Getting Prepared: Before You Arrive in Ontario

Before you come to Canada it is helpful to have an overview of how your international qualifications may be viewed. It may also be a good idea to have a general sense of the Canadian labour market and workplace culture before you start your job search.

International Qualifications

The first thing you need to do is find out what the requirements are for working in your profession or trade in Ontario. When you come to Ontario, it is important to bring with you the original copies of any certificates, degrees, licences and references you got in another country.

Your international qualifications may not be accepted in Ontario. You may need to get further training or take exams in order to re-qualify. Becoming certified can take time and money. Even if you are qualified, employers may want you to have Canadian work experience. You are expected to speak English and sometimes French. You may need to find temporary work to help pay your expenses.

You should not expect to find the same job you have in your profession or trade as soon as you arrive.

Get an Overview of the Labour Market

You should start planning for your career in Ontario before you leave your home country. You can start by reviewing job postings and labour market information (LMI). This information can help you find out what employers are looking for in people working in your profession or trade. Also, try to find out where the jobs are located in Ontario for your profession or trade. You may be able to contact Canadians working in your profession online by joining groups on social media and networking websites like LinkedIn. Before you come, you may want to do some research on specific companies that hire people in your profession or trade.

Salaries and Cost of Living

You can get a sense of the salaries offered in Canada for various positions by reviewing websites like:

It may be helpful to know the cost of living in different areas of the province. You can find more information in the Settlement.Org What are the monthly living expenses for a family of 3? article.

Workplace Culture

Communication and business etiquette may be different in Canada than in your home country. Canadian workplaces may be less formal than you are used to. For example, workers commonly address their boss by their first name. You can find more information about this topic by also reading this article. This article discusses the importance of newcomers adapting to the Canadian work culture. 

Soft Skills

Although you may be highly competent in your work, often it is not enough to have technical skills. These are the skills you need to do a certain job, such as analyzing data or operating a machine. Canadian employers want to hire people who also have soft skills (or employability skills). These skills, which include communication, problem solving and the ability to accept criticism, are transferable to any position. For more information about this topic, read Nick Noorani’s Nine soft skills no immigrant should be without! articles.

Getting Support Before You Come

There are many free in-person and online pre-arrival programs to help you prepare for life in Canada. Some of these programs focus on employment or certain employment sectors.

If you are an internationally trained health professional, you can get information about working in Ontario from HealthForceOntario. Find out if your occupation is regulated or not in Ontario and get more information about working in Ontario from Global Experience Ontario. These websites have information about working in your trade or profession and how to prepare before you come to Ontario.

Useful Links

National Occupation Classification

Job Bank