living "off the grid" eating squirrel meat and berries sounds good right about now.
1. maternity leave. the rules are clear as mud. at work, they made it sound like the process was simple. they sent me my paperwork documentation in the mail. it said i had to create an online account to manage this maternity leave period. so i do. at the end it asks for my "access code." i dont know what this is...or i dont have one. i call the number it says. the lady tells me that since i have never filed for any kind of employment insurance (of which maternity leave is one kind of) i have to go back to the home page and create a more general on-line account for this branch of government service. okay so i do.
only thing is you cannot move forward unless you enter the date you start maternity leave. which is fine, except it wont let you put anything in but a past or present date. you cannot list a future date. so...how am i suppose to start this account? i put in the current date and move forward. at the end, it tells me that i need to go to a "service canada" office in person to show my documents that i used to fill out the on-line account. come on!
so, today i go in to "service canada" and sit down with a lady. after explaining my story about three times to her she finally opens my account to see what i am talking about. she then basically accuses me of "gaming the system" by entering in my maternity start date as something earlier than it really was. i tried to explain to her that it didnt appear that i could have gone forward setting up the account without putting something in to the field. plus, maternity leave is very fluid. its totally contingent on when the baby comes. i wasnt lying, i was intending to correct the information once my account processing was rolling.
ugh, so basically i was there for almost an hour saying the same thing over and over. it came down to the facts: you cant apply for the first account until you actually START using employment insurance for the first time. once you have an actual date (in the past), you can move forward. THEN you can get sent an "access code," then you can create another account for your particular time off work (maternity leave for me). then you have to wait 28 days before you receive your first paycheck, which includes the non-payable 2 week "waiting period" whereby the government "gives" you 17 weeks of maternity leave, paying only 15 of those weeks. after which you can transition to "parental leave" for 35 weeks. oh, and of course you are obligated to call and update your file with any new information (you want to go back early, take more time, you get a part time job...). if you cant follow the logic or rules i just listed, im almost in the same boat as you.
2. dave and the canadian government. so his contract was in the special category of research post-doctorate that the government had listed as a tax-free type of visitors employment. with new budget workings for 2010, the canadian government has decided to remove this tax-free "benefit." they also chose NOT to grandfather any current contracts in, and in fact made the taxes retroactive back to the beginning of 2010 (even though the decision was made in march). ass holes.
3. french government tax update. despite at least three separate communications with the french government (via email and snail mail) in which dave informed them of our address change, they CONTINUE to send items of important time-sensitivity to my friends house in the u.s. that we have as our "permanent address" for several things u.s.-related. recently we got documents sent there about our habitation tax (like a property tax but for apartment rental people). we were charged a 10% late fee, even though it was them who didnt listen to us about where they could send us the paperwork...to be processed on time. and as for our general french income taxes...still havent heard anything...these people are ridiculous. stop pissing me off and wasting our time.