Finding a job in Ontario

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: February 4, 2024

Recently the Ontario provincial government chose to make it illegal for employers to require Canadian work experience in their job advertisements, in addition to making it mandatory for all job postings to feature salaries.

Both steps represent victories, not just for the Ontario labour force (who will now be able to see how the potential salary of a job compares to provincial and national averages); but especially for newcomers to Ontario—who are often held back from roles and professions they are qualified for, based on their lack of Canadian experience.

Considering these two changes, CIC News has compiled the following guide for newcomers looking for a job in Ontario.

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In-demand skills in Ontario

For newcomers who have not yet chosen a career path, and who are hoping to transition to permanent residence in Canada, paying attention to in-demand skills within the province can be an advantage to finding a job in Ontario.

In-demand skills reflect labour gaps in the Ontarian job market (where the number of workers does not meet the demand of labour)—this information is also used by Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program (OINP) to determine which economic candidates to nominate to IRCC for permanent residence to the province. In fact, this is a common practice for every province in Canada (with the exception of Nunavut and Quebec) through their respective Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)

Both factors mean that those newcomers with in-demand skills, are more likely to have success both in their work, and later immigration pathways from worker to permanent residence—thus making such skills an ideal place to start for newcomers not yet set on a career path.

Taking both of these factors into account, newcomers with in-demand skills stand a much better chance of both finding employment, and of immigrating and settling permanently in Ontario, due to the inherent value they provide for the province’s labour market.

Accreditation and bridging programs

While recent legislation has made the need for Canadian experience unnecessary when finding work in Ontario, being accredited in your field—and, if necessary, licensed to preform duties in your profession—is a different, and hugely important, step that newcomers in Ontario must take to make sure they give themselves the best chance at becoming employed (especially in regulated professions). This is because not only is accreditation a legal requisite for many professions in Canada, but it assures employers that foreign-trained workers can perform up to domestic regulations and standards.

One way to get accredited is through recognised organisations that facilitate this process. It is important to look for accreditation services that are recognised in Canada and have a history of providing successful accreditation services to Canada from your home country.

Bridging programs can be a great way to gain the necessary skills for those who may need to add to their international credentials.

The idea behind these programs is to close the gap between one’s internationally acquired credentials/education and the experience or training they may need to work in their profession. Ontario has an extensive network of these programs (from both government and private service providers) that cover a wide variety of fields. It should be noted that these programs are available to those working in regulated professions, or in unregulated professions that require highly skilled workers, and in demand.

Settlement services

Lastly newcomers may benefit from settlement services offered throughout Ontario. There are multiple newcomer organisations all around Canada, that receive funding from federal, provincial and municipal governments. These services can range from employment help (like resume critiques, mock interviews, networking events etc.) to language training, housing assistance and more. For those looking to avail these settlement services the following links are available:

Newcomers should be aware that their eligibility to receive these free services depends on both their status in the country (student, worker, permanent resident, etc.) and who is funding the specific service that they are trying to use. As such it is usually a good idea to inquire with your desired settlement organisation/service to confirm eligibility.

For more information on settlement services (including Ontario specific services) visit our dedicated webpage here.

Build a network in the province

A recent study by Statistics Canada found that some of the most common reasons that newcomers (who had been in Canada for five years or less) had difficulty finding employment in Canada included the lack of a good network (20.3%), professional references (18.5%), and Canadian job experience (22.7%). As such, one of the most important things that newcomers to Ontario can do to secure employment is to start building a network with other professionals in the province.

Luckily this is not a step that has to be left till individuals arrive in Canada—with online networking platforms like LinkedIn, newcomers to Canada can start engaging with the Ontario job market from abroad. In addition, professional groups on other social media (like Facebook or Twitter) often give newcomers yet another way to interact with their chosen professional community in Ontario. Approaching these interactions with a polite and friendly demeanour (even through online communication mediums like email, chat, or video call) will likely have positive outcomes, as these are two aspects of Canadian business culture that are often prominent during networking.

For those already in Ontario, using LinkedIn and other social media can be a great transition into coffee chats and offline meetings with professionals. These experiences can be invaluable as they function as an opportunity to have a natural interaction with a professional contact, while also giving you one-on-one access to them and their knowledge. It is often advisable to bring some form of resume or sample work in case there is an opportunity to discuss your particular experience—however it should be noted many coffee chats (while professional in nature) are often more informal get-togethers. For those lucky enough to have professional contacts in Ontario (prior to their job search), utilising your already existing network (to make warm introductions with other relevant professionals) can be a powerful way to augment the employment search.

There are also multiple other offline avenues that newcomers can take advantage of, including dedicated networking events, job fairs, professional conferences and more. While some of these events may require a professional credential, many still are often open to the public, with little to no entrance fees. A quick web search for “networking events near me” or “networking events in Ontario” can yield fruitful results.

The following pages provide a more in-depth review of networking and finding a job in Canada.

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