A Journey of Giving, Caring, and Family Support - Maricel

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for being my employment counsellor and for all the assistance that you provided during my HCA Program from July 2022 – February 2023. 

There are reasons why I consulted WorkBC and met my good and kind-hearted counsellor, Ms. Rosita Bernardo. Firstly, I came to Canada as a home child caregiver last 2018. I worked as a nanny for almost 4 years. Luckily, in December 2021, I got my Permanent Residence status. Last February 2022, my family arrived, and it was the happiest and hardest moment for us. I took two weeks leave and went back to work, but unfortunately, I was laid off in mid-March. On the other hand, my spouse got a full-time job after a month of staying in Canada. Even so, we can’t afford to pay someone to look after our child to assist him, drop and pick him up after class and I’m the only available person who can do it. Moreover, our son was only 8 years old at that time and he was newly landed in this country and needed guidance and support. I wanted to be employed as soon as possible but due to the above situations, it affected my job search. For these reasons, I opted to stop working temporarily. 

Secondly, our expenses were much higher than before since my family started living with me. When I was alone, I saved some of my salary, but inflation greatly affected us. My previous work as a nanny was at the minimum wage rate, hence, it was not enough to support my family financially. 

Lastly, I am a Registered Nurse from the Philippines and have been in the Nursing profession for almost 10 years. I’ve worked in the Philippines and the Middle East countries. Despite all the qualifications, backgrounds, and experiences, still my credentials were not fully recognized. Therefore, I strongly decided to go back to training as a Health Care Assistant, while taking care of my son, as an initial step hoping to pursue my Nursing career in the future.

At first, many of my friends advised me to have a student loan because that was their last resort to fund their schooling. Thankfully, one of my friends instructed me to file my EI and inquire about WorkBC for support. I tried calling different WorkBC locations, and my school even recommended me counsellor but for some reason, no one responded. So, I’ve tried to search online hoping I could find someone. I saw the name Rosita Bernardo in Whalley branch with outstanding feedback and comments. I immediately called her and told my situation, and my plan to have a student loan but she opposed it and told me to come to their office right away. I trusted my instincts, and I went on that day and started the application. 

From the beginning of the application until the end of my training and even now that I have a job, my employer counsellor's unending support and guidance has been amazing. She introduced me to Dress for Success Vancouver where they gave me free kinds of stuff to prepare for my interview. She even let me attend a Job Search training to enhance my understanding and have a simple but attractive Canadian resume and had a one-on-one job interview practice. Another thing, WorkBC Centre Whalley was a lifeline for me because of their financial support. Since I didn’t have the budget to buy a computer, she made a way for me to have something to use. I was so comfortable during my online class and submitted my due assignments on time because of my new laptop. Furthermore, I also received transport assistance during my schooling and practicum.

After my schooling, Ms. Bernardo kept on following my status making sure that everything was good and for me to land a good job. She even gave me a list of good facilities for me to apply to. I was extremely excited when I got hired but Ms. Bernardo was happier than I am. With all the directions she gave, I was able to receive a voucher to buy my scrubs and shoes which was so helpful. In addition, 3 weeks of Compass tickets (transport assistance) for me to use. 

Presently, I have been working at Zion Park Manor since May 2023 up to now and enjoy going to work every day. I am forever grateful to WorkBC Centre Whalley, and most especially to Rosita Bernardo for believing in my capabilities and assisting me not only in going to school for enhancement but also for giving me all the resources I needed from the beginning up to now. I am greatly gaining back my passion which is giving and caring to others and supporting my family as well. 

I already suggested one of my friends to her and will continue to recommend her to others who need assistance. 

Thank you for the warm welcome in your office and for allowing me to be a part of WorkBC! Thank you for being a part of my HCA journey! 


WorkBC is the provincial government's access point to the world of work in British Columbia. It was created with one key goal — to help all British Columbians to successfully navigate B.C.'s labour market.