1. What are survival jobs?
Usually, immigrants coming to Canada bring with them enough money for half a year of living expenses. However, there comes a time when the money runs out, and the job which suits your education and qualifications cannot be found. What can you do? You have two choices. The first is asking the government for financial support and the second is finding any job that will provide you with enough money for your daily expenses. Any job that will give you earnings and help you to survive in Canada is called a survival job. It is better to find such a job in an English-speaking environment, and one that is related to your occupation.
If your occupation is related to working with people, you can choose a survival job in the service sector, for example caring for children, the elderly and the disabled, or a security or custodial job. If you have worked in the commerce field, then look for work in shops, restaurants or cafes. Experts in the field of construction can find a job on construction sites. If your occupation is associated with manufacturing, try to find a temporary trade job in plants, factories, etc.
To find a survival job ask your relatives, friends and acquaintances or look at the classified section in newspapers and on the Internet. In the phone book or on the Internet you can find temporary agencies that offer survival jobs. To work in Canada as a refugee claimant you need a work permit and a Social Insurance Number (SIN) card.
2. What is the minimum wage in Canada?
The minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage that an employer is allowed to pay his or her employees. It varies between provinces and is annually revised. In Ontario in 2018 the minimum hourly wage was $14. These figures do not apply to working students, persons who are selling alcoholic beverages, and people offering their services to work at home: their minimum wages are different.
3. I got an assessment of my diploma before immigration. Why should I do it again after arriving in Canada?
Canada isn't the only country which asks immigrants to provide a diploma assessment. It is an international practice developed by UNESCO which is one of the United Nations' commissions. The purpose of diploma assessment in Canada is to determine which Canadian education equivalent corresponds to your foreign education. Diploma assessment made before immigration is used by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Canada to process your status in the country, but after immigrating you have to show your education credentials to an employer to get a job, an educational institution to continue studies, or a regulatory body to obtain a licence, if you have a regulated profession. Sometimes these organizations will not recognize the assessment of your diploma made prior to immigration and will require you to provide a new assessment.
4. Where can I get an assessment of my diploma after arriving?
To determine what Canadian equivalent matches your diploma, you have to contact the International Credential Assessment Service Centre. Services of such centres are usually paid. The Foreign Credentials Referral Office (www.credentials.gc.ca/about/index.asp) will help you to find the appropriate centre. If you have a regulated profession, contact your regulatory body, which sometimes makes the assessment by themselves. Some Canadian organizations accept foreign diplomas, if they get them directly from institutions that issued these diplomas.
5. How can I obtain a licence to operate a regulated profession?
Licences to operate a regulated profession in Canada are issued by organizations called regulatory bodies. They are responsible for issuing Canadian certificates or licences and each regulatory body has its own licensing procedure. Typically, the licensing procedure involves three steps:
The first step is assessment of your educational credentials. If your educational credentials are insufficient, you will be invited to take additional courses.
The second step is verifying your experience in your profession, both abroad and in Canada.
The third step is licensing exams. You can register for exam preparation courses or use the Bridge Program. All licensing services are paid. In the case that you receive a refusal to get a licence, you can appeal the decision.
6. What should I do if I want to change my career in Canada?
Before you decide to change your career:
•Identify clearly the reasons why you want to change your occupation.
•Decide what kind of job you like most.
•Determine to what job you are best suited.
•Choose a new occupation.
•Acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for a new occupation.
•Acquire the experience necessary for a new occupation.
•Find a job that you like.
7. How can I get Canadian experience?
During a job interview, the interviewer often asks immigrants about their Canadian experience.
There are many ways to acquire Canadian experience in Canada. One way to acquire Canadian work experience is working as a volunteer with no salary. In Canada, the volunteer movement is very active. Working as a volunteer on an English-speaking team, you can significantly improve your English skills, learn business etiquette, gain Canadian experience and find new friends as well.
A good way to gain Canadian experience in your occupation is entering the co-operative program. These programs are offered in many educational institutions and Canadian schools for adults. Programs include three months of volunteer work in your chosen field.
The third way to gain Canadian experience is working in practice firms. Students of practice firms perform the same duties as in real companies, although the results of their work are virtual.
Finally, in Canada, there are a number of organizations that offer internships for periods of 3 to 12 months. For example, Career Edge (www.careeredge.ca/en/home) has links to more than 1,000 employers which offer internships for immigrants. If you accept an internship position, you will be given a real full day job for 4, 6, 9 or 12 months, and you will receive a salary that will be paid by the government, but the employer will get your work for free.
8. What are some guidelines for writing a resume?
A resume, for the purpose of employment in Canada, is neither an autobiography, nor a summary of your working history. It would appear that it is a document which follows established rules and conventions, which you use to convince an employer that you are the only candidate suitable for a vacancy and, therefore, he or she has to invite you for an interview. In Canada, there is no universal resume. As in time you change your interests, skills, education and experience, you have to change your resume as well. If you have several occupations, for each of them you have to make a separate resume. To get your resume to work better, you have to customize it to the requirements of each vacancy. Usually your resume should be one or two pages.
To study the rules of resume and cover letter writing in Canada visit relevant workshops and get individual advice by arranging a meeting with an employment consultant who will help you to improve your resume.
9. How should I prepare for a job interview?
An interview is a meeting with an interviewer, who is usually a representative of the company where you want to work. The interviewer's goal is to determine if you are qualified for an existing vacancy and your goal is to convince the interviewer that you are the best candidate.
Often to get a job you have to pass three interviews. The first interview is usually called the screening interview; it is usually held over the phone where you have to answer questions from somebody from the human resources staff or the hiring manager. At the second interview you will meet with the head of the department. Their questions will be more detailed and more information will be provided about job duties. During the second interview, the interviewer will decide whether you will be able to handle the potential job and whether you will fit into the work team. Sometimes the interviewer will ask you to write a test. If the second interview goes well, you can be given a third interview. At the third interview you can talk with the leadership of the company or department, who will clarify your position, your responsibilities and assign you a salary. If the third interview is successful, you will get a job offer. Sometimes, especially for low skills jobs, only one or two interviews are held before hiring candidates.
To prepare for the interview, enrol in an interview workshop at the nearest employment resource centre.
10. Where can I find ads in the visible job market?
Published ads about vacancies, which are available to all job seekers, are referred to as the visible job market. The main source of information on the visible job market is the media: newspapers, magazines, and of course, the Internet. However, you should know that the visible job market in Canada contains about 20% of all job vacancies. The remaining 80% of vacancies are not published and together, they are called the hidden job market. You can find many visible job market ads in local newspapers in special sections called Classified or Career. There are many great opportunities to find a job in the visible job market available through Canadian job search engines on the Internet.