Moving to Canada: How to find work
Canada is an open, inclusive society with numerous employment opportunities for immigrants. Still, there are certain things you should consider before beginning your job search. This guide helps those who wish to immigrate or relocate to Canada gain access to a number of useful job search resources and tools.
Five essential steps to finding work in Canada
Complete the preliminary administrative procedures
First, you will need to obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN), an identifier that gives you the right to work in Canada and makes you eligible for government programs and benefits. A Social Insurance Number is a personal, confidential number that you can get at a Service Canada office.
For easy access to your funds and to facilitate your new life in Canada, you should open a Canadian bank account as soon as possible. This allows you to make secure transactions from your country of origin, including money transfers. With National Bank’s offer for newcomers, you can open an account online, make transfers before you leave, then access your money the moment you arrive in Canada. You can also enjoy substantial savings on banking fees.
Identify your job and learn more about your field
Whether you live in Manilla, Mumbai or anywhere else in the world, your current job title is not necessarily the one used in Canada. You can find the correct name for your job or occupation by visiting the National Occupational Classification (NOC) website. Go to the “Explore careers” section of the Job Bank to familiarize yourself with employment perspectives, training options, wage levels and required skills.
Explore the list of professions and trades that are governed by professional orders or guilds
In Canada, a number of professions are regulated. For instance, physicians, nurses, engineers and architects are governed by professional orders that regulate access to their respective professions, as well as the skills and diplomas required. Some trades, such as electricians, crane operators, plumbers or heavy vehicle drivers, are also subject to this type of regulation. If this is the case with your trade or profession, you should contact the appropriate organization as soon as possible.
Consult job search resources
A number of websites specialize in job postings. These websites offer jobs classified by various categories (type, region, sector, etc.) and provide a good overview of the candidate profiles sought by employers. Job postings also provide you with a better understanding of job-related terminology that can be useful during an interview or when preparing your resume.
There are other resources, too, that can be helpful in your search. Some job fairs abroad feature a Canadian component, while the Canadian Job Bank website posts 2,000 new jobs every day, many of them in the civil service and the public service of Canada.
Before moving to Canada, don’t hesitate to contact certain employers directly. When you approach an employer with a genuine attitude, it can show that you are serious about the job, leaving a good first impression.
Write a resume and cover letter suitable for Canada
Avoid any mention of your age and marital status, and do not attach a photograph to your resume. Also, your resume should be no more than three pages in length. Be clear and concise, and focus on content rather than a flashy design—a sober presentation is appropriate, unless creativity is a core requirement of the job you are applying for.
Employers appreciate resumes that are accompanied by a personalized letter, a “cover letter,” outlining your qualifications for the job you are applying to. In this letter, clearly indicate your contact information and references from past employment. A LinkedIn page is also a useful thing to have. For all these documents, make sure your English is impeccable; have them reviewed if necessary.
The Canadian labour market: things to keep in mind
Interviews and hiring:
There is a less pronounced hierarchy in Canada than in other countries. Employers are often interested in your personal qualities as well as your professional ones, and will look to hire those who are curious and driven. Be at your best during a job interview and feel free to ask questions—they show your interest in the team and in the company’s challenges.
Wage scale and cost of living:
Being flexible when you start out in Canada can make it possible for you to climb the wage ladder faster, as trying to secure an equivalent salary from the start is a risky approach. You should also consider the cost of living: there are important disparities between Canadian cities, notably regarding housing. With the same salary, your real purchasing power may vary depending on where you reside. Search engines will help you find the average salary by profession for each province.
Labour rights and standards, minimum wage, work schedules and sick leave:
In Canada, federal and provincial laws protect workers and employers by regulating work hours, minimum wage, health and safety standards and parental leave among other things. Each province sets its own guaranteed minimum wage. In addition, employees may not be discriminated against on the basis of a disability, ethnicity, gender, faith or sexual orientation.
“Independent worker,” “self-employed” and “freelancer” are terms used to designate a consistently expanding category of labour in Canada. By working on your own behalf, you can build up a client base and enjoy flexible hours and greater freedom.
However, you will be considered an entrepreneur and will have to meet several tax and administrative requirements. In addition, you will not be entitled to most of the benefits salaried workers enjoy, such as a pension plan, certain types of insurance and paid vacations. Securing a mortgage loan will also be a more complicated process.
Employment after your first visa expires
If you apply for a work permit extension before the permit’s expiry date, you will be allowed to continue your professional activities. During this time, you will have to remain in Canada and satisfy all the conditions of your initial work permit. For example, if the work permit is contingent upon you working for a specific employer, you will have to keep working for that employer.
Other useful tips to maximize your chances of finding a job
- Become fluent in English. Depending on where you live in Canada, knowing basic French can also prove to be an asset. In Quebec, for example, many employers require this skill.
- Enter the workforce as soon as possible, regardless of the type of work or salary. Doing so will help you establish contacts and ease your financial burden.
- Send out a large number of resumes rather than waiting for a call back after submitting a single application for your dream job.
- Consult National Bank’s My new life in Canada portal for a smoother transition.
Other government resources for immigration and working in Canada
The Government of Canada’s Immigration and Citizenship website provides useful information and forms to help you take the next steps. Many free services and resources are available to help you get acquainted with Canada’s professional environment, have your academic credentials and work experience acknowledged and establish contact with potential employers. The Immigration and Citizenship portal also offers a section dedicated to the specifics of each province and territory, many that welcome growing numbers of newcomers from countries around the world, including the Philippines, India and more.
Ready to get started?
Finding employment is an important part of starting a new life in a new country. Now that you know more about the tools available to help in your search, you can start taking the next steps towards a new career adventure in Canada.
Edited on 21 September 2018