Section C – Finding a job in Canada
- Step 1: Occupation
- Step 2: Is this a regulated occupation?
- Step 3: Who regulates?
- Step 4: Will I need to be certified or licensed or registered?
- Step 5: Getting certified or licensed or registered
- Step 6: Main duties
- Step 7: Education and Job Requirements
- Step 8: Wages
- Step 9: Outlooks and prospects
- Step 10: Job opportunities
- Step 11: Continuing education and training information
- Step 12: Other jobs
- Step 13: Other jobs not in my field
- Step 14: Action
- Step 15: Prepare a résumé and cover letter
- Step 16: Prepare for a job interview in Canada
- Step 17: Volunteering
- Step 18: Start your own business
This section will help you understand all you need to do to find work in Canada. It provides you with essential steps to help you learn how to find and get the job you want in Canada. This process will take time, but completing each task below as thoroughly as possible will give you and your family members the best chance to achieve your career plans.
You may need Canadian work experience
Canadian employers, who often do not know how to assess education and work experience from other countries, may require or prefer you to have experience working in Canada. Getting that experience is one of the biggest challenges for newcomers.
Meeting people, getting advice, networking and volunteering are good ways to overcome this challenge, but it still may take time to get your first job in Canada.
To complete this section, first create your Working in Canada Report.
To learn more about employment standards, minimum wage, holidays, health and safety in the workplace, workplace equality, racism-free workplaces and Canada’s laws against discrimination, consult the Employment Standards section of the Labour website.
Knowing the proper Canadian name for the job (occupation) you want can help you avoid confusion with employers. To help you, Working in Canada provides job descriptions, other names for jobs, and other titles within your occupational group.
There are two types of occupations in Canada:
- regulated (including trades) and
Review the Education & Job Requirements section of your Working in Canada Report. If your job is REGULATED, continue to Step 3. If your job is NON-REGULATED, proceed directly to Step 6.
If you want to work in a regulated occupation and use a regulated title, you must have a licence or a certificate or be registered with the regulatory body for your occupation in the province or territory where you plan to work.
About 20 percent of Canadian jobs are in regulated occupations. Each regulated occupation sets its own requirements for obtaining a licence or a certificate, usually through the provincial or territorial regulatory body or professional association. These jobs are regulated to protect public health and safety and to ensure that professionals meet the required standards of practice and competence.
If your occupation is non-regulated, employers will be interested in learning about your competencies, education and work experience to decide if you are suitable for a job. This information can be summarized in a résumé or Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) Employers may also be interested in the Canadian equivalency of your international educational credentials. A provincial credential assessment agency can assess your credentials for a fee.
Review the Education and Job Requirements section of your Working in Canada Report and take note of the name and contact information for the regulatory body or apprenticeship authority for the job and the province or territory you have chosen. This organization has information about the licensing, certification or registration that you need in order to work in that province or territory in that job. Write the name of the organization (or organizations) that regulates your occupation and the contact information for each, including the website address.
Regulated occupations are also called professions, skilled trades or apprenticeable trades.
Licensing requirements can differ in each province and territory. To find out if there is an advantage to choosing one destination instead of another, compare the licensing requirements for different provinces and territories.
In some regulated occupations, you can work in that field but you cannot use the regulated title. For example, you can work in accounting or finance but to use a regulated title, you must be a member of one of the organizations that regulates accountants in Canada.
Regulatory bodies are not labour unions or technical societies for members of a particular profession. They are also not employment agencies. They exist primarily to protect the public from the unsafe practice of a profession.
Consult the Education & Job Requirements section of your Working in Canada Report and review the licensing, certification or registration requirements for your occupation. (If the licensing process is not explained in your report, consult the regulatory body’s website).
List the requirements for registration, licensing or certification to work in that job in that province or territory and note whether you are qualified or not qualified, or whether you will need more information.
Compare your qualifications to the requirements for licensing, certification or registration to work in that job in that province or territory.
Find out whether there are Occupation Facts for your profession. These will tell you what you can do while you are waiting to come to Canada, guide you through the process of foreign credential recognition and outline the general requirements you must meet to work in your profession in Canada.
List information about examinations that you will have to pass.
Plan what you need to do to meet the requirements for licensing, certification or registration to work in that job in that province or territory. For each examination you must pass, make a list of the following:
- What you have to have (or do) to be eligible to write the examination;
- How to prepare for the examination; and
- The dates and locations for the examination.
You may need to go back to school to take more courses in order to be licensed to work in your occupation.
For each requirement that you currently do not meet, list the:
- Steps you need to take to meet the requirement;
- Details of when and how you will meet the requirement; and
- Estimates of the cost and how long it will take you to meet each requirement.
Make a schedule that shows the sequence of actions you will take.
Review the main duties in your Working in Canada Report and list the main duties for that job in the city and province or territory you have chosen.
Review the Education & Job Requirements section of your Working in Canada Report and list the requirements for that job. List the key requirements and note whether you are qualified or not qualified, or whether you will need more information.
Review the Wages section of your Working in Canada Report and note the typical hourly wage for that job in the city and province or territory you have chosen.
You may also wish to find out about employment standards and labour laws in Canada.
Review the Outlook section of your Working in Canada Report to see what your chances of getting different jobs are in a specific location or across Canada.
Make a list of potential employers by:
- reviewing the Jobs section of your Working in Canada Report where you will see current job opportunities related to the occupation you have chosen and listed in Canada's National Job Bank for the city you chose to live in;
- visiting Job Bank;
- visiting Working in Canada;
- visiting Service Canada’s Finding a Job page to help you find a job in Canada, create a résumé, choose a career, assess your skills and more;
- searching the “Help Wanted” sections of national or local newspapers;
- searching the Internet for “Jobs” and the name of the city and province or territory you wish to live in;
- use social networking; networking is the way to search for jobs in Canada’s hidden job market. It is an effective way to tell a lot of people that you are looking for work;
- searching for potential employers;
- learning about Canada’s Top 100 employers;
- visiting other online job search resources.
Bridging programs can help you prepare and succeed in the licensing or certification process and in integrating into the Canadian workplace.
Bridging programs offer different services that could include an assessment of your education and skills, courses, practical or workplace experience, preparing you to take an examination for a licence or a certificate, language training for your profession or trade, individual action and learning plans to help you identify training you may need.
Contact the professional association or regulatory body for your profession, or a local immigrant-serving organization, to find out about programs available in the area where you plan to live.
You may also find a potential employer by asking an immigrant-serving organization about a “Job Search” training session or workshop or by asking for information from the Service Canada Centre in your community. Names and contact information for more immigrant-serving organizations can be found through an Internet search for “Canadian immigrant-serving organizations.”
You might want to track the following information for potential job opportunities:
- Potential Employer
- Job Title
- Skill Requirements
- Languages Required:
- Contact Information
Formal training in the field you are interested in might help you find work. Consider going back to school to obtain a diploma or certificate, upgrade your education or complete a training program. You may also wish to know about opportunities to continue your education in a field other than the one you intend to work in when you arrive in Canada.
There are several ways that you can research the continuing education and training opportunities available to you in Canada to qualify to work in the job you want in the city and province or territory you have chosen.
- Review the Education & Job Requirements section of your Working in Canada Report.
- For regulated occupations, the Education & Job Requirements section of your report has information on the required education as well as links to the websites of professional regulatory bodies and apprenticeship agencies, where you may find more information.
- Visit Training and Careers.
- Visit the Red Seal Program to find out about the 49 skilled trades in Canada (for example: welder, bricklayer, hairstylist, tile setter).
You might want to track the following information:
- Program Name
- Contact Information
NOTE: Information on continuing education, training or study programs in a specific area may change or not always be available. Please check Working in Canada regularly for updates.
If you plan to work in a regulated occupation, it may take some time to complete all the actions in the plan you outlined in Steps 4 and 5. In the meantime, you may want to find out about other types of jobs so that you have more options for working in Canada. These alternative jobs may or may not be related to your current job or your skills and education.
Since it takes time to get licensed in your profession, you may need to work in a job related to, but not in, your profession while you wait for your licence. Working in a related job will give you an opportunity to:
- Earn money while your credentials are being assessed
- Use your knowledge and skills
- Learn work-related language
- Get Canadian work experience
- Connect and network with other professionals
You may decide to stay in an alternative job or, if the alternative job is related to your current job, use this experience to help you get licensed in your original occupation.
- Review the information in the Jobs section of your Working in Canada Report.
- If you plan to work in a regulated occupation, you may wish to contact the organizations listed in Step 3 and ask their advice.
- List other jobs for which you may be qualified, or which you would like to have. Then complete additional online Working in Canada reports to find out if these other jobs are regulated or non-regulated.
- You can also get help at a Service Canada Centre. Find a centre near you in your Working in Canada Report or by visiting Service Canada.
- Join work-related associations so that you can meet people who might have good advice for you.
There are many Service Canada Centres across Canada. Each centre offers a range of services for federal departments and agencies, other levels of government and community service providers. Examples of services offered include applying for employment insurance, a passport and a Social Insurance Number.
You may want to consider working in a job that is not related to your profession if:
- You are interested in changing careers
- Job opportunities in your profession are not available
- You need to find any kind of job immediately
- Your credentials are not equivalent to Canadian standards or it would take too much time, effort and money for you to meet the standards
- List other jobs NOT in your field for which you may be qualified and then complete additional Working in Canada reports to find out if these other jobs are regulated or non-regulated.
- If you are in Canada, you may also contact a Service Canada Centre in the city or province or territory in which you live to make further inquiries.
- You can find other contact information in your Working in Canada Report.
If yours is a regulated occupation, it can take a long time to get licensed, registered or certified if you were trained and educated outside of Canada. You might want to work in a non-regulated occupation in your field first. This can be a good way to use your skills and get Canadian work experience.
Plan what you need to do to meet the requirements to work in that job in the city and province or territory you have chosen.
Use the information in Step 7 for each requirement that you do not meet or that you need to improve.
Estimate the cost and how long it will take you to meet each requirement.
Make a schedule that shows the sequence of actions you will take.
In Canada, a résumé or curriculum vitae (CV) is an important tool in the job-search process. Along with a cover letter, it tells an employer who you are, what you have done, what your qualifications are and why you want the job.
The style used for résumés in Canada might be different from what you are used to. For example, you should not include personal information such as age, marital status, gender, religion, Social Insurance Number (SIN), political affiliation or immigration status. You can prepare a great résumé while you are still in your home country. To learn more about writing a résumé and preparing a cover letter, visit the following websites:
NOTE: You will need to create a free account with a user name and password to access the Résumé Builder section of the Job Bank website.
You may also ask an immigrant-serving organization about a “résumé writing” training session, workshop or service. Names and contact information for more immigrant-serving organizations can be found through an Internet search for “Canadian immigrant-serving organizations.”
An interview is a meeting between you and your potential employer, often with set questions and answers. An employer will often interview several qualified applicants for a job.
Some interviews may include a multiple choice test. To learn how to prepare for this type of test search the Internet for “multiple choice test tips”.
You can learn more about how to prepare for a job interview by:
- visiting “How do I prepare for an interview?”;
- visiting Job Bank; and
- visiting Careers in the federal public service.
The term “volunteering” means performing a service willingly and without pay. Working as a volunteer can help you:
- get Canadian work experience;
- practise English or French;
- build your network of contacts;
- make friends and meet Canadians;
- find someone who will be a reference for you; and
- show potential employers that you are a hard worker.
Learn more about how volunteering in Canada can help you find a job by:
- searching the Internet for “Volunteer” and the name of the city;
- asking for more information from an immigrant-serving organization. The names and contact information of more immigrant-serving organizations can be found through an Internet search for “Canadian immigrant-serving organizations”; and
- visiting Volunteer Canada for an overview of volunteering.
Make a list the volunteer opportunities in Canada that are of interest to you.
If you are thinking of starting your own business in Canada, you will need a detailed business plan. You can learn more about starting a business in Canada by:
- visiting the multilingual website Invest in Canada;
- visiting Canada Business which has information about starting a business in Canada;
- searching the Internet for “Small Business” and the name of the city; and
- asking for more information at an immigrant-serving organization. The names and contact information of more immigrant-serving organizations can be found through an Internet search for “Canadian immigrant-serving organizations”.
Before you continue:
- Do you want to learn more about other jobs?
- Do you want to learn about jobs in other locations in Canada?
If so, complete another Working in Canada Report by changing the occupation, the location, or both, and then fill in another copy of this workbook. You can then use different reports and workbooks to compare options. For example:
- Is there a location where your occupation is not regulated and you do not need a licence before starting to work?
- Is there a city or a region with a greater demand for the types of jobs that match your qualifications?
If not, continue and complete the other sections of the workbook.