Working in Canada: Administrative procedures and financial considerations

15 June 2021 by National Bank
Working in Canada

Canada is an open and inclusive country that offers immigrants a wide range of job opportunities. The more you know about the financial aspects of working here, the easier it will be to develop your career. Are you planning to immigrate and settle in Canada or are you a newcomer? We have the answers to your questions about your new adventure working in Canada, the administrative procedures involved, and the financial considerations. 

What are the administrative procedures required to work in Canada? 

Make sure you have a Canadian work permit.

You must have legal authorization to work in Canada with temporary or permanent resident status. You must be in good standing based on the visa issued to you. The criteria for a work permit or permanent residency are set out on the official website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. 

Apply for your Social Insurance Number (SIN) 

Your number is personal and confidential. It will be issued to you at a Service Canada office. 

Open a Canadian bank account

For easy access to your money and to simplify your daily life once you move to Canada, you should open a Canadian bank account as soon as possible. Then you’ll be able to transfer funds before you leave, access your money as soon as you arrive, and pay much less in banking fees. What’s more, once you give your new employer a voided cheque from your Canadian financial intuition, your salary can be paid directly into your account.

Arrived in Canada less than 5 years ago?

Learn about our bank account offer for newcomers.

Have your diplomas and professional qualifications recognized in Canada

For certain professions, the Canadian government has signed diploma equivalency agreements with other countries. If such an agreement applies to you, contact your professional order and ask for a certificate to show you are qualified in the province where you plan to work. If you are immigrating as a skilled worker, you’ll need an Educational credential assessment (ECA). 

Have sufficient funds

If you are applying to immigrate as a skilled worker (Express Entry), the federal government will ask you to present proof of funds to the Canadian visa office. 

Start building your credit history

With your consent, your employer might check your credit report. Because some companies might make their job offer conditional on your credit report, it’s important to build and maintain a credit history. The easiest way to do this is to get a credit card issued by your Canadian financial institution.

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Does my work experience count for more than my diplomas? 

Canadian employers tend to favour work experience over diplomas. Most are looking for employees who can get up and running quickly. They will often ask your previous employers for references to verify your skills. 

That said, a diploma can get you a higher salary and can also be taken into account for salary scales. After you’ve been working for a number of years, you won’t be asked for your diploma again. There are also specific and specialized professions that are regulated and require a certain diploma, such as engineering and architecture.

How is my pay calculated and why do I need a payslip?

Your future employer should give you a contract stating how much you’ll be paid, either hourly or as a fixed annual salary. In general, Canadians work between 35 and 40 hours a week. 

Your hours worked, the amount you’ve earned, and the various amounts withheld are listed on a payslip issued by your employer. You should always check it for accuracy. 

Good to know: Depending on your employer, the industry you work in, and your career path, working extra hours can either show that you’re motivated or show that you’re unable to finish your work on time. For an ideal work/life balance, come to a clear agreement with your employer.

Examine all the benefits that come with the job

When you’re looking for work, in addition to the salary remember to consider the benefits: retirement plans, group and prescription drug insurance, vacation time, etc. If your employer doesn’t offer these benefits, you’ll need to arrange for them yourself through an individual RRSP or your own insurance, for example. Sometimes it’s better to accept a lower hourly wage if the benefits are good. 

What is the minimum wage in Canada? 

The minimum wage varies by province. But the law is the same everywhere: an employer cannot offer a job that pays less than the minimum wage for your province, and you cannot accept such an offer. 

How do I know if a job is well paid?

Even if you think you’re earning more or less than in your previous job, your lifestyle might stay the same.  

There might be significant differences in salary from one province to the next, and even from one region to the next. Depending on the city where you live, things like the cost of housing vary greatly, so your purchasing power is not always the same for the same salary. 

To assess a salary, find out about the cost of living in the region you’re moving to. The federal government has a search engine that shows the average salary for each profession, by province.

Should I be employed, self-employed, or a business owner?

Being employed offers more security and financial stability, but working for yourself offers strong potential for growth and more freedom to develop your career. 

A lot of jobs in Canada offer benefits that you will have to pay for yourself if you are self-employed. These include group insurance, retirement plans, paid vacation, etc. 

Are you an entrepreneur at heart? Click the link to find out how you can immigrate as an entrepreneur.

What jobs are in most demand in Canada?

Each province publishes a list of opportunities in a variety of high-demand industries. The federal government has set up a program to help skilled workers immigrate and find jobs in:

  • Healthcare
  • Agriculture
  • IT
  • Transportation
  • Digital technology, SEO, and web analytics
  • Visual effects and video games
  • Construction
  • Specialized trades: day labourers, welders, drivers, electricians, and mechanics

A great way to stand out on the job market in Canada is to develop a specialization. Employers are often looking for candidates with specific skills.

In closing, there are plenty of resources to help you get to Canada and enter the Canadian job market. Seek advice from the experts for the right information and tools, and for support. We’re here to answer your questions.

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