Your First Canadian Job

When you first come to Ontario you may have to take a job that is outside your field. Research your options. As a worker in Ontario, you have rights.

Survival Jobs

Your first job in Ontario or anywhere in Canada may be a survival job - something just to pay the bills. Typical survival jobs include cashier, customer service representative, factory worker, taxi driver or data entry operator. You may wish to take a survival job because you can get some Canadian work experience, practise your language skills and build your network within your profession or trade.

Temporary jobs

Another way to get work experience, to gain insight into a job or field and, of course, to get a pay cheque, is to apply for a temporary job. This involves registering with an employment or temporary agency that will find you jobs with other companies. Some agencies focus on placing people in specific fields, such as technology, office assistance or security. Some agencies place you in long-term jobs. Sometimes temporary positions can lead to a full-time job with the company.

You can register with many agencies at once. Research an agency carefully before registering with them and keep a copy of any contracts. You can find a list of agencies from the Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staffing Services or The Directory of Canadian Recruiters

Alternative Jobs

As it may take a long time to get your licence for your profession or trade, you might want to work in a non-regulated job in your field first. For example, a registered nurse could look at working as a nurse’s aide, a personal support worker (PSW) or a health educator. This can be a good way to use your skills and get Canadian work experience. Settlement.Org has a section on alternative jobs for various health care and other professions.

Your Rights as an Employee

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) covers wages, overtime, hours of work, eating periods, public holidays, vacations and leaves, and termination pay.

If you have been laid off or have to leave work because of pregnancy or sickness, you might qualify for Employment Insurance benefits. If you get injured on the job, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.   

If you are having a problem at work, you can speak to someone about it by calling the Ministry of Labour at 1-800-531-5551 or the Workers’ Action Centre at 416-531-0778.

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