From Colombian to French Canadian

From Colombian to French Canadian

From Colombian to French Canadian

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Oscar’s Journey from Tropical Climate to Working on the Port in Sorel, QC

Oscar Cuellar, Operations Supervisor at Richardson’s terminal in Sorel, QC, took a big step when he began the process to leave his home country, Colombia, in 2005. He and his family came to Canada. Oscar was looking for a life change and a free and safer place for his children to grow up. When Oscar, along with his wife and children, arrived in Saint-Lambert, QC in the summer of 2013, he wanted to find a challenging career that matched his experience working in Colombia’s marine industry.

Oscar (right) with his wife and brother visiting Cotopaxi mountain in Ecuador.

“Things tend to move faster in Colombia. Everybody was in a rush, especially if you lived in big cities like Bogota. The processes are faster and there’s a culture of ‘do it now,’ says Oscar. “There’s a good quality of life in both countries, however, in Canada I can combine work with free time, friends and time in the community so much more than I could in Colombia.”

As Operations Supervisor, Oscar ensures that the storage and shipping of grain is done in the most effective and efficient way. In Colombia, Oscar worked for a shipping agency where they loaded mineral coal. He says the main differences between working in Canada and Colombia are the equipment and climate and he has had to adapt to living in Canada after being used to a tropical climate.

One of the biggest challenges Oscar has experienced in Canada is the language barrier. Oscar learned English as a teenager in Colombia, but was not fluent in French.

Oscar at work at our Sorel, QC port terminal.

“It was quite challenging because at work and outside of home, French is the predominant language. I had to work to improve my skills,” he says. “My co-workers have helped me a lot with the language, so after three years there has been a lot of improvement.”

When Oscar first moved to Quebec, he worked as a Logistics Coordinator for a company in Saint-Lambert briefly before pursuing other opportunities. He started with Richardson in April 2014.

“This company opened the doors for me without making assumptions about my country of origin, culture or race,” he says. “Employment equity is important in Canada because it ensures people like me have the same access to the job market. Richardson has an excellent policy, which ensures full representation of visible minorities. I’m very proud of my job and this company that is invested in its people.”


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