With a high standard of living and famously friendly culture, it’s no wonder recent graduates are drawn to Canada when starting their careers
While you’ll always be able to find a seasonal job in the hospitality and tourism sectors for a bitesize experience of the world’s second-largest country, the competition will be fierce for permanent employment in the metropolitan areas. However, you'll thrive in these areas of vibrancy and variety.
In your down time you'll be able to experience the outstanding wilderness, from the mountains of British Columbia to the world-famous Niagara Falls.
Jobs in Canada
Canada is a wealthy nation, leading the way in many global industries:
- Manufacturing: aerospace technology, cars, machinery and equipment.
- Natural products: agriculture, biofuel production and the mining industry.
- Technology: wireless technologies, software and video game development.
Unsurprisingly Canada is the global maple syrup hub, with 80% of the world’s supply being produced there. Roughly 90% is produced in Quebec alone.
The Labour Force Survey January 2017, conducted by Statistics Canada, shows that overall unemployment in Canada stands at 6.8%, falling from 7.2% since January 2016. Employment is on the rise in Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, while rates are unchanging in Quebec, Alberta and New Brunswick.
A 2014 survey by the Conference Board of Canada pinned Calgary, Ottawa, Waterloo and Toronto as thriving cities to live and work in.
How to get a job in Canada
The majority of job opportunities are posted online. You can start your job search from home on websites such as:
Canadian employers will require a résumé rather than the UK standard CV and covering letter. A résumé is designed to be more concise and tailored to each individual job application. A writing guide, along with downloadable examples, can be found at Settlement.org.
Taking a summer job in Canada is an ideal way to experience what the country has to offer at a glance, fitting an unmissable experience around your studies.
The majority of summer jobs available in Canada are in summer camps or hospitality environments, meaning you'll get a real feel for living and working in Canada and not just the tourist's experience. Some summer work organisations with opportunities in Canada include:
You'll need an International Experience Canada (IEC) working holiday visa to carry out summer work in Canada, which you can apply for online via the Government of Canada.
If you hold a Bachelors degree, are fluent in English and have hands-on teaching experience, becoming an English tutor may be the job for you.
With English being one of Canada's official languages, demand is relatively low for international English teachers. Canadian citizens are at a greater advantage for filling teaching positions, however there are a number of opportunities in Canada's larger cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver, for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certified candidates.
You can search for TEFL job opportunities in Canada at eslbase.
An internship is the perfect way for any student or graduate to immerse themselves in Canadian culture, enhancing their skills and proving themselves to future employers in an exciting environment. In order to complete an internship in Canada, you'll need to secure the correct work permit or visa (see Canadian visas for more information).
If you're looking for an internship in Canada, here are some good places to start:
- BUNAC Vancouver Internship can last up to six months and is aimed at English-proficient students and graduates.
- Latitude International has internship opportunities based in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
- Oyster Worldwide offers volunteering and paid-work programmes overseas.
British citizens don't need a visa to enter Canada, but you'll need to obtain an Electronic Travel Visa (an eTA) to enter Canada by air. Anyone travelling into Canada must do so with the correct travel documents, and must be able to prove that they are:
- financially capable of supporting their trip
- a law-abiding citizen
- medically fit.
To work in Canada, you will need to obtain the appropriate work permit, and this must be done prior to securing a job. If you're planning to be in Canada for more than a few years, you might consider applying for permanent residency.
Canada is officially a bilingual country. It is home to both English and French speakers. Fluency in English will be enough to navigate around the vast majority of Canadian cities and provinces. Quebec is the only officially French-speaking province, although you'll likely be exposed to both languages wherever you're based.
If English isn't your first language, you'll need to prove your proficiency via an accredited online test. The Government of Canada approves two English tests:
- IELTS: International English Language Testing System
- CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program
Explaining your qualifications to employers
As the Canadian higher education system closely resembles the structure of the UK system, many employers will have no trouble understanding your qualifications.
If your job is regulated, you will need to have your credentials assessed. Regulatory bodies vary between provinces and territories. If your job isn't regulated, the eligibility of your qualifications is usually down to the discretion of your employer.
For more information visit the Government of Canada credential assessment or the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC).
Working life in Canada
If you're looking for full-time employment in Canada, expect to be working a 36.6 hour week - the national average as of 2012. The working week runs Monday to Friday, with employees averaging an eight hour working day. The average Canadian net salary in 2016/17 is CAD$53,799 (approx. £30,500), compared to the UK average of £27,000 (approx. CAD$47,700).
The minimum wage in any profession is set by each individual province. Holidays are issued as standard, with workers being entitled to nine paid public holidays, and a minimum of two weeks' annual leave after one year of paid work; this increases to three after six years' service.
The tax system in Canada benefits the lower income brackets, where they're fixed at 15% on any salary below CAD$41,544. In the neighbouring USA, tax rates are already at 25% on salaries upwards of $35,000.
Find out more
Discover what it's like to study in Canada.