While Canada is regularly acknowledged as being one of the most desirable places in the world to live, there can be differences between Canada and your home country. We have included more information about working and living in Canada below.
Most people need a work permit to work in Canada. If you need a work permit, you may be eligible for either an employer-specific work permit or an open work permit.
Open work permits allow you to work for any employer in Canada, with a few exceptions. The following are examples of open work permits.
Employer specific work permits allow you to work according to the conditions on your work permit, which include the name of the employer and how long you can work for. Most require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The following are examples of employer specific work permits.
When Canadian employers are having difficulty filling job positions with Canadian permanent residents or citizens, Canadian employers may seek to attract temporary skilled workers from abroad to fill those positions.
Candidates who already hold open work permits can search for employment in Canada whilst keeping in mind any restrictions on their work permit.
An employer-specific work permit can only be obtained if the candidate has a qualifying offer of employment from a Canadian employer. An employer-specific work permit is issued on a temporary basis on the condition that the foreign national works for the specific employer who is named on the permit. For most employer specific work permits, the employer must make an application for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to Service Canada to ensure that employing a foreign worker will not have a negative effect on Canada’s labour market.
Once the LMIA has been obtained, an application can be made for a work permit. A work permit will confirm the terms and conditions of the foreign national's stay and work in Canada. These will include job title, name of employer, and the length of time that the foreign national can work in Canada.
A temporary foreign worker is protected by Canada’s labour laws. Each province and territory has an employment or labour standards office that deals with labour and employment laws. They can advise about fair pay, hours of work, rest periods, working conditions and provide other services. For more information on your rights, IRCC has many helpful links located here and here.
Moving to Canada can be a big change. It is your responsibility to check the cost of living of your intended destination in Canada. There are numerous resources online to help you with this, which are linked at the bottom of this secion.
Bear in mind that even if you earn a higher salary in Canada than you were earning in your home country, the cost of living in Canada may be higher than you are used to.
Be aware that most Canadians spend 35% to 50% of their income on housing and utilities, including rent, heating, and other utilities. Rental costs vary across cities and across Canada and usually cost less outside large cities. As a tenant, you have rights and obligations. You can get more information on rights and obligations that apply in each province or territory. You can find more information about household spending per regions and provinces here.
For most jobs in Canada, pay cheque deductions can reduce your pay by as much as 25% to 35%. Your employer should make these deductions and your pay cheque will show how much money has been deducted for each item. Canada also adds sales taxes to many of the goods and services you buy, and additional sales taxes are decided by the provinces and territories.
Certain countries' licences may be exchanged for a Canadian driver's licence once in Canada. However, each province has its own rules. If you are not able to exchange your licence, some provinces allow you to get credit for previous driving experience. Others will require you to start the process from the beginning to get your Canadian licence.
It is the law that all cars must be insured and registered with your provincial or territorial government. This is another cost to consider. Additionally, you may be driving in new types of weather and in new places, such as in winter or on multi-lane highways.
Canada has a publicly funded health care system. The provinces and territories administer and deliver their own health care services. Your employer may provide you the option of supplementary health benefits. However, there may be a three-month wait before you are eligible. Make sure you check your requirements as you may need to purchase private health insurance. Do not assume that you will be covered.
You must find out if your spouse is eligible for a spousal open work permit and if your children are eligible to study in Canada. Generally, the government provides a primary and secondary education for every child free of charge. Depending on the province or territory, public education begins at age four or five.