Jesse Seibel of Whitecourt, Alberta, used to wake up every day at 3am, fully rested and ready to work.

Having laboured in the northern oil patch since his teens, just like his father, the tattooed and pierced wireliner had grown oddly appreciative of the work’s long hours and hard labour.

At 26, Seibel, who never finished high school, was earning as much as $5,000 a month threading electrical cables into reservoirs, enough to live comfortably and never miss paying rent and child support.

Then, last February, he was sent on a three-day stint, not knowing that his employer was preparing his termination papers. He learned that he’d been laid off along with others days later. Within months, he and his girlfriend were homeless and moving into his parents’ house.

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