The Electricity Sector Council (ESC) is a not-for-profit partnership between business, labour, education and government. Our goal is to develop sector-wide recruitment and retention strategies to strengthen our industry’s ability to build a skilled, safety-focused and internationally competitive work force.
The ESC resource centre is your first-stop information centre on the electricity sector in Canada. Our website offers educational resources, information on finding a career, latest industry trends and links to our partners’ websites.
- Working in the Electricity Industry in Canada
- Before You Come to Canada
- Preparing to Work in the Electricity Sector
- Finding a Job in Canada
- Additional Resources
Whatever your work style or preferred environment, the electricity sector has a job for you!
Approximately 100,000 Canadians are entrusted with generating, transmitting and distributing one of our country's most essential utilities: electricity. Our work powers homes and businesses across the country, fuelling everything from light bulbs and refrigerators to water treatment plants and factory assembly lines. In fact, 4% of the world's electricity supply is produced in Canada.
Over the coming years there will be a shortage of workers in the electricity industry due to an increased demand for electricity and demographic challenges. About 74% of the electricity sector's work force is currently over the age of 40. Once these workers retire, new employees will be needed to take their place. As a result, the electricity industry must replace up to 25,000 people by 2012.
Employment in the Electricity Sector by Age Group (1997–2007)
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey Extract. Total Employment in Canada by Age Group and Gender for NAICS 2211, In thousands. 2007.
With a wide variety of occupations and employers operating in every region of Canada, the electricity sector has one of the most diverse workplaces of any industry! We offer a variety of occupations, including electrician, power system operator, powerline technician, nuclear engineer, industrial technician, and many more. Visit our website for a full list of occupations.
There are many important things you can do to improve your chances of success before you come to Canada.
The Foreign Credentials Referral Office of the Government of Canada provides you with helpful resources, such as the Planning to Work in Canada? workbook. Use this resource to find important information and to develop your job-search plan.
Language skills are important for a successful career in Canada. You will need to prove your skills in English or French. This may require that you be assessed. If you need to improve your language skills, start before you come to Canada.
After you arrive, use the Government of Canada’s free settlement services that include language training, job-search help and, in some cases, job placements.
Your official education, work and identity documents are important. It is much easier for you to gather and organize your documents while still in your home country.
If your documents are not in English or French, you will need to have them translated. Verify which documents and translation services are required for your occupation.
Regulation and Certification
Given the highly technical nature of the electricity industry, many jobs require a licence or certificate to practise. These occupations include:
- regulated professions
- apprenticeable trades
It is important to note that provinces and territories may have different licensure and certification requirements. If you move to a different province or territory after becoming licensed, you may need to apply for a new licence. You can use the Working in Canada tool to find out more.
In Canada regulated occupations, such as electrical engineering, require a professional licence. Regulated professionals are expected to complete several years of university or college education, acquire practical experience in their chosen profession and have successfully completed a licensure examination.
It is important for you to understand how your credentials compare to those of workers in Canada. For example, internationally trained individuals may work as engineers in their home country, but may find that their occupation is classified as a technician or a technologist in Canada. Most technicians and technologists are not regulated by Canadian provincial laws. However, many employers require them to be certified. The Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists (CCTT) is responsible for granting the certificates based on national benchmarks.
Many occupations in the electricity sector, such as machinist and industrial mechanic, are certified trades. In these trades, you may be required to complete an apprenticeship before obtaining your certification. On-the-job training counts for about 80% of apprenticeships. The other 20% of training involves classroom instruction at a designated training institution.
Some certified trades are known as Red Seal Trades. This program enables workers to work in all provinces and territories without having to be recertified.
To find a job in Canada, it is important that you take a proactive approach to job searching. Make sure you understand the skills requirements for your specific occupation. You can find a list of career opportunities and job postings on our website.
In addition, you need to understand the labour market. This will help you determine which region has the greatest demand for people in your occupation.
Based on your research, you may find it necessary to upgrade your skills. With the continual development and implementation of new technologies, it is important that you keep your skills current. Not only do regular skills upgrades help ensure you are versed in the latest safety precautions, they are also an excellent way to set yourself apart for advancement in your organization.