FS At Work

Tara Bickis
Management Consular Officer

The thing that I love most about my job, is having the ability to help people….some of them are often dealing with traumatic, difficult and sometimes even tragic events. We don’t have magic wands, but I have learned that it is the little things that make the difference for Canadians. Translating information for someone who doesn’t speak the local language, making the phone call happen that re-unites loved ones, or physically locating someone who no one has heard from. My job isn’t only about responding to emergencies; it also includes routine work like providing passports to fellow citizens abroad, but everything that I do in my job is aimed at helping Canadians abroad. I love that!

This picture was in the Havana airport with an Air Canada passenger who was happy to make it onto the plane and get home after living through Hurricane Irma. She, and about 40 others, were not able to get on the first flight home because of sheer numbers. She was very happy to finally make it home, and appreciative of my presence and support at the airport.

I am originally from Kingston, Ontario and joined the Foreign Service in 2008.

Dale Smyl
Management Consular Officer

This image was taken in Turks and Caicos while on deployment with the Standing Rapid Deployment Team (SRDT) as part of the Government of Canada’s response to Hurricane Irma. Our efforts were focused on evacuating affected Canadian Citizens and other foreign nationals from islands across the Caribbean. During a few short days, our small but motivated team touched down in the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Barbados, Sint Maarten, Turks and Caicos before accompanying grateful and relieved Canadians back home. The SRDT team also worked in Anguilla, BVI and other affected islands.

What I like most about being an MCO and SRDT member is the opportunity to have a tangible and positive impact. It is true that much of our work goes unsung, however it is the little moments that are satisfying – the ones where you get to be that familiar face or shoulder to cry on for a Canadian in distress in a foreign land. I must also add that the job has allowed me to work with and learn from some amazing colleagues, both internal and external to the department.

I’m from St. Paul, Alberta and I’ve been working at GAC since 2004. I’m currently on my 4th assignment abroad.

Phochana Meak
Deputy Management Consular Officer

This picture was taken in September 2017, when I handed the passports and visas back to the Afghan wounded warrior team ready to go compete in the 3rd Invictus Games in Toronto.

I am currently the Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO) Consular/HR at our mission in Kabul. Afghanistan is challenging, especially for consular work, as we are limited in what we can do because of the difficult and dangerous environment. I am involved in other corporate services such as property, visits and finances. As there is no visa office, I am as well the liaison officer for IRCC.

The range and diversity of what we do as MCOs is one of the things that I Iove the most about my job. We help everyone, may they be Canadians in distress, our colleagues at mission or external clients. The impact that we can have on all these people can be enormous, and there is no better feeling for me than being able to bring some joy and comfort to them.

I grew up in Montreal, Quebec, and joined Global Affairs Canada in 2011. I have done 5 temporary duties at different missions, and have been posted to Kabul since 2016.

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