Finding a Job

At first you may find it difficult to get work that matches your skills. It may also be difficult to find a job that pays as much as you want until you get Canadian experience. Try not to be discouraged. When the right job does come along, you will have the benefit of that previous experience. When you apply for a job in Canada, the employer will want some information about you. Bring a list of your education and work experience (a résum?. Also bring letters of reference from your former employers, your professional degrees and trade certificates. You may be asked to provide English or French copies of these documents. Remember that certain trades or professions are regulated, which means that you must be licensed, registered or certified to practise them. In other words, you must meet certain standards which are set by the organization responsible for your profession in the province where you plan to work. The standards vary from province to province. So even though you may be qualified in another country, your qualifications must meet Canadian standards for you to be licensed to practise.

If you cannot speak the language used by the employer, ask a friend to interpret for you, or get a translator through an immigrant-serving organization. You might also want to ask about job finding clubs, about workshops, and about getting help with preparing a résum?or writing a letter. These services are often provided by immigrant-serving organizations themselves or by the province.

Human Resources Development Canada offices

Many jobs are posted either on billboards or on self-serve computers at your local Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) office. The Canadian government runs HRDC offices throughout Canada. They provide information and services for people looking for work. Some offer free use of computers, printers, the Internet, telephones, fax service, and resource libraries. They may offer workshops on how to prepare a résum?or look for work, as well as computer training and other courses. HRDC also runs the Job Bank, and the Electronic Labour Exchange (ELE), an Internet site that matches jobs to people and people to jobs. Employers use the exchange to 24?advertise a job and you can use it to advertise your skills to thousands of potential employers. The Internet address for this site is You may be able to use the Internet free of charge at some HRDC offices. There are several “sites?which may be useful, such as “Worksearch.?This is an easy-to-use site which can help you with all aspects of looking for work. The Internet address for this site is You can find the nearest Human Resources Development Canada office listed in the blue pages of the telephone book, under Human Resources Development Canada.

Many jobs are listed in newspapers. Look in the classified advertisements section under “Help Wanted?and “Careers? There may also be a separate career section in the weekend paper.

Libraries are also helpful. They have books on how to find a job or write a résum? and they often keep directories of businesses across Canada or in your area. These publications can help you to find information about potential employers. Their “periodical?section will also have copies of various weekly magazines which provide new listings of jobs across Canada. You can also access the Internet at most public libraries. Ask for more information at the reference desk.

“Networking?is also a popular way of finding a job in Canada. This means contacting all the people you know, including your friends and relatives, and letting them know you are looking for work. This may help you to find a job which is not actually advertised anywhere. Job-finding clubs run by immigrant-serving organizations may also be useful.

There are also private job placement agencies which may be able to help you find permanent, temporary or contract work. Remember that since employers pay a fee to use these agencies, your salary may be somewhat lower than it would be if you found the job by yourself. These agencies are listed in the yellow pages of the telephone book. Look under “Employment Agencies.?

Documents and foreign credentials

You may need Canadian qualifications to work at a licensed trade or profession. You may have to write an examination or work as a trainee to qualify. The requirements vary from province to province and from profession to profession. You might want to contact the national and/or provincial association which looks after accreditation in your profession or trade. You can also contact the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials, or other international credentials evaluations services. These are listed in the pamphlet Key Information Sources at the back of this brochure.

Employers have the choice to pay their workers every week, every two weeks or once a month. You can be paid in cash, by cheque or by direct deposit to your bank account. Your pay stub (the piece of paper attached to your paycheque) shows how much you earned. It also lists any money taken off (deductions) for federal and provincial taxes, pension plans, employment insurance, and any other items.

Working for yourself

More and more Canadians are working for themselves and running home-based businesses. You too might want to join this fast-growing group of entrepreneurs and go into business for yourself, or with a partner. Numerous information resources are available to you.

The Canadian Bankers Association offers a free publication entitled Starting a Small Business. This contains most of the information you will need at the beginning. You can order this by calling their toll-free number: 1-800-263-0231. The Business Development Bank of Canada also provides a book for newcomers interested in working for themselves, called Starting a Business in Canada: A Guide for New Canadians. They also offer management training, counselling and planning services for entrepreneurs. Call their toll-free number for more information: 1-888-463-6232 or visit their website at Canada Business Service Centres provide a central resource for Canadian business information, especially government information. You can find them in every province, and territory. They offer service on the Internet, or you can speak directly to a business information officer. To find the Canada Business Service Centre nearest you, look in the blue pages of your telephone book under the federal government.?The Small Business Loans Act helps small businesses get loans from banks and other lenders. Contact Industry Canada in the federal government listings in the blue pages of your telephone book for more information.

Business and travel

Although the Canadian government realizes that travel is often part of doing business, you may lose your permanent resident status if you stay outside of the country for more than 183 days in a year. Before you leave for business, you should check with a CIC Call Centre.

If you are an entrepreneur who has been admitted to Canada on certain conditions, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will check to see how your business is doing. The Department will also provide special counselling services to help you. If after two years you have not fulfilled the conditions under which you were admitted, you and your dependants may be asked to leave. Remember, this only applies to those who come in as entrepreneurs under certain terms and conditions.


When you do find work, you must remember that it is illegal in Canada to leave children under the age of 12 at home by themselves. You may need to pay someone to look after your children while you work. There are several options you can look into, such as licensed day care centres, home-based day care, nursery schools, and “drop-in? day care centres. You can also hire someone to come into your home and look after your children. Look in the yellow pages under “Day Nurseries?or “Day Care.?Also check the classified advertisements section of the newspaper under “Employment Wanted?to find a caregiver in your area.

Labour laws and human rights

In Canada there are provincial and federal labour laws designed to protect employees and employers. These laws set minimum wage levels, health and safety standards, hours of work, maternity leave, annual paid vacations and provide protection for children. There are also human rights laws which protect employees from unfair treatment by employers based on sex, age, race, religion or disability.

You also have the right to join a labour union in Canada. Unions negotiate wages, hours of work and working conditions. Union fees will be deducted from your salary.

If you feel you are being treated unfairly by your employer, you may seek advice and/or assistance from an officer of the Ministry of Labour in the province where you work. You can also contact the Canadian Human Rights Commission or a Human Resources Development Canada office, where you can talk to a federal government labour affairs officer.


You might wish to help out in an agency or community organization as a volunteer. This means that you volunteer your time but you do not get paid. However, volunteering can help you develop Canadian job experience, get a practical knowledge of the Canadian workplace, practise your English or French and make new friends, as well as help others. You can find volunteer centres in the yellow pages of your telephone book, or contact your local community agency.

Host Program

An example of volunteering is the Host Program. The Canadian government funds the Host Program to help newcomers adapt, settle and integrate into Canadian life. Host volunteers are Canadians who offer their time to be with newcomers and introduce them to the Canadian way of life. As well as practising English or French with you, he or she could talk to you about community services, go with you on your first visit to a community resource centre, and show you how to participate in your new community.