a new life in Canada
Brazilians who were looking for opportunities found in Quebec a fertile ground to turn their dreams into reality
by Andréa Ciaffone
A systems development engineer who wanted to be where cutting-edge developments in his segment were happening and a pharmacology researcher who was discouraged to continue her projects due to lack of government funding are examples of Brazilians who saw emigration to Canada as the perfect alternative for pursuing their professional goals and personal dreams.
“Geography makes a difference in the technology sector,” says Brazilian Bruno Kinder, who built his career as a systems development engineer. “In a world of remote work, it may seem almost old-fashioned to say this, but the fact is that being physically close to large companies in your sector makes a huge difference because when you are in an environment that inspires creativity and supports professional growth, it really changes things,” he adds. With a degree in Computer Science in Brazil, he obtained a masters degree in Artificial Intelligence at Université Laval, in Québec.
Living in Quebec since 2015, Kinder says that the success of immigration lies on several factors, but highlights the institutional support offered by Quebec International in the early days, the academic support structure, some ‘personal chemistry’ and networking as decisive factors. “To become well integrated, it is essential to participate in activities that help create a common denominator with other people,” suggests the Brazilian.
Kinder decided to go to Canada at the age of 36, with 14 years of experience working for Brazilian companies in his curriculum. “I felt that I needed to make a quantum leap in my career that only an academic specialization could provide, and the best opportunity for that was found in Quebec,” explains the immigrant who participated in a recruitment initiative promoted by Québec International. “I had to face the reality of ‘going back one step’, becoming a student once again, doing an internship – and in Brazil I was already in a senior position. But all this paid off, and today I feel that the leap I wanted to take in my career actually happened and I even feel a continuous acceleration in my professional development”, he assesses.
The computer scientist explains that in his area the dynamics of the market differs between both countries. “In Brazil, as you advance to senior positions, you start to earn 15 or even 20 times the salary paid to an intern. This undermines the continuity of employment for more experienced professionals, because they are then seen as a very high-cost employees for the company. In Canada, the wage gap between an intern and a senior position is up to 500%. But for Canadian companies, experience is what weighs the most, so salary increases do not pose a threat to the company’s finances “, argues Kinder, who draws attention to one more point: in Canada there is much less prejudice regarding the age of the professional. “In Brazil there is a structural ageism. I was worried about every white thread of hair in my beard,” says Kinder, now 43. He and his wife, Daniela, emigrated together and waited until they were settled in the new country to go on with their plan of forming a family. Today, they have a 3-year-old son born in Canada. “The government strongly supports people having children; in addition, we have great trust in public safety and in public health and education systems. Here, a most serious crime is a bicycle theft,” says the ‘carioca’ – that´s how people from Rio de Janeiro city are called.
The pursuit of advancing her academic career was also the catalyst for Diana Majoli, born in São Paulo city, to register for the recruitment initiative promoted by Quebec International. “With the cuts in funding for academic research that had been happening in Brazil, I realized that continuing my work was less and less viable,” explains the researcher who has a masters and doctoral degree in Pharmacology in Brazil, having developed work focused on metabolic syndrome linked to obesity, diabetes and asthma. Despite the social interest of her research, the likelihood of moving forward to attend a Postdoctoral Program was low.
In Canada, the government sponsors research.
Therefore, the country attracts the best brains
and advances rapidly in science. To top it off,
there are many job opportunities compatible
with the various specializations
“In Canada, on the other hand, the government sponsors research. Therefore, it attracts the best brains and promotes rapid advances in science,” says the researcher who moved to Quebéc in 2018 with her husband, also Brazilian. When she finished her two-year cycle as a researcher at Université Laval, Diana realized that there were many job opportunities compatible with her area of expertise, so she sent resumes and was hired. Today she works in the Analytical Immunology department of the biopharmaceutical company Medicago to develop vaccines against COVID-19 and influenza. “It’s interesting to see how advanced Canada is in terms of employee rights. In interviews, their focus is always on your professional experience, with no personal or discriminatory questions.
“Moreover, the quality of life that I managed to have here in three years I would never have in Brazil, not even in 30 years, especially because of the issue of safety. Here we feel free to walk on the street, to come and go, to have things of value without being afraid of robbery”, she comments.
Another aspect that Diana highlights is the support network formed by other immigrants. “Quebec International promotes Francization events, which facilitate the adaptation of newcomers and, with this, we make friends with other people who are also starting a new life here. These initiatives help create bonds and encourage people from all over the world to hang together and have fun”, completes the PhD holder.
A veteran in the integration between Brazil and Canada, François Godbout is Quebecois and a senior consultant in international affairs as well as a business mentor thanks to his extensive experience in relations between Canada and Brazil. “I have been developing business with Brazil since 1989,” says the businessman who, for more than 30 years, has bridged the gap between the two countries. Between 2012 and 2014 he served as a government consultant at the Bureau du Québec in São Paulo and now, through the company Viabilis do Brasil – where he is a partner – he is a consultant for Canadian companies that intend to develop business in Brazil.
“The mutual attractiveness between the two countries in terms of business is undeniable. However, the good adaptation of Brazilians to life in Quebec explains why there are so many success stories when it comes to emigration from Brazil to Canada,” explains Godbout, in good Portuguese.
According to the consultant, there is a very positive combination between French-speaking Canada and Brazilians in several aspects, especially the cultural one. Certainly the fact that both cultures are derived from the same Latin matrix has its weight in this affinity, but there is more to it: there is a conscious and consistent willingness to build fruitful relationships and especially to make immigration to Canada successful.
“Canadians recognize Brazil as an excellent market and Brazilians perceive Canada as an excellent environment for self-development. The combination of these two elements makes the partnership between the two countries an ideal one”, says Godbout.