Job hunt for foreign nationals in Canada

 General Employment

USA and EU nationals can mostly enter and reside in Canada as tourists for up to six months. Those intending to find work need to apply for Employment Authorization from the Canadian High Commission or Embassy whilst still in the USA or UK . Canadian employment laws are particularly strict and if you are found working without authorisation you are highly at risk of deportation. If you are a gap year international student it is worth looking into BUNAC’s ‘Work Canada’ programme or Canada Employer’s database for Int’l Professonals.   Some part  of this scheme is that you are permitted to live and work in Canada for a year, as long as you can show funds of about CAN$1000 (approx. £452), or less if you have already found a job for your arrival in Canada.

Agricultural Work (Seasonal Employment)
The Okanagan valley, British Columbia, and Ontario are home to some of the most promising fruit-picking jobs. Between July and September peaches, apples, pears, and cherries etc. reach their harvesting seasons. Pickers are usually paid depending on how much they can collect. As long as you have authorisation to work in Canada it is worth contacting the Agricultural Employment Service    for information relating to jobs and harvests in the Canadian agricultural sector. Alternatively, AgriVenture recruits workers for five to fourteen month work placements throughout the world, including in Canada. Workers are paid for their labour and are provided with accommodation and food. Those wanting to work with AgriVenture need to be able to fund their own travel and insurance, and require a full driving licence. WWOOF   is a voluntary organisation, placing volunteers on organic farms in various countries.


Currently in most jurisdictions in Canada, the basic requirement to enter the teaching profession is the successful completion of Grade 12 and four additional years of post-secondary education that includes at least one year of professional studies in teacher education. Since there are variations to this basic requirement, candidates should directly contact the relevant certification agency in the province where they wish to teach.

The key work is FRENCH. If you are fluent in French, can get certification to teach here, there are always French jobs being advertised. There is a need for French teachers at all levels. Otherwise, it’s hard to get a full time teaching job.  Ontario is always hiring teachers, however in most parts of the country you would likely start off as a supply teacher and then get long term assignments and eventually get a contract job.  Most medium-sized language schools will accept teachers with a TEFL or TESOL certificate, but in higher education a PGCE will often be required, especially for a long term career.

Get a TEFL or TESOL certificate; but if you’re planning on making a career out if it, it’d be an idea to look into doing a CELTA course or a PGCE (Post-Graduate Certificate in Education). CELTA  (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults).

You will not have to go back to school to retrain if you have a PGCE and a BA in a teachable subject. Primary teaching opportunities are really scarce in BC, Quebec and Ontario – with one exception; remote areas. Declining demographics and city-centred populations are responsible for this. If you can teach French (language or subjects) this is a huge advantage – the demand for French speaking teachers exists in every province, including Quebec.


Canada’s tourism sector offers many opportunities for you to find a job or build a career: over 400 occupations that require varying levels of skill, experience and education. You can find front-line to managerial positions in areas such as sales, marketing, guest services, accounting, guest instruction, entertainment — the list goes on!

Many tourism jobs require transferable skills (the skills learned through past job or career experience) while others may require specific qualifications. You should take the time to prepare to work in tourism by researching the skills and qualifications you will need for a job.   Your preparation for working in Canada also depends on your occupation and where you want to live in Canada. It’s important to get the exact requirements for your occupation in each province or territory. The most common licences and certificates for certain tourism jobs in Canada are a food safety certificate; a gaming licence; responsible beverage services; and a workplace hazardous materials information systems certificate. Some employers may arrange for you to get training and certification through your place of work.

In addition to the licences and certificates that you must have for some tourism jobs, the CTHRC is an organization that offers training and professional certification for some occupations that can help you get a job and develop your career in your chosen tourism field. Available for a fee, emerit tourism training and certification is accepted in every province and territory. Some of this training is online and self-directed and some requires on-site training.

Canada Employer’s database for Int’l Professionals   has a comprehensive list of tourism jobs across Canada.

Othes Seasonal Jobs

Nannying/ Childcare
Canada also has strict employment regulations with regards to childcare positions. Most people wanting to find a placement as a nanny or mothers’ help will need to show qualifications or substantial experience in the field and should expect to dedicate themselves to a family for at least one year. Vacancies can be found in local newspapers. Nannies should anticipate working for up to 45 hours a week, and pay can be as much as CAN$880 (approx. £398) for a month’s work, but this is usually less.

Agencies with seasonal  schemes job opportunities in Canada

World Challenge Expeditions
Work with World Challenge Expeditions is sometimes paid, but is mostly voluntary. Workers are expected to fund their own travel expenses but the 12 month return ticket provided covers six months of work and a further six months of travel. There are currently opportunities for work at the Banff National Park in the Rockies, and the Jasper National Park. These vacancies are in hotels and ski resorts. Workers in hotels help with cleaning, housekeeping in chalets, waitering, and kitchen work. In ski resorts you can find work as housekeepers, kitchen helpers, and janitors. Depending on the busyness of the resort employees are expected to work between 20 and 50 hours per week, and should fund their own accommodation.

GAP Activity Projects Ltd.
GAP run projects across the world for placements of up to eleven months. Volunteers are expected to pay for insurance and registration fees, but are provided with accommodation, food, and pocket money. Placements in Canada take place in Independent Schools, in Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria amongst others where positions include teaching assistants and general classroom helpers. There are many opportunities to help with sports classes and outdoor excursions. There are also projects in L’Arche care communities helping residents, or outdoor placements such as on summer camps. See the GAP website for more details of placements available.

The British Universities’ North America Club is a job organisation specialising in placements for gap year students. The types of work available vary, but include working on holiday camps with children, as a counsellor for example. Those wanting to join BUNAC are required to pay a registration fee, flights, and insurance etc. but can expect to receive a wage for the work they do.

CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) offers work placements in Canada. For gap year students who can show proof of an unconditional offer from a university for the following year the CIEE’s ‘Internship Canada’ is ideal experience in a Canadian workplace. Internships last for up to twelve months and vary considerably in place, content, and payment. However, all internees are required to fund their own living, travel, and insurance, and to pay a £150 registration fee to CIEE.

Camphill Communities run volunteer placements throughout the world, including Canada. Volunteers work in communities with adults with special needs. You will be expected to work for 6 days a week and it is usually preferred that you stay for at least one year. Accommodation is provided for the duration of your stay, but you will have to fund your own meals. WWOOF, already mentioned, is an organisation placing volunteers on work projects on organic farms.


 Marisol Diaz  is  an experienced workshop presenter, Editor-in-Chief, IA and  a SOHO specialist. She also  has been writing on Canada settlement and  immigration law since 2006. contact her @ You can improve your Canada job search through the Canadian database  for Int’l Employers  here ,  an informational services run by Hineni Media

Note and disclaimer: No attorney/client relationship is formed through the submission or viewing of this article. This article is not intended as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney. The facts of every case are different and individualized advice should be sought from an attorney before proceeding with any case.


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