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Q: My Canadian friend told me about extended medical and benefits that I should discuss with my employer. Could you please explain this?

A: Regarding extended medical: Yes this is important knowledge for you to have as you start getting your employment. The Canadian medical system takes care of Doctor visits including specialists and any surgeries or hospital visits once you have your medical card. It does not cover medications and some companies provide this as a benefit to employees. There are limits per person and it depends entirely on the company you work for. This is not discussed at the interview stage but when a job offer is being made. Again you will get more information on this subject from the settlement agencies.

Q: I’m new to the workforce in Canada, having just moved to Calgary, Alberta, a few months ago, from Thailand. What kinds of hours and conditions can I expect in the workplace?

A: Canadian laws try to ensure fair and equitable treatment and compensation for workers. Every province has employment standards that govern work hours, overtime pay, holidays, minimum wage and termination of employment.

Fairly standard work guidelines across Canada have established that the average workweek is 37 to 40 hours, and that staff is entitled to at least one half-hour eating break for every five consecutive hours worked. Employees who are asked to work longer hours per day are to be paid overtime.

Every province has also established a set of regulations governing farm workers, domestic help, live-in help, commission sales, student employment and much more. For information on any of these specific areas, check out the Employment Standards Branch or Ministry of Labour in your province.