Finding a job in Canada

If your trip to Canada is going to be of some duration you’re going to need to get a job. Sadly, money doesn’t grow on trees, and Canadian trees are no exception to this rule. If you need to transfer funds into CAD (Canadian Dollars) then visit TorFX for the best quote.

Employment Opportunities in Canada

With a relatively stable economy the employment options for someone immigrating to Canada are pretty good and reasonably varied. The majority of jobs available in Canada are in the service sector, with the retail and business sector supplying three quarters of Canadian’s with work. The remaining opportunities are connected to manufacturing and Canada’s vast array of natural resources. Canada is a huge manufacturing company and is particularly well known for car manufacture. Canada, for example, is responsible for producing the Crown Victoria sedans which make up 90% of the police cars and taxis used in Canada and the USA.

The cities Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary are where the majority of the nation’s economic growth is focused. All though often low paid, opportunities for part-time or occasional work are generally good, particularly in the catering sector. There are several types of employment contracts in Canada including Permanent, Part-Time, Contract and Freelance, make sure you apply for jobs with the most suitable contract time for your needs.

The Difficulties

Canadian unemployment is 6.8%, and levels are highest in the Atlantic Provinces (Newfoundland etc). Without a work permit securing a job in Canada is far more difficult. Any prospective employer would have to do the leg work for you, spending time and money to obtain a work permit on your behalf. The vast majority of employers would be reluctant or unwilling to do this. In manual labour environments, such as construction sites, it is common to come across individuals who work without a permit. This route is not advised, if discovered by the relevant authorities you could face deportation and, in extreme cases, may be banned from returning to Canada.

Required Qualifications and Skills

No matter where in the world you are there are always going to be certain boxes you’ll need to tick in order to land yourself a job. The qualifications required in Canada vary depending on the skill set demanded by the work. An obvious requirement is relevant experience but this might not always be necessary. The higher paid jobs may expect you to have a University/College equivalent qualification as well as skills in areas such as IT. Voluntary work or internships (whether paid or unpaid) make a candidate stand out.

A good command of the English language could prove to be essential, and in Quebec many companies will expect an applicant to have extensive knowledge of French. In the Business sector English-French bilinguals are particularly desirable to employers.

Pay and Conditions

Since 2007 the average wage in Canadian dollars has risen by 10 to 15 %. For a detailed explanation of the average salary for particular jobs visit

During your work life in Canada contributions you make to the federal pension plan makes you eligible for pension payment on retirement.

The most common taxes in Canada (which pretty much everyone has to pay) are federal and provincial income taxes. For up-to-date tax rates go to the Canada Revenue Agency website. If you find yourself in need of financial support during a period of unemployment the HRSDC (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) is the governing body who can help.

Top Tips for Finding work in Canada

Be prepared in Advance.

Explore the job market before you move, see what career options most suit you and your qualifications. Be aware that you may need to re-qualify or retrain to be applicable for the position you want. See if there are any skills you possess which are in demand. Make yourself marketable by knowing your market!

Refine your CV, and get it out there.

CV’s are often formatted differently abroad, make sure yours is up to date and formatted correctly for the Canadian market. Get your CV circulating through as many avenues as possible – utilise connections, new neighbours, local amenities etc. Put your CV on job sights and clearly present yourself to your target employers. Ensure you clearly state when you are available to start, and be realistic about how long it will take for you to be in a position to commit yourself.

Ensure that the appropriate Work Permits and VISAs are in place.

Where possible get any and all paperwork out of the way prior to searching for work. Once you have permanent resident status (or are at least in the process of acquiring it) you become a far more attractive prospect for potential employers.

Embrace New Career Opportunities.

When beginning a new career abroad you have to be aware that you may not be able to start work at the level you previously occupied. You may have to take a pay cut or demotion and re-work your way up the career ladder. You may even have to rethink what type of work you wish to do. Don’t be disheartened. The skills you used in your old job might not be in demand in Canada, but maybe they could be differently applied or you could discover new ones!


Starting a new life abroad can be difficult, stressful and lonely. In Canada it can also be super cold. In general the quicker you get to know people the sooner you’ll settle in. Join clubs, or fitness classes, get out and about, socialise. Don’t be afraid of rejection, for every person who tells you to get lost there’ll be someone else who won’t. Hold a party, get to know you’re neighbours and take advantage of every useful contact you meet. Children are great for bringing people together (as long as they’re reasonably well behaved of course). Help your child make friends by signing them up for clubs, and help yourself make friends by dropping them off and picking them up. Joining an expat forum can also be an excellent way of meeting people who’ve been in the same position as you, and they can be an invaluable source of comfort and advice.

Useful Job Sites