Employment & Business Start-up

Work in Canada

Finding work is a main priority for many newcomers. Getting a job that matches your qualifications and interests is one of the biggest challenges of settling in Canada. For many people, the first job in Canada may not be the most satisfying. It may take time to build your qualifications and gain Canadian experience before finding the job you really want.

To work in Canada, you will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) issued by Service Canada on behalf of the federal government. You should apply for a SIN immediately after you arrive in Canada. 

Understanding how your education and work credentials are recognized will help you adapt to life and work in Canada. Foreign credential recognition is the process of verifying that the education, training and job experience you obtained in another country are equivalent to the standards established for Canadian workers.

Things you need to know:

  • Qualifying to immigrate to Canada does not mean that your education, work experience and professional credentials are automatically recognized in Canada.
  • Working in some jobs in Canada, including certain trades, may require a licence. To get a licence, you will need to have your credentials recognized.
  • You can start the credential assessment and recognition process before you arrive in Canada.
  • Getting your credentials recognized takes time and costs money.

Federal government has a Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO). The FCRO provides information on how you can get your credentials recognized in Canada. This information is available on the FCRO website at www.credentials.gc.ca or from Service Canada (call 1-888-854-1805 or visit a Service Canada Centre in person).   

Job Hunting Resources

There are many useful starting points for information and support when you begin your search for a job in Canada. 

Website www.workingincanada.gc.ca contains detailed information on all aspects of working in Canada. It includes the Working in Canada tool which provides specific information (about skills and qualifications requirements, licence and certification, wages, job opportunities and much more) on over 500 occupations available in Canada.

Service Canada is a federal government department that provides information on many topics, including information on searching and applying for jobs. It also maintains a large database of jobs currently available across Canada. These resources are available online at www.jobbank.gc.ca or by calling or visiting a Service Canada Centre in your city or town (visit www.servicecanada.gc.ca). 

Your province’s or territory’s website for newcomers is another good source of employment information. You can find a list of provincial and territorial websites for newcomers in the section on Sources of information.

Immigrant-serving organizations can guide you in all aspects of searching for employment in Canada and help you with any step in the process. You can find addresses and contact information for immigrant-serving organizations across Canada at www.cic.gc.ca/english/ newcomers/map/services.asp.

Resume Writing 

As a newcomer, making a personal impression is vital to increase your chances to land a job. Employers get thousands of resumes every day from job seekers. Many newcomers simply send out the same resume to every recruiter. But a cover letter would help job seekers to provide information of one’s assets other than their experience in the Canadian job market.

A good cover letter will give the employer an excellent first impression. 

An excellent first impression begins with addressing the employer directly. Take the time to look through the job post, email, or even call to get the name of the hiring manager. Addressing a cover letter with the name of the hiring manager immediately improves your chances of standing out. 

Start by reviewing the job post and considering the main skills a successful candidate needs. Choose two to three specific examples from your previous work/volunteer experience that demonstrates those skills. After every example, explain how it will allow you to help the company achieve its goals. Also, take a few sentences to explain how the company can help you as well. This will help employers relate to your ambitions and goals as a job seeker. Finish the letter by leaving your contact information and thanking them for their time. 

Job Interview

A job interview gives the employer a chance to meet you and ask questions to see if you are right for the position. The interviewer may ask questions about how you dealt with specific work situations in the past. To prepare for these questions, think about examples of how you solved problems, achieved results and worked with others in your previous jobs. 

In addition to asking about your qualifications, an interview is an opportunity for employers to see how you communicate and present yourself . Keep in mind that the interview is also a chance for you to learn more about the position and to decide whether you are interested in working for that organization. However, you should do some research in advance, so that you can demonstrate knowledge of the organization during your interview.

Starting a Business

Some newcomers may decide to start their own business. Canada Business is a government information service for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Canada Business brings together federal, provincial/territorial and local information about programs, services and business tools that are available to help you. 

You can find this information online at www.canadabusiness.ca, by calling the Canada Business information line at 1-888-576-4444 or by visiting a Canada Business service centre in person (see the website for locations). You may need financial assistance to start a business. 

Through the Canada Small Business Financing Program, the federal government makes it easier for small businesses to get loans from financial institutions. For more information, visit www.ic.gc.ca or call 1-866-959-1699. The municipal government in the city or town where you live is another good source of information and support for starting a business. Visit your city’s municipal website and look for the section on business. 

Canadian Work Experience

Having Canadian work experience is often an advantage when looking for a job in Canada. One way of gaining this experience is by volunteering or accepting an internship in your field of work. 

Volunteering and internships can help you:

  • Gain Canadian work experience to put on your résumé;
  • Develop your knowledge of the Canadian Workplace;
  • Improve your English or French; and
  • Meet people and develop a network of contacts that can help you find work opportunities or provide you with references. Volunteering is also an excellent way to get involved in your new community and help people in need. For more information on volunteering, visit www.volunteer.ca. In many communities, there are also employment bridging programs for professionals in certain sectors. These programs help newcomers gain Canadian work experience, learn workplace English or French and understand workplace culture. They also help newcomers understand how to get their credentials recognized and get professional licenses.