Canada’s a lovely place, but getting a job in Canada isn’t as straightforward as you might wish (unless you’re actually Canadian). It’s not that there aren’t any vacancies, the obstacle is getting a visa that will entitle you to work there.
The good news is that, even if it’s not easy, it’s certainly possible, and there are plenty of options to look into.
Here’s our guide to help you understand what’s involved in working in Canada…
What kind of jobs are there in Canada?
Despite its image in the popular imagination as a vast natural landscape exporting endless logs across the border to the chagrin of President Trump, most of Canada’s economic industry is not based on agriculture. In fact, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting combined generate about 1.5% of Canada’s GDP.
Nor do most people work extracting things from the ground, although it’s true that, thanks to its rich reserves of oil and gas, Canada is one of the few developed nations that is a net exporter of energy. These large oil and gas resources are mostly in Alberta and the Northern Territories, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. But again, this activity accounts for just a fraction of Canada’s economic output.
No, disappointingly, some three-quarters of Canadians work in the service sector which accounts for 70% of GDP and this is where most of the jobs are.
The skills most in demand in Canada
Canada’s economy has been doing rather well over the last few years but businesses are finding it difficult to enjoy the boom as there simply aren’t enough skilled people to resource the expansion.
Finding the right visa to allow you to work in Canada
Depending on your situation and your aspirations, there are several ways to approach solving the knotty problem of how to become eligible to work in Canada:
Temporary work visa
Agricultural workers, business people and careers are among those who can readily apply for a temporary work permit. If you can fix up a job before you go, you can apply for an employer-specific work permit. Open work permits entitle you to work for just about anyone apart from those employers who ‘regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages.
Skilled and looking to live in Canada permanently?
If you’re looking to move to Canada permanently and have the right skills, the Express Entry scheme could be for you. People with skills and experience in management, professional, and technical trades who are successful are placed into a pool of
pre-approved applicants from which businesses can pluck the individuals they like the look of to help fill their skills gaps.
The Start-up Visa Program connects Canadian business organizations with immigrant entrepreneurs who have the skills and potential to build innovative businesses in Canada. With the support of a designated organization, immigrant entrepreneurs can apply for permanent residence in Canada and launch their start-up there. Designated organizations include venture capital funds, angel investor groups and business incubators that have been approved to support these start-ups.
Self-employed artists and athletes
The seemingly random Self-Employed Persons Program is for people wanting a self-employed life in Canada in either the arts (‘cultural activities’) or athletics. You must have relevant experience working yourself. You can’t be in a hurry, though, as this process can take two years.
If you speak French, it’s worth looking to the province of Quebec which has its own separate immigration service
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot helps businesses in four provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) to find people to fill the jobs they can’t find local people to do.
Adapting your CV for Canadian employers
First, cross out ‘CV’ and put ‘Résumé’.
Canadian employers tend to value succinctness over thoroughness and facts over gush. The horrendous trend for ‘personal statements’ and the like has yet to sweep Canada.
Your main qualifications (professional and/or academic)
A summary of your career so far. This should focus on your achievements in each role, not your duties
Include a section on work experience if you have just started out and don’t have much paid work experience
Your education and training history
If you have taken part volunteer work, do include a section summarizing what you’ve done. Canadian employers think well of people who give up their time to help out worthy causes
Do customize your résumé to suit the job you’re applying for
Don’t list your hobbies and interests unless they are relevant to the job
Don’t include references