Working in Vancouver



British Columbia’s business hub is Vancouver. Although, the number of company head offices is less compared to Calgary and Toronto, Vancouver remains one of Canada’s most prosperous cities.

General Outlook

According to Statistics Canada, 108,700 jobs were created in April 2010, with British Columbia being included in this number. As the gateway to the Pacific Rim, Vancouver is Canada's largest port and ranks first in North America for foreign exports. The Port of Vancouver generates a total of 69,200 jobs. Prominent companies that have headquarters in the city include IBM, Microsoft, Intel, CDC Software, McKesson Corporation, SAP, Kodak, and Ericsson.

The city features an employment rate of 60.2% and an expat population of 45%, with major job industries being in trade, film, natural resources, technology and tourism sectors. Employment opportunities in hospitals, educational institutions, software development and bio-technology are continually increasing. In order to work in the medical field, one needs to have a certified medical license. Currently, job opportunities in demand include construction and medical technology. For more information on international credentials, visit The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) website.

Work Visa and Other Requirements 

When working temporarily in Canada, a work permit is needed, while those who seek permanent residency are not required to obtain a work permit. The employer needs to confirm with the Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) if the applicant is eligible to work in Canada. For more details, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

Business etiquette

In general, business etiquette in Vancouver is the same in any part of the Western world; locals practice shaking hands before and after a meeting, maintaining eye contact while shaking hands, exchanging business cards after initial introduction, and do not often use titles or surnames.

Unlike Toronto, Vancouver is not as work-oriented because Vancouverites have learned to balance work and leisure. Offices in Vancouver are going ‘casual' and no longer require suits. One can certainly go to work in jeans. Nonetheless, professionalism is still expected despite the relaxed work environment.

Working Hours

Standard hours of work vary depending on the industry. When working for the service industry, expect the working hours to be 40 hours per week, where any work beyond 40 hours is considered overtime.


For computer engineers, expected yearly average wage is around CAD$40-$60,000.00 for recent graduates while those with experience get approximately CAD$60-80,000.00 yearly. Most often, salary packages include health and dental insurance.

British Columbia's 2010 minimum wage is set at CAD$8.00 per hour. Presently, the monthly salary earned is C$5,617.



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