Steps to finding a Job as new immigrant in Canada

There is good news and bad news about finding a job in Metro Toronto. The good news is, because of the size of the city, there are numerous jobs to be had. The bad news is, you must follow a specific method of researching, applying and interviewing for these positions, or else your resume will go into the recycling bin. Luckily, organizations abound from York, North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke to help you with this seemingly daunting quest.

 Finding A Job

The first step in landing a job is finding out what positions are open. Your first stop, then, should be the Career Foundation branch at Lawrance Square, a city-operated career services provider, developing human potencial located in Lawrance Square Mall 700 Ave. West, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It has career counselors that speak a number of different languages.

 Each Assesment Centre has a resource room where jobseekers can view hundreds of job listings on the Internet after an interview with employment consultant, use computers and fax machines to write and send cover letters and resumes to prospective employees and use phones to set up interview appointments. First-time users of the resource room need to attend an orientation, which is held Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Assesment Centre  also provides counseling on writing a resume, finding the right career and finding ESL classes if you need them. For those eligible, the centre offers a printed sheet with a password to get access to some online courses. I myself tried one in FrontPage.

 Another font of job information in North York is the JVS Toronto North Office. Although it does not provide job listings, it helps people, especially immigrants, navigate the job-seeking process in Canada. I got an interview with Dalia Margalit who, says many immigrants don’t know how to write an Canadian-style resume and she help me with editing some misspelling. “They don’t see it as a directed sales pitch; they see it more as a curriculum vitae.”

To that end, the JVS program helps people write resumes, cover letters and perform career exploration, usually on a one-on-one, appointment-only basis. The heart of its program is a series of worksheets called the NES, which list different information sources on one field in particular, such as library science or engineering. NES direct people to websites that list jobs in a particular field and also describe the training process for each career. For more information on JVS, call (416) 661-3010. 

Another way to find a job is through print and electronic media. Hineni Media offer a Job listing through paid subscription but many of the local township and city papers print a range of classified ads for job openings. The Employment News has a selection of good local jobs in its back pages, and Globe and Mail newspaper has a large Help Wanted section in its paper every Sunday, and has listings on the internet . There are also internet sites listing jobs. The largest are and These sites allow you to search by typing in the kind of job you want in any area of the Canada not reliable but are free.  


Two Certainties

“Only two things in life are certain, death and taxes.” This quote is attributed to the famous American writer Mark Twain. While this issue of Employment News can’t help you with the first of the two, it can give you some advice on the second.

 As new immigrant once you enter the workforce in Canada you will have to give up a portion of your income in the form of taxes. Taxes help the government run its various services. There are two basic kinds of work-related taxes: income and social security.

 Canada Revenue  requires that you must withhold by the end of any tax year an amount equal to either 100 percent of the previous year’s tax or 90 percent of the current year’s tax. You do this either through payroll deduction or estimated taxes. As a new immigrant to this country it is recommended you do this through payroll deduction. When you start working for a new employer, he will give you what is called a T-4 form. Essentially, it allows your employer to calculate an amount to withhold from your paycheck so that when it comes time to pay your taxes to the CR in April, you will not have to pay a large amount.

By the end of January, your employer will send you a T-2 form, which will list the income you made and the taxes he took out for the previous year. If you have income from other sources, such as interest-accruing bank accounts or investments, you will also receive similar forms from these institutions. Once you receive all these forms, you will have to fill out what is called a tax return, which must be mailed to the CR by April 15.

A tax return is where you list your allowances (which are usually people in your household who depend on your income), list any income you have made, and compute any amount of money you still owe the CR and to the state. You will have to fill out a tax return for the federal government, as well as one for the state and the City of Toronto. Whatever taxes you calculate are what you must send to the CR. If you have had more taken from you than what you owe, you will get a refund either by mail, or direct deposit.

Taxes are difficult for many native-born Canadian to understand, so you may want to seek out help in doing your taxes for the first time. The city provides free tax preparation services throughout the five boroughs. Call 411 for more information.

“Off The Books”

Unfortunately, many new immigrants take what are called “off-the-book” jobs. This is where your employer has not declared you to the state or federal government. He usually pays you in cash and takes no taxes out of your wages.

Many undocumented immigrants take these kinds of jobs because they fear Canada Citizenship & Immigration  will find out they are in the country illegally. Unfortunately, not paying taxes cheats workers out of numerous benefits.

“When folks work off the books, they’re not paying into Social Security and will not be eligible to receive benefits when they retire,” she said.

Another risk involved in not paying taxes has to do with sponsoring a relative for permanent residency in Canada. You won’t be deemed eligible to sponsor the relative if you cannot show a record of paying taxes.

Also, working off the books means you are not eligible for unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, minimum wage or the right to unionize. It also puts you in a position to be overworked or even abused by your employer.

 Work Visas

The direct way to obtain legal employment in Canada is a work visa.  


There are more than 3 types of work visas that allow immigrants to enter Canada. Generally, they must be obtained before an immigrant arrives, and  all lead to permanent residence. For example, there is the skilled inmigrant visa, which allows an individual with the equivalent of a Canadian bachelor’s degree with highly specialized skills to work in Canada. Another visa, business visa, allows business people making sales, conducting negotiations, and attending meetings to stay in Canada for six months or more.

Work visas are very difficult to obtain because the employer must essentially prove to the government that the immigrant worker can do a job that no Canadian citizen is capable of doing. It involves a lot of paperwork and thus is not much of an incentive to sponsor the employee. Also, these kinds of visas generally go to white-collar employees.

Many immigrants make the mistake of coming to Canada on a  tourist visa and think they can transfer it over to permanent residency. Usually, however, this is impossible, because of the time it takes to get a Resident Card. And if a person overstays their allotted visa time, they may not be permitted to come back to the country for up to 10 years. If you want permanent legal work in Canada, it’s best that you apply for the right category. 

Taxi Driver Physicists

Many new immigrants who come to this country held high-level professional positions in their homelands, such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants. It’s getting harder and harder for these professionals to obtain the same types of jobs in Canada.

In general, Canada. does not easily recognize foreign degrees or certification and may require a new immigrant to get completely re-certified. This takes time and money, something most immigrants don’t have. Thanks to the Personal Responsibility Act and changes to immigration Act, which overhauled the welfare system in this country, many immigrants are not allowed to stay on welfare long enough to support professional re-certification. They have a limited amount of time to receive financial support before they are forced to go to work, usually in menial jobs. Also, only immigrants coming to Canada as refugees or asylum-seekers are eligible for public assistance and even that is only for a short period of time.

In Canada you can take clases and programs to help you learn and perfect your skills if you master the English or French language.

This does not mean it’s impossible to practice the profession in which you were employed in your native country. It just means you might have to take menial jobs and work and study for long hours to do so. Dr. Jessi Lugo, a  Orthopedic practicing in Etobicoke who lives in Missisauga, took a minimum wage job as a nursing aide to quadriplegic people when he first came to  Canada, from his native Philippines.

Eventually she was able to make his way to Canada, where she completed a residency in Orthopedics at the University of York Medical Branch in North end of the city, finished his residency training in Windsor, passed an exam to be licensed to practice in Toronto and later passed an exam to become board-certified in Orthopedic and Rehab.

Lugo’s advice for immigrants with professional backgrounds is to learn English as quickly as they can and to not be too proud to take a menial job.

“Taking any job, even a menial job, is very important in order to help understand life in a new country,” he said. He also cautions against having unrealistic expectations and a sense of entitlement just because one comes to Canada. with a great deal of education. “Canada fair, but you have to work very hard to succeed.”

 You Have Rights 


As a worker in any Canadian City, it is important to know your rights. Employers with four or more employees must obey the Canadian Cities Human Rights Law. According to the law, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against job seekers based on what the employer thinks or knows to be the applicant’s alien or citizenship status and national origin. It is also illegal to discriminate based on race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, disability (including HIV/AIDS), status as a victim of domestic violence, arrest or conviction record, and/or marital status.

Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against in the City of Toronto may file a complaint with the Ontario Humans Rights Commission’s. The complaint must be filed within a year of the last alleged act of discrimination. You must make an appointment to file your complaint. To schedule an appointment, call 416-326-1312 or 1-866-598-0322. If you are unable to travel to the Bureau’s offices, an investigator will take your complaint by telephone.


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