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Thursday, May 12, 2016

11 Months In Limbo, But Hey, Maybe There’s Light In The Tunnel

Nearing full pension age, in June 2015 I made out an application for pension from NORWAY, where I actually spent 25 years. Now, CANADA requires all foreign pension applications to be send through their “Service Canada International Operations office” in Ottawa. When I received my application forms in June 2015 they had already assigned me a client number. So I filled out the application and send it off to the great mighty government of Canada.
What followed can best be described as utterly complete SILENCE. It was silent month after month after month. After 6 months I got a bit worried. Did they ever get my application, was it lost, denied or what the hell was going on? 
Ottawa continued to stay silent just as before and now it is 11 months ago, that these papers were sent off.
So this morning, which by the way was very beautiful with bright sunshine and promising 70F in the making, I decided to call the pension office in Norway. Found their number online and made the call through SKYPE. Of course, in my eagerness I had messed up the numbers and my call was answered by the “Rikshospitalet” (State Hospital) in Oslo. Yeah, some department for the mental ill or brain-dead, I think it was, which actually turned out quite befitting. The matter had really gone to my brain and that’s probably the reason why I messed up the phone number.
OK, second try got me right to the pension office, International Affairs. The lady researched my case, but could not find any pension application.

They simply never received it!

office desk
What had happened in Ottawa? In my beginning stages of rage I imagined a desk full of towering pension applications and mine had slipped off the table and was now hidden from view under the writing desk.

Finding a phone number for Service Canada’s International Operation was the hard part.  The switch board operator gave me a 1-800-number which proved to be useless. Or would you enjoy talking to a machine and receiving non-relevant information about how the entire pension system is working?

Me neither.

So I called Mr.Operator again, and told him that I did not appreciate talking (or listening) to a machine squawk.  Now, this guy turned out to be really helpful and I am sure he is gonna be scolded for giving out this other number, for it got me right to the office of International Operations. I hope I didn’t wake this guy, but after I explained again why I was bugging him, he told me (did he smirk…?) that I simply had to wait another 20-some weeks for my application to be PROCESSED, as the deal they had made with Norway allowed for a total of 15 months processing time.
Office guy

At this time my face changed colour.

Why are these bureaucrats processing an application that is actually directed to another country? Wouldn’t it be more than enough to f*****ng put these documents in the mail and off they would go to Norway?

Nooo… they need to be “processed” and stored for 15 months in some dusty closet storage.

The guy ended the conversation with making a quick calculation telling me that if Norway would not have logged my application by October 13, I was more than welcome to call him again.

Oh thank you SOO MUCH, Sir!

Even though these calls weren’t shining up my day, at least I now knew that Canada Post had not lost my mail in June 2015 and that I might hear from Norway by Christmas. After all it WOULD make a great Christmas gift.


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