Canadian employers put a high emphasis on soft skills – such as communication, negotiation and sociability – which are personal attributes that enhance your interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike your hard skills, you can apply your soft skills broadly.
It is crucial to identify areas in your soft skills that need improvement. If your hard skills will get you an interview, most probably it is your soft skills that will get you the job and enable you to keep it.
You may have strong accounting skills, but often that is not enough to get a job or maintain it afterwards. You may need more training or skills upgrading, especially in regards to your soft skills.
Having strong skills in one or both of Canada’s official languages – English or French –is extremely important as well for your future in Canada. Whether you choose to focus on learning or improving English or French will depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you live. You may be eligible for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Otherwise, you can find other free or affordable classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) classes through the school boards or settlement agencies. There are even language courses to teach you professional terminology, such as Enhanced Language Training (ELT) and Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT). And if you already speak one of Canada’s two official languages at a high level, learning the other one is a good option, as it may offer you better employment opportunities.
Success Story: Immigrating to a new country as a single person or even as a couple is difficult at best. Coming with young children, however, brings a whole other set of challenges: On top of having to find jobs and upgrading their skills, couples with children are faced with the task of finding affordable childcare, often in the midst of financial strain and without the help of grandparents. Read more.
Many immigrants take further education after coming to Canada. Some even want to change careers or enhance their careers with a Ph.D or MBA.
Click here for links to Universities and Colleges across Canada where you can find the courses and subjects that interest you.
Bridging programs are a good way to transition from your international experience and training to the Canadian workplace. Many colleges, universities and immigrant-serving agencies offer accounting related bridging programs. You may be eligible for one. Do some research to find a program suitable for you.
Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
Accountants’ Bridging Program
The Program for Internationally Educated Accounting Professionals aims to facilitate the professional accreditation and labour market access of internationally educated accountants through training which meets local business demand by developing participants’ English language proficiency and assisting in their adapting and improving of previously learned skills to Canadian Standards.
Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA)
Bridging the Gap for Foreign Trained Accountants
The program assists professional immigrant women with accounting and/or finance background gain relevant Canadian work experience.
University of Manitoba
Bridge to Professional Accounting Program
The program prepares internationally trained accountants to enter the programs of professional studies for a Certified General Accountant (CGA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or Chartered Accountant (CA) Designation.
This full-time program (12 months) is comprised of intermediate and advanced accounting courses, communication and workplace preparation courses, and guest lectures, all with extensive personalized learning support.
Gateway for Accounting and Finance Professionals – Toronto
Chinese Professionals Association of Canada (CPAC)
This program offers occupation-specific language and business culture training to help internationally trained accounting professionals work towards obtaining a Certified General Accountants designation and find work in their field. It also offers placements that provide Canadian work experience.
Certified General Accountants of Ontario (CGA) – Toronto
Interactive Online Bridge Training Project:
Communication Skills for Professionals (CSP) for CGA Online
An interactive online communication skills training program delivered by the Certified General Accountants of Ontario (CGA) that assists internationally trained accounting professionals enrolled in the CGA program to improve their English language, culture and communications skills. The program provides participants with career development support, coaching and mentoring to obtain professional level practical work experience, concurrent with the study of conceptual knowledge, which are both requirements in achieving the CGA designation.
Ryerson University – Toronto
International Accounting and Finance Professionals (IAFP) Program
This program helps internationally trained accountants and financial professionals obtain licensure and find jobs in Ontario. This program includes occupation-specific language support, academic training, workplace culture and communication assessment and training. Participants also have access to mentorships, and work placements, in order to get the Canadian work experience needed to practice in Ontario. Outcomes for participants will be professional development, which leads to employment and advancement towards certification.
York University – Toronto
Bridge Training for Internationally Educated Professionals in Business, Finance and Administration
This program helps internationally trained business, finance and administration professionals find employment in their field. The program provides training in Ontario business culture, ethics, law and taxation, as well as occupation-specific language training, technical upgrading and mentoring opportunities. Participants also receive exam preparation for the Canadian Securities Course, and/or Certified Financial Planners, Certified General Accountants and Certified Accountants exams.
Skills for Change – Toronto
ESL: Clerical Accounting
This course helps internationally trained IEPs develop their English language and communication skills through the study of accounting principles, computer skills and job search strategies. It is intended for anyone who speaks English as a Second Language and has little accounting or office experience. The program will be most helpful to individuals who have an education in accounting from another country, but have never worked in the field or are changing their career to accounting from another field.
Laurentian University – Northern Ontario
This program offers portfolio development and workplace communications skills training for internationally-trained professionals of various fields. The program also helps professionals in the accounting and financial services fields towards accreditation and technical skills upgrading. Through this program, participants will increase their job readiness and access work placements. PNN has service locations in Sudbury, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Timmins. Services will be provided in both English and French.
Women’s Enterprise Skills Training (WEST) of Windsor – Windsor
Financial Management Certificate ProgramThis one-year program, offered by the University of Windsor – Odette School of Business in partnership with the Certified Management Accountants (CMA) of Ontario, helps internationally trained individuals obtain employment in the finance sector. The program offers academic training that bridges international experience to Canadian business practices. The courses offered through this program also fulfill the academic prerequisites for writing the CMA National Entrance Examination and the Level 2 Certified General Accountants Examination.