We got a letter early in the week saying that my visa has been approved. This is great! They wanted me to send them my passport (not so great), fill out yet another form (sigh), get yet more passport photos (I think we’ve taken 12 for this now, but of course not all at one time), and mail this to them.
Well, on Wednesday since we were downtown at the midwives place anyhow, we decided to swing by the OHIP office — that’s Ontario Health Insurance Program? Policy? whatever — and see what I needed to do to get the ball rolling with that. After a delightful 2 minute wait, we were called up to the counter. The lady there said (as we knew) that 90 days after my medical examination had been passed, I would be eligible for OHIP. So I showed her my letter from Immigrations Canada that states my visa is okay to be issued anytime before my immigration medical exam expires on August 10th, 2009 — and since exam results are valid for one year, this obviously means that my results were valid as of August 10th, 2008. Well, she doesn’t think this letter is good enough, so she goes to get the manager of her office. The manager not only doesn’t think this letter is good enough, but says he’s never even seen this letter before and this is definitely not the “written confirmation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada that you have applied for permanent residence in Canada and have passed the immigration medical” that is necessary for my 90 day waiting period to begin. They suggest that I get a form from Immigrations Canada that is specific to my medical results and bring that in, along with a few other items to confirm my identity and address, to begin the OHIP process.
Well, of course this is a huge disappointment. I start crying as we leave the office and don’t stop until we’re halfway home. All I can think about is the fact that some how, some way, no one out there is capable of helping me; the person I’m talking to is never the one that has answers for me, and I’m not going to have insurance when I give birth which means I’m going to have to do it at home because we can’t afford the $2500+ hospital bill.
When we get home, I email the office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada that has been handling my case and put in a request for the letter OHIP needs. They reply that they “do not provide any such service”. When I answer that they are Immigration Canada and hence they are the people that need to send me this form or, if they can’t, then it would be goddamned nice if they could point me in the direction of someone who can, they reply again that they “do not provide any such service” and that I should hurry up and return my visa materials to them. So now, I’m in limbo once again — this time for OHIP, not for my actual immigration. Monday I’ll be calling the help line and seeing if maybe, by some miracle, someone there knows what’s up. Someone somewhere knows what I need and is able to provide it, so I just need to find that person.
Anyhow, we had spotted a UPS store nearby and decided to use them to send my visa stuff out on Friday. After punching around quite a lot on her computer and saying she could get us a Monday, mid-afternoon delivery to Detroit (because it would be ‘significantly’ cheaper than a Monday morning delivery), she announces: “And it comes to… $46.21.”
What? For a business-sized envelope containing a single sheet of paper, a passport, and four wallet-sized photos? Why? “This is a courier service. There are handling fees, and this is a Monday delivery.” Right, because three days to get to Detroit is reasonable when it’s a three hour drive.
Chris says, “I work in the shipping industry, I know exactly how little space this envelope takes up on a truck and I know that you use sorting machines to handle where everything goes. There is no reason for it to cost that much.”
She says, “I don’t set the costs for UPS.”
Chris says, “Okay. We won’t be using UPS.” We get our things and leave, then head to the post office. We check on registered mail; they give us a “5 business day” window for a $7 fee… and when we ask how fast it would get there if we mailed it with their express mail service instead, we’re told again a “5 business day” window but $25. We go for the first option. How do these places even justify taking 5 days to send a letter to Detroit?
So yeah, that’s done. For now. We’ll see how things go on Monday.