Working in Canada



Canada, as one of the leading nations in the world, has an impressive service industry and is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. However, like any developed nation, the ageing population continuously increases.

Statistics Canada reported a decrease in the unemployment rate of 0.3 points to 8.4 per cent in September 2009.The Canadian government gives priority to immigrants with a high level of education. Different provinces in Canada offer different programs to attract more skilled workers.

Prominent industries

Canada's Priority Occupation List (POL) provides a list of sectors in need of resources. Qualified professionals who have experience in the fields of research and engineering, science, technology, finance, and retail can easily land a job in Canada.

Significantly, the Canadian banking sector produces high demands for jobs such as Financial Managers, Accountants, and Financial Auditors. Outstanding foreign workers who have a bachelor’s degree in finance, speak a foreign language, and have a strong work experience in finance, investment and money markets will certainly eclipse the tough competition.

While the IT industry in Canada continues to grow, it has strongly fuelled jobs opportunities for IT professionals such as Computer and Information System Managers. The IT Industry offer salaries that are above or double the national average.

The medical staff is also in demand, especially for registered nurses who are remunerated substantially. Furthermore, the country's ageing population entails more medical staff, pharmacists, dentists and dental hygienists.

In addition, the teaching profession has been a hotbed for employment with a number of university professors reaching retirement. It has opened the door for educators such as professors in College and vocational teachers. 

With the rapid growth of retail outlets in every Canadian town, jobs are also increasing. And although wage is not above average and the cost of living is not exactly cheap, workers are still provided discounts and flexible working hours. Canada's diverse labour market continues to grow, and it is about the right time to make your move and explore the country's job opportunities.

Statistics show that 20% of Canadian jobs are in regulated occupations such as doctors, nurses, lawyers and engineers. The labour shortage of medical and health professionals is growing. Nurses and health aides are in demand and these jobs offer a good salary.

To address skill shortages, temporary jobs are available to foreign workers in Canada. Over 90,000 expats enter Canada yearly. Canadian employers need to confirm with Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) if a foreign worker can fill the position. Detailed information on eligibility and requirements are available online.

Cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal have the highest immigrant populations. Manitoba has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada; known for its agriculture and farming industry, the province is now focusing on biotechnology, natural resources and transportation.

Federal skill worker applications are fast-tracked for applicants with at least one year's continuous experience in one of the 38 occupations tagged as "in demand". More information can be found on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

How to Find a Job in Canada

Once you receive clearance to work in Canada, the biggest challenge is getting a job. Online research is important before migrating.

Canada provides a web-based listing for easy access to job seekers. The Job Bank website lists part-time and full-time work opportunities.

Networking can provide an advantage when looking for a job. Due to time constraints, some job vacancies are not posted online or placed in ads. Instead, the vacancy is circulated internally within a company for employees, associates, family relations and acquaintances.

Canada believes in equal opportunities in all aspects of employment. As a diverse society, Canada protects workers from discrimination.


Compared to the UK and the United States, wages in Canada are lower. Provinces and territories set minimum wages based on the industry and the location.

In general, hourly rates in Canada range from C$8.00 to C$10.00. British Columbia has the lowest minimum wage at C$8.00 (effective Nov. 1, 2001) per hour while Nunavut has the highest in Canada at C$10.00 per hour (effective Sep. 5, 2008).

Working hours are 8 hours per day and 35 to 40 hours a week. Employees are entitled to a full day's rest per week. 

Understanding the tax system in Canada is helpful to expats looking to move to the country. The amount of tax due varies depending on income, the province you live in, and if the place is leased or owned.



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