Working in Canada

20 Sept 2023, 12:14

Thinking of emigrating: here's what you need to know about living, working and looking for a job in Canada.

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Relations between Ireland and Canada are close and are largely based on family and cultural ties. Over 4.6 million Canadians, or 13% of the population, claim some Irish ancestry.

Living in Canada


There has been a human presence in Canada since 24,500BC. The first attempted colonisation by Europeans happened in 1,000AD, when Norsemen settled in Newfoundland for a short period.


Canada is the second largest country in the world with a total area of just under 10,000 square kilometres.


English and French are both official languages. 57% speak English only, 21% speak French only, and 22% speak both.


39 million (2023 estimated). Three-quarters of the Canadian population live within 90 miles of the US border.

Time differences

Canada has six time zones. The easternmost, in Newfoundland, is four hours behind GMT. The farthest west, near the Pacific Coast, is eight hours behind GMT.


Christianity 53.3%, No Religion 34.6%, Other faiths include Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism.

Exchange rate

One Euro is roughly equivalent to 1.47 Canadian Dollars (August 2023).

Getting a job


Embassy of Ireland , Suite1105, 130 Albert Street, Ottawa K1P 5G4, Ontario. Email:

Canadian Embassy , 7-8 Wilton Terrace, Dublin 2, Tel: (+ 353 1) 234 4000. Email:

The economy

Canada ranks among the top ten industrial powers, and is a member of the G8 group of leading industrial countries. Most of Canada's exports are sold to the American market. It has had a more moderate recession than in many other countries.

Employment opportunities

Unemployment in Canada is at 5.5% (July 2023) . It is important to note that a work permit and approval to immigrate does not guarantee employment, even if you are highly skilled.

There is currently a demand, however, in areas such as accounting and finance, aerospace, agriculture, biotechnology, chemical manufacturing, construction, healthcare and social care, ICT and e-commerce, mining and food-services.

Job applications

A résumé in Canada is usually two pages in length. Remember to target the résumé towards the position for which you are applying and focus on areas that are related to the job.

Online applications are becoming more commonplace and need just as much attention. A concise application email in formal writing should accompany your résumé.

Both one-to-one and panel interviews are common in Canada. Although it is not necessary to send copies of your degrees/diplomas with your application, it is recommended you have copies for the interview.

For have further information on writing a résumé, visit Canadajobs .

Temporary work

Often the best ways of finding a short term job us simply walking into a shop, restaurant, bar or hotel and asking for the manager. Even if they don’t have anything at the moment, leave your CV.

If you are travelling with USIT or BUNAC or any other International exchange organisation they will provide advice and assistance in pre- arranging work and accommodation. Their directories have listings from those who wish to employ part-time and summer staff, which helps take a lot of stress out of job hunting.

Internships are a great opportunities to get practical training in your field of study in another country.


Working as a volunteer can give you Canadian work experience, allowing you to practice French, expand your network, develop contacts in your sector and improve your employability. For more information visit Volunteer Canada .


For the initial six months, Canada does not require Irish citizens to have a visa when visiting, studying or doing business. All that is required is a return ticket and sufficient funds to cover your stay. If you do wish to work or study for longer periods, a visa is required. Immigration applications for residents of Ireland are processed by the Canadian Embassy in Dublin .

It would be useful to check out Canada's official site for Citizenship and Immigration which provides information and application procedures for temporary and permanent immigrants.

If you want to work temporarily in Canada you will need a work permit. This is usually only issued on the basis of an offer of employment that has been confirmed by a Canada Employment Centre. Usually the employer must prove that the position could not be filled by a Canadian citizen or resident. However, certain jobs are exempt from the requirement for a work permit.

For those seeking a more permanent move there are options such as skilled worker, business and family class immigration. At this level, immigration is built around a points system. Applicants must fulfil certain criteria, and earn enough points in a number of areas including education, language ability, work experience, age, arranged employment adaptability and meeting the minimum financial requirement.

Additional points are awarded for family connections with Canada. For up-to-date information and a self- assessment tool that enables you to see if you qualify as a skilled worker visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada website .

Canada also admits immigrants under the Business Immigration program which comprises three sub-categories including Investors, Entrepreneurs and the Self-Employed.

The government of Quebec selects its own immigrants in co-operation with the government of Canada. If you want to work in Quebec a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) may be needed from the Québec government . Most provinces in Canada have an agreement with the Government of Canada that allows them to play a more direct role in selecting immigrants. Applications must be made direct to the province.

Student visas

A study visa/permit is required if you wish to study in Canada for six months or more, or if you intend working part-time on campus. To qualify for a study visa, you will need acceptance to a university, college or technical institution in Canada, a valid passport, proof that you can support yourself while you are studying in Canada and proof that you intend to return home after the completion of studies. For further details contact: Canadian High Commission in London .

Full-time Irish students can apply to work in Canada on a temporary basis. This temporary working holiday visa has been extended to non-students. To qualify you must be an Irish citizen resident in, Ireland, aged between 18 and 35, have no criminal record, must not have participated in the Irish working holiday programmes before and have sufficient funds to cover expenses during your initial period of stay in Canada. Applications can be made through either the Student General Working Holiday Program administered by the Canadian Embassy, or USIT .

Work permits

If you are going to Canada a student or are under 35 you can visit under the Student Work & Travel Programme/Canada Work & Travel Programme Canada under 35 Programme which allows you spend up to a full year living and working in Canada.

Co-sponsored by USIT and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), Canada’s national student organisation, you have freedom and independence, with the reassurance of all the help and support you need before you go and throughout your stay.

The Work in Canada programme is a flexible and allows you to enter the country with no job pre-arranged. However searching on the web before you go could be very useful. There are almost no restrictions on the type of work you do or where you do it, or indeed the number of jobs you hold at one time.

The only jobs not covered by your work permit are camp counselling and tobacco picking, although a medical examination is required for medical, health, childcare or housekeeper positions. Remember that if you want to work in Quebec that you should have very good skills in written and spoken French.

Working life


You will need a Social Insurance Number to work in Canada. To learn more about applying for one, visit servicecanada .

Foreign workers are subject to Canadian income tax rates, although special regulations apply for newcomers (immigrants) during their first tax year .

Working conditions

Employment and working conditions are strictly regulated in Canada through federal and provincial laws. The average working week in Canada is typically between 35 and 40 hours.

Public holidays vary across each province (St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador) although there are a number that are celebrated on a national level.

Important dates to note are Victoria Day (Monday proceeding May 25), Canada Day (July 1st), Labour Day (first Monday in September) and Thanksgiving (second Monday of October). Holidays do not tend to be as generous as those in Europe.

Minimum wages are set by each of the ten provinces and three territories, and can range from $11.81 an hour in Saskatchewan to $16 an hour in Nunavut (November 2022).

Some occupations, particularly those in the service industry or specific trades, will have different legislated minimum wages. For more information visit Canadaonline .

Useful websites

To find a job

Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers

Job listings in newspapers

The Globe and Mail

The National Post

The Toronto Star

The Montreal Gazette

The Vancouver Sun

Canada Employment Weekly

Canada East


Ontario Internship Program (OPS)

The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IASTE)


Other useful sites

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)

We would like to thank the careers service at Dublin Institute of Technology for their help with this article.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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