Understanding the Canadian Work Place for New Immigrants

The Canadian Work Place

When you are new to Canada, finding a job is an important part of establishing a comfortable life for you and your family. The two biggest barriers for immigrants to employment in Canada are lack of Canadian work experience and limited English language ability.

Why do Canadian Employers Insist on Canadian Work Experience?

When employers consider hiring new immigrants they struggle with knowing how to evaluate your overseas education as well as your previous work experience outside of Canada.

They might also wonder if your English ability is strong enough to communicate with other team members in the organization and with customers –either verbally or in writing. Another question is about your fit into their corporate culture. If you are on a temporary Work Permit, employers might also worry that you may choose or be forced to go back to your home country if you are not successful with your application for residence.

How Can You Respond to these Barriers?

Gaining some practical experience as a volunteer, an intern or a temporary employee is very helpful and will also provide you with a Canadian work reference. Studying in Canada and getting your credentials assessed and working toward gaining equivalent status in Canada for your credentials are also great ways to help you get over the barrier of not having a Canadian background.

Researching the Canadian Labour Market

Before you arrive, find out what is needed to work in your chosen occupation in Canada. There is lots of research you can do online before you even land in Canada.

Often there are educational and licensing requirements to be met for many jobs, especially in professional services and trades. There is also the issue of demand for your occupation. It is not easy to know when there will be growth or a drop in available jobs in your industry. However, you will want to do this research as you plan your career in Canada.

Here are some great resources for finding out information about the labour market and current employment opportunities in Canada:

  • Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, www.hrsdc.gc.ca, is a great site to get labour market information.
  • Another good site for labour market research, especially in regard to jobs, wages and qualifications in Canada is Working in Canada.
  • Each provincial government also has sources of labour market information on their website. For example, Manitoba has the following LMI page that includes a high level overview of the labour market, “Manitoba’s Labour Market”, as well as very informative “LMI Publications” section. Check individual provinces for government released labour market information.
  • The job posting site, indeed.ca, also has some great labour market research functions. You can look at “employment trends” to see which areas are growing. Clicking on one of the industries will give you a view that drills down into the details and provides deeper geographic information.
  • Search for labour market information by sector as well. For example, the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada.
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