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So how do you get ready to work in Canada? There is no one solution or path to Canadian employment. But there are a few things you need to understand and accomplish before you land.The first step is researching your particular profession or job industry. First question: is it a licensed or unlicensed profession?

Licensed vs. unlicensed professions

Immigrant professionals in careers that are licensed in Canada (i.e., doctors, engineers, teachers, accountants, nurses, pharmacists, electricians/trades, etc.) have to get relicensed in Canada, which means examinations or further training. A great government tool to find out more about your profession in Canada is www.WorkinginCanada.gc.ca, which will provide you with information on the licensing board that governs your profession in your provincial destination. Your next step is to contact the licensing board in the province you wish to settle (each province will have its own).  Check our resources section for contacts with the credential recognition bodies in each Province.

The licensing board in question will be able to give you the details on how to get your current credentials evaluated, even while you’re back in your country of origin, and then what you will need to accomplish to be licensed in that profession in Canada. You might need to take some additional courses, upgrade your training, take a bridging program or simply pass an examination. Consider that there will be costs involved with all of this as well.

That’s why it’s so important that you start your research now — before you pack up your family and head to Canada. You need to know exactly what you will be facing when you get there.

If you are in a field that does not require a licence — i.e., a business manager, human resource manager or even a semi-skilled worker, you don’t have to go through the hassle of relicensure and re-examination with a professional certification body. But you will still face challenges.

We have prepared a Pre-Arrival Checklist of valuable information that will make arriving in Canada as smooth a process as possible.
Download the free Checklist

In some cases, you may want to get your educational credentials evaluated (see “Getting my skills recognized?”).

You should also research if there is a professional member association linked to your industry that you can join and start making those connections, even before you get here. Use the internet and social media to start making connections while still in your country of origin.

 Be prepared for the job hunt

The job search process in Canada can be an overwhelming experience. In addition to all the research and effort you’ll have to take on, you will also be faced with strong emotions and disappointments. So before you come to Canada, be prepared emotionally that your skills and education won’t be recognized on equal footing. This can be a disheartening experience for newcomers, especially if they are surprised by it.

Remember it did take you several years in your home country to get to a senior position and it will take some time in Canada before you reach the same position. What is critical is that you prepare yourself before you leave for a challenge and are able to cope with it emotionally. Remember also to come prepared with all the professional documents you’ll need to prove you are ready to work.