How important is Canadian experience?

Many newcomers face barriers to getting hired because they do not have "Canadian experience."

This concept may refer to:

  • Your language and communications skills
  • Your knowledge of Canadian employment standards
  • Your knowledge of Canadian legislation
  • Your ability to fit into Canadian workplace culture

In some cases, employers use "a lack of Canadian experience" as a convenient way to discriminate against newcomers. In Ontario, employers cannot request Canadian work experience unless it is a legitimate job requirement. If you feel you have been discriminated against, you may want to contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre or a community legal clinic.

Some employers may not know how to evaluate your education and work experience. It can be helpful to get your credentials evaluated to show their Canadian equivalency.

If your profession is regulated in Ontario, you may have to provide evidence of relevant work experience to get a licence.

A profession's regulatory body may require Canadian work experience specifically, and sometimes even Ontario experience. You can see a table of Canadian Work Experience Requirements on the website of the Office of the Fairness Commissioner.

Getting Canadian experience can be a challenge. Talk to other people in your field or community to see what they have done and what they would recommend. Try volunteer work as you look for work. A volunteer opportunity within your field or a job doing the type of work that relates to some of the skills required to perform your career role are a good way to gain Canadian work experience. 

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Last updated: October 15, 2019 4001190