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Canada - Finding Employment

With an unemployment rate of just 6.8%, the chances of finding work in Canada are good. There has recently been a surge in job numbers, with 59,000 new jobs having been created in 2016, greatly exceeding the expected 5,000-10,000 increase in jobs predicted by economists. In fact, by 2020, the unemployment rate is predicted to drop to 0%, as the numbers of young workers entering the workforce fail to match the numbers of elderly workers retiring. There will be a predicted 1.8 million jobs going unfilled by 2030.

There is some variation in unemployment rates dependent on location; while British Columbia has a 5.9% rate of unemployment and the Yukon a rate of 5.5%, Nunavut comes in at a rate of 13.5% and Newfoundland and Labrador at 12.0%. Some Western provinces like Alberta and Manitoba have unemployment rates similar to those of top-performing countries such as Norway, whereas in Atlantic Canada unemployment rates are as high as the poorest faring European countries such as Ireland. The unemployment rate is lower for women than for men in all provinces except Saskatchewan.

In order to find a job you should have a work permit, as not having one will severely limit your chances of finding work. A prospective employer can apply for one on your behalf, but more often than not this proves to be more hassle than it is worth for them, as it is a costly legal process. In order to stand a good chance of finding a well-paid professional job you should have a high level of English, and if looking to work in Quebec, a high level of French. You will be particularly in demand if you are bilingual in French and English as many companies have to do business with both French and English-speaking Canada. If you do not speak English well you can still find work teaching your native language privately or in language schools, and the same goes for Quebec; without French you can teach English or whatever language you know well to locals on a private basis or in an academy.

There is a large underground job market in Canada, with many people working without a permit, but this provides no job security and workers run the risk of being found out and deported. This is sometimes the chosen route for those entering the country with no formal qualifications, recognised trade or English or French skills, as often the only employment opportunities they can find involve unskilled manual labour and little necessity to speak the local language. Illegal work is often poorly paid, with employers failing to meet the minimum wage and implement suitable safety standards. Employers hiring illegal workers can be fined up to 50,000 dollars or imprisoned for up to two years.

To work in Canada you will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) which you can apply for on arrival to the country. Once you have this there are many ways to find work if you haven’t already got something lined up before arrival. Employers can be contacted directly to ask if there are any positions going, there are job fairs you can attend, you can look on job search websites and in the classified sections of newspapers, and use employment agencies to help you look for work. You can also look on Job Bank, where up to 2000 jobs are posted every day ( Other websites include, and In order to apply for a job you will usually need a CV and cover letter listing your work experience, qualifications and the reasons why you are best suited to the job.

Volunteering is one way of making contacts, getting Canadian work experience, practising your English or French and finding references which will serve you later on in your search for paid employment. There are some great sites where you can find interesting and diverse projects to work on in Canada, including, and

There are many temporary job opportunities to be found in hotels, bars and restaurants. This work is mostly seasonal, so most opportunities will be found in summer and in the winter ski season (December-April) in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. The fruit-picking season in Ontario, the Okanagan valley and British Columbia runs from July through to March, and is a particularly good option for those needing to brush up on their English skills, or wanting to work outdoors and get a good workout! Au pair work can be a good option for women, as accommodation and board is provided and a moderate wage, allowing you time to settle in to your new town and save money before having to pay rent. The Canadian government runs the International Experience Canada scheme ( providing UK citizens between 18-30 with the opportunity to work in paid temporary employment for one year. BUNAC Work Canada ( also offers a similar programme allowing people to work in the country for up to one year.

Temping office work can be a good option and there are a number of agencies that can aid you in looking for posts, for example There are over 40 Adecco agencies in Canada, and there are all sorts of positions available in areas such as administration, reception, retail etc. It can be easier to secure temping work than permanent contract work at first and it gives you a chance to try a few different jobs and gain experience, references and contacts for your CV.

Useful Resources

Adecco Recruitment Agency

Canada Job Bank

Service Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Business Network International Canada
Tel: 1 800 365 2276
Fax: 1 888 798 9377

Read more about this country

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