should have read: “Panicking builders S.O.L. as realization sets in that no buyers exist for overpriced holes in the wall”. As usual the same old drivel about how the economy is booming is propogated.

It would be nice if you wrote the articles on real estate in the Herald. In fact, I emailed one of the last joke articles and told them that you should be writing all the editorials on upcoming real estate trends, not Mario T. or others in the Herald that have hidden motives for spreading delusion in Calgary.

Thanks for your blog.

#10 mike on 08.04.08 at 7:31 am

Sad commentary on how young couples with real skills are getting squeezed. Not like these were greedy speculators who are cornered but honest working class.
In Toronto I have yet to see the level of reductions in prices outside the GTA unfortunately. Sure some stuff that had a 799k price sold at the bargain basement price of 759k but the orig price was inflated anyways. Toronto is so financial services driven that until you see bank or insurance company layoffs I fear that prices will still remain quite high here. Also tons of speculators buying up these 200k 500 sq/ft condos will tend to skew the numbers. Toronto council today will go down in history as single handedly destroying the city and really being run by the developers. We will look back and regret that we ever built these pieces of garbage.

#11 mattbg on 08.04.08 at 7:45 am

Brent, there’s such a lack of experience and talent in the oil sands that they probably took anyone who had any resembling qualification whatsoever. The cities are crowded on weekends with drunks and drug users that don’t know what to do with so much money that they’ve never had before.

3rdman, I think that’s a really good point: even if one half of a couple gets it, the other half often won’t. This can be particularly bad if one half wants to try to raise kids with a character that will be useful in future and the other half wants to raise them as if the next generation is going to have more SUVs and square footage than we ever had.

#12 George Popovic on 08.04.08 at 8:03 am

In the Saturday Star this week and every week in the cassifieds section on the back page there are two houses shown that sold in the previous week with information such as the asking and selling price. Every week, at least one of those sells for more than the asking price and this week both were sold for more than the asking price. Who picks these? How misleading.

On the same back page a tiny sentence whispers “new home sales drop 37% in Toronto”….This should have been on the front page in large print.

#13 mike on 08.04.08 at 10:56 am

George…. Keep in mind these papers get tons of revenue from real estate ads and condo ads and, you are right , these back page picks are often midleading. Oddle enough please read the Sunday Star business section decrying the practice of agents underpricing homes just to get a bidding war. They briefly mention volume is down in Gta but quickly indicate that the volume is down from an already record 2007 AND that prices nonetheless are still rising. Oddly enough I do get listings sent to me daily and there are many that are reduced in price albeit from high and unrealistic levels.
This fall should be the turning point

#14 squidly77 on 08.04.08 at 10:56 am

i have worked in the tar pits for the past 25 years
you are making an ass out of yourself with comments like that
it is obvious that you have been no where near the oilsands..not even close
it is simply not possible to go from a pipefitter in a factory to a project takes many many years of trades training and even more in the supervisory fields
you have 6 levels
1..tradesman (journyman ticket required)
3..general foreman
5..general superintendant
6..project manager

to be the project manager you need to be extremely smart..and a further education is usually required

your comments concerning drunks and drugs is not worthy of debate..and no i dont live their but 80,000 people do

#15 APCM on 08.04.08 at 11:01 am

According to this article, bidding was may be losing their effectiveness since the market is slowing.

#16 squidly77 on 08.04.08 at 11:11 am

btw..i am at level 4 which if i were to work 12months/yr would pay me a salary of about $250,000/yr plus another $5,500/mo tax free live out allowance plus a negotiated travel allowance
a little secret for you..that live out allowance is what has driven the house prices to sky high levels..even though i work only 5-6 months/yr i still pay $1,000 for my 1 room in a 5 bedroom house monthly

no disrespect intended but put a factory worker ahead of me in a field and place that i have worked at for25years id have his job in a heart beat

the msm are cluless

#17 wealthy renter on 08.04.08 at 11:42 am

A sad story, depicting the price ordinary Windsorians and Ontarians and Canadians at large will continue to pay for legislated union greed, high taxes, absurd spools of regulatory red tape, and a generally Keynsian approach to life that says greed is good, and socialism is for the rich.

What a typical neo-conservative answer. Blame the greedy unions and high taxes.

Unfortunately, your arguments were relative in 1980, but your world view is completely out of touch with current reality. Even if corporate and related taxes were slashed to zero for the ailing auto firms and union workers had their wages slashed to the minimum wage, automobile production in this country is well into its sunset.

In a globalized world with few trade barriers, there is absolutely “No” reason to have any manufacturing jobs in the auto sector in Canada.

My wife’s family owns a small auto parts factory in Changchun China (a borderline first tier city that makes more cars than the whole of Canada.) They just hired a CMA with 20 years experience for about 15K Canadian. In all job categories, the Chinese workers only make a fraction of their Canadian counterparts. The firm produces good quality parts at a fraction of the cost of any western firm.

The auto industry in China is rapidly modernizing, and local Chinese manufacturers are less than ten years away from cranking out product as good as the “Big 3.”

So don’t worry JC, those greedy union members will be broken and you can cheer and polish your picture of Adam Smith.

I can’t say that the net benefit will be better for Ontario.

Windsor is doomed, but not for the reasons you cite.

#18 Joe Realtor (Toronto) on 08.04.08 at 11:45 am

I think these people need to think smarter. They are trying to sell their home privately.

Yes, I know, no-one likes paying commission, but without exposure, the house is going to sit there. Nothing gets exposure like MLS.

Besides which, she is raising three kids and now being saddled with dealing with showings, keeping the house tidy and ready for showings at any time, and dealing with trying to sell the house on “their” own? She must REALLY love her husband ;-)

I’m a Realtor, I know how it works. I once tried to sell my own house exclusively (in a better market). No luck. Then I tried listing it with a lower commission to the Buying Agent. No luck. Once I increased the commission to the “going rate”, showings all over the place and it was sold in a week. I’d never attempt a “Sale by Owner” situation because I don’t have the patience or time to waste.

Meanwhile, they reduced the price 19,000 and put in new windows and airconditioning? The house is still sitting there. We don’t know why the AC was replaced.

Windows and AC are not cheap. I think they would have been better off having a professional evaluation by a Realtor, priced right according to it’s condition and hopefully being sold by now.

#19 mike on 08.04.08 at 12:01 pm

thanks squidly 77….guess now we know why gasoline is so expensive… Most doctors don’t make that kind of money… Needless to say they are a tad more educated than the average oil sands worker…Keep up the good work

#20 just waiting on 08.04.08 at 12:01 pm

They say there’s a lot of money in Calgary. However, it’s hard to believe that the whole population owns these 750,000 infills. What will happen when their payments double when their 40 year mortgages come due and they still have payments to make on their Hummers, Landrovers, and vacation paradise homes in Canmore? Not to mention the investment property they own? Even the extremely wealthy here that live in the McMansions, with their Jag and Lexus SUVs and townhomes in Canmore and Invermere – still want their 7 million goal of savings for retirement. And they also have investment property. So, what will happen to all these people.
Great Britain also had a lot of wealthy people – now trying desperately to sell vacation properties they hold in Spain and France. And it is predicted 15,000 real estate agents will lose their jobs in the coming years.
In parts of New Zealand, some agents have left the profession completely as they have families to support and can no longer do this selling real estate.
It is disturbing to read that there are still bidding wars going on in Toronto – there should be a law that prevents this activity from happening.
I’m not convinced MSM is totally getting it; however, if they are, they are most probably reluctant to print it as they get funded by the real estate industry.
In Calgary, there are a lot of homes for sale, but not yet with substantial price decreases.
And I’ll bet though the general public hasn’t fully grasped what is about to take place in Canada, the realtors have and are holding their breath in fear.
Just waiting to see what is around the corner.

#21 Sold Out of Cowtown on 08.04.08 at 12:23 pm


I’ve been working in the oilsands for 8 years now and from what I’ve seen it’s not what you know that gets you ahead, it’s who you know. I would say a good friend or relative of the husband gave him the job.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Fort Mac is probably the ugliest, dirtiest, most disgusting town, full of greedy, grossly obese, wage slaves zombies.

#22 Calgary rip off on 08.04.08 at 1:18 pm

Just Waiting:

Thanks for your comments on the greed in Calgary. Its truly amazing the mentality of people in general. For most people, materialism is never enough. If they have enough money at a certain level, they upgrade their lifestyle to fit that salary rather than saving, like apparently what dudes like Squidly does.

I moved to Calgary because my field in healthcare is saturated on Vancouver Island. Otherwise I would have stayed there, even though while my wife being from there I find the culture or lack thereof quite bizarre.

The true sadness of what you mention is that there is a major depression looming in about 2 years and the individuals you mention will be seriously overextended. I find increasingly here and everywhere for that matter that most dont appreciate the simple things. Clear drinkable tap water; a warm house in the winter; lack of sickness; edible foods; good people; those are the things that keep me happy. But unfortunately the rich in Calgary are grasping at straws trying to satisfy an emptiness breeded by jobs and lifestyles that are not intrinsically motivating.

I am blessed in that fortunately I have a job in health care that involves saving lives. A person has a heart attack and I help keep the person alive while the doctor is doing the work, keep the patient stable. It doesnt get any better than this, and this is why I moved to Calgary. Unfortunately, myself and other working class people dont have the ability to get a decent home for a decent price. Some people that are already established in Calgary would probably say to buy a condo or a starter home for $350,000. I would ask all those bulls whether they would do as such if they were in a similar situation. I highly doubt it. More than likely they would wait. Most of these people bought before the boom brought on by speculators, when houses were around $180,000 for a reasonable house in Calgary. $250,000 for a 1500 sq foot home detached is even reasonable, but not to be found. A condo is ill desirable due to lack of land that you are purchasing and then condo fees-no thanks.

For the reasons I have listed above, depression or not, there WILL be a serious price correction in Calgary. Where will the starving realtors find clients willing to pay such ridiculous prices? Nowhere, people here for the most part dont get paid like Ed Stelmach. And thats the bottom line.

#23 mattbg on 08.04.08 at 1:20 pm

squiddly77, you can be a high school dropout and get a job as a IT project manager in Toronto at a Canadian bank if you know the right people. You can run projects into the ground and somehow keep your job. With expertise far more difficult to come by in the tar sands, I don’t doubt that they would be willing to relax standards.

You don’t know what kind of project manager he will be. It could be one level above his current position, managing a very small part of a larger project. They may be willing to train.

#24 squidly77 on 08.04.08 at 1:32 pm

sold some degree you are correct
the only reason i put a $ value in my post was to demonstrait the fact that there are very few of these jobs is hard to fathom an auto factoty pipefitter going straight into a project managers job
millenium expansion at suncor constructed 1999-2002
had many many superintendents .a few general superintendents and to the best of my knowlege
1 project manager..cost of project 4 billion dollars
any how this has zippo to do with housing

my point is that the msm blows mainly hot air

#25 Georgian on 08.04.08 at 3:57 pm

I work for a large insurance company and we already have hiring freeze in place. I do not think the banks are in a better position either. I would say mid to later next year is much critical since we will see how long this slump will be and financial service companies in TO will adjust accordingly.

#26 rant in Calgary on 08.04.08 at 4:04 pm

Joe Realtor (18),
Hey, I don’t mind paying a reasonable fee for services rendered, but the existing pay structure is absurd. I’m not a business, I’m a home owner. To pay someone a percentage that didn’t put a red cent into my investment and risk…is beyond me.
Now, we hear stories of:
 Phantom offers, the industry breaching the trust of their clients by allowing them to bid against themselves.
 Developers hiring people to camp out in front of new developments to create hype (to disillusion buyers).
 Selective/creative number crunching for the media.
 Listing house prices low to get inexperienced bidding frenzies… then report houses are selling above list price.

Sure, blame a couple of rogue Realtors for these questionable practices… but where is the Governing body for the Real Estate Board? Who is protecting the integrity of the Profession?
I didn’t see any agents publicly denounce these antics of the few bad apples.

The profession has lowered itself to “gutter status”.

#27 AD on 08.04.08 at 4:38 pm

Garth – in your posting of July 25th, you ended with:

>The perfect storm.
> In coming days, I will review some of the shelters from it.

Have you discussed these shelters, and if so, where?

#28 islander on 08.04.08 at 4:39 pm

I’m a Realtor, and I call BullSh!t on Joe.

Granted, he’s right in that MLS is the single best way to get the word out on your house. We as realtors pay, collectively, millions of dollars a year to maintain that database and the website that goes with it. You can’t compete spending hundreds of dollars per insertion on a tiny little B&W ad in the classified ad section of your local rag. You can’t.

HOWEVER. He goes on:

“Then I tried listing it with a lower commission to the Buying Agent. No luck. Once I increased the commission to the “going rate”, showings all over the place and it was sold in a week. I’d never attempt a “Sale by Owner” situation because I don’t have the patience or time to waste.”

What a load. If a house is priced right, no amount of commission is going to change whether it sells or not. A higher commission might drive more realtors to the house, but in itself won’t sell the house. Also, to even mention “going rate” is illegal. It’s illegal to even imply fixed prices and that’s what Joe has done. Nice work, Joe. Also, he doesn’t qualify “showings all over the place.” What? One an hour. One a day? Horsesh!t. “Sold in a week.” Prove it. Which MLS listing was it so we can check it.

He goes on:
“I think they would have been better off having a professional evaluation by a Realtor, priced right according to it’s condition and hopefully being sold by now.”

Having a realtor evaluate a property leads to one of two things: an inflated price so the realtor can snag the listing, followed by an over-priced listing and no sale. Or an under-priced listing that sells right away and leaves thousands hoovered out of your pockets but a quick sale for the realtor. Get an indepedent appraisal done through your bank.

#29 Joe Realtor (Toronto) on 08.04.08 at 5:11 pm

rant in Calgary,

RECO is the governing body in Ontario
There is a section there with convictions of Realtors who’ve done some “gutter status” things. In my opinion, they haven’t been hard enough or come down hard enough on them.

Denouncing the “few” bad apples isn’t as easy as you’d think/hope. Besides which, I denounced crooked higher-ups in a different industry years ago and got blackballed for it and had to leave. Someone else can do it this time.

Michael Manley ( was running for President of the Toronto Real Estate Board and for some reason, found that some TREB Members were pissed off at him for suggesting that changes needed to be made. The other person running, (who is the current Pres by the way) said that the current system allowed for transparency when dealing with so called Phantom offers. There is NO system used Board wide – so I don’t know what shes talking about but she won.

I won’t disagree that there is improvement that can be made, but there are some very good Realtors out there and I consider myself to be one of them because I’m not motivated by the almighty $.

I’ve taken my client and walked from multiple offers/greedy sellers, have been advising some buyers to rent for another year or so to let the market correct.

Most people spend much more time mulling over where to buy a TV and for how much, than they do choosing a Realtor. “You’ll cut your commission?? Kewl, we’ll use you” It’s no wonder the Real Estate courses are awash with losers who are only in it for the money, and who can someday look forward to being on RECOs wall of shame. I wouldn’t let them in my house no matter how little they charged me.

These are also the yahoos, by the way – who won’t even SHOW a house to one of their buyers unless the listing agent is paying 2.5%. They aren’t supposed to do that – but they do.

I for one, welcome the market turndown because it will weed out some of the less reputable people working in this industry.

Also bear in mind that sometimes, the Seller is to blame for some of this. The Listing Agent has to follow the direction of the client (in this case seller). They want to price higher? Will do. They want to hold back offers in hopes of a bidding war, regardless of what the Listing Agent says to dissuade them. Hey, you work really hard to get a listing and then your option is to tell the client to find someone else to do it because you don’t want to price low and hold back offers, or do as they say.

You know how there are people here that are saying that theres no trouble with the market and that prices are higher this year? Those same people are the ones that we have to work with every day who seem to think they know it all.

#30 GrandePrairiegirl on 08.04.08 at 5:15 pm

#26 rant
My sentiments exactly. I’m not even sure of what their fee structure is. I’ve heard 6% on the first 100,- and 3 to 3.5% on the balance ? For my current home that would be approx. a fee of $12,270.- or more. And for what?? An MLS listing,newspaper & possibly internet. A couple of open houses maybe? An offer to purchase is not that complicated besides it’s all subject to your lawyer’s checking it etc. anyhow. They do all the work after the offer has been handed to them. You tell me what justifies $12,000.- for doing that.
Sold my previous home in 1995 on my own in 37 days, and it wasn’t a hot market then. I do recall alot of realtors phoning & dropping off their cards in my mailbox. One actually rang the doorbell on a weekend and had a “customer” with him who was very interested in the house,but the only problem was that I wasn’t listed with anyone. Told him that was very unfortunate for me then and bye bye to you.
I would sooner give a potential buyer a break of part of the saved commission. But that’s just me.
I can write an ad as well as they do, place it in the paper run a colour pic once week. There are do-it-yourself sites so you can post on the net and have the link in your paper ad. I can put a sign up. I can do an open house with info sheets and whatever else. True you may get more exposure through an agent supposedly, but if they have 20 or 30 other listings do you really believe he’s giving you 100% of his attention and time. I don’t think so.

#31 Joe Realtor (Toronto) on 08.04.08 at 5:57 pm


You can call bullshit all you want. I don’t care.
Perhaps I should have put going rate in parentheses.

So you would dispute that there are Realtors out there that will only show houses in which they are going to be paid say…..better than 2.25%? If you’re a Realtor, you know that they should not be doing this, but I’m telling you that some do.
In my example (which was in Brampton and thats all I’m disclosing) I went from no showings in several days, to 6 showings in one day after I increased the commission payable.

So the house that was “priced right” all along, sold because someone deemed it was worth showing to his clients when he was getting paid 2.5%, but not at 2%.

Have a bank appraise your house? I guess your market is different, but in my experience, the banks have been out to lunch on this. Appraising one unit in the Distillery District of Toronto at 230,000 when comps were selling for 250 and above.

As I’ve said previously, people spend more time handwringing over where to buy a TV.

Get 3 evaluations from 3 different Realtors. Gives you a chance to see if you like the person and can see working with him. Will also see what each thinks your home is worth.

Heck, throw in a bank appraisal if you want, but don’t be surprised if it’s out of whack with what 3 Realtors have told you, unless your lucky enough to get an appraiser that happens to be a Realtor and familiar with the area.

#32 brazer on 08.04.08 at 6:38 pm

Home buyers still face bidding wars

“Underpricing a home to create an auction-like frenzy started on really great homes in nice neighbourhoods,” realtor Sally Cook says. “Now everyone is doing it on any old piece of crap.”

#33 Brent on 08.04.08 at 7:59 pm


I like where you said the realtor will list your house for a pie in the sky price so he can scoop your listing. So true, then breaks it to you after it doesn’t sell that you might have to lower your price.

I had two houses that I sold For Sale by Owner in 1998. I just advertised both houses in the Journal for 2 weeks and had an open house on my rental property and they sold. I listed both of them for about $5,000 less then similar houses for sale through real estate agents. I don’t know if I was just lucky but they were pretty easy to sell really. A lawyer recommended by my bank did all the legal stuff and that was it.

#34 mike on 08.04.08 at 8:00 pm

As far as real estate commisions I honestly feel that above a certain level the comm. should be capped … Perhaps below a level it should be a flat rate. I know of some very savvy builders who list the house on mls and after a week cancel the listing…keep track of the buyers and close the deal w/o comm. privately after the holdover period. They get thr best of both worlds.
Hey….. shit happens.

#35 JC on 08.05.08 at 3:00 am

Wealthy Renter:
I have never been accused of being a neoconservative in my life. No need to introduce ad hominem insults to this otherwise civilized forum.
I also condemned Keynsianism in the post you object to — a key economic component of the Union world view — so clearly you don’t know economics. Otherwise you would not call me a neocon.
In the meantime, I commend your “economics” to you. We are all self-sorting in this life, and you can keep you socialism and the outcome you have predestined yourself to.

#36 JC on 08.05.08 at 3:06 am

P.S…Wealthy Renter:

If you understood what Keynsianism was, you would grasp its over all impact on Western Economies and society…the reason we can be undercut price wise is because we have distorted and misallocated wealth and wealth allocation in our economies….and because our high school grads come out of school with knowledge of all the bad words not to say and how to put a condom on a banana peel…and our University entrants spend 5 or 6 years studying fuzzy marxist illiberal arts “disciplines” AFTER they take their remedial year of literacy to make up for all the damage done in the name of education k-12… Keynsianism expanded government which distorted and perverted and monopolized education all the while loosing inflation upon the land and convincing a couple of genrations that a coffee slurpee really is worth $6 and that they really are worthy of a $500k mortgage at age 28 or 34….

#37 Dave in Calgary on 08.05.08 at 7:51 pm

My 2 cents for the people who think you can just move to Fort Mac and get a job at the top with no Oilpatch experience just because there is no skilled people available, or because you know someone.

First of all, its a vacuum. It’s easier to get hired, and easier to move up, but you can’t just show up and get a PM job from being a pipe fitter. If they were going to do that (and they don’t), they’d take a pipe fitter who’s been out here humping it for a few years and move him up. If you’re fresh from Ontario, you have to get in line. And yeah, there’s a lot of “It’s who you know and who you blow” going on, but trust me, the people who have been out here for a few years know a lot more people than people working in Windsor.

With respect to #14 squidly77 list of 1 to 6:

The current situation means that people at 2 are getting promoted to 3 or 4 quicker than they ever have, and getting paid more than the ever have. It doesn’t mean that people from Onterrible (I’m one of them) are getting plopped in at #6.

I’ve worked both the labour end of the oil patch, and the engineering end (currently an engineer at an EPC) and found it easy to work your way up and get paid well, but by no means are you put in charge of anyting, or put above anyone who has been here longer than you and knows more. The people who have been out here a while will get vacuumed up the chain first.

And people who think it’s easy to work the oil patch on the labour or trades end of things… think again. I’ve seen a lot of people come out here thinking they were going to get rich, only to not be able to hack it and go home with their tail between there legs. And I spent 2.5 years humping it from Fort Nelson BC, to Fort Mac, to 100 miles north of where God ran out of crayons, and all points in between. And I made more money than I do on the engineering end of it. The money is good… but if you think its easy, you need to give your head a shake.

Anyway, I wouldn’t want people to think that you’re going to get a silver spoon stuck in your mouth the moment you get off the greyhound in fort Mac. Hell, I couldn’t even get a cab….