Administrative assistance jobs are a popular choice among newcomers to Canada. Most companies have administrative assistants to help run the business. Since administrative assistant careers can take many paths, it’s a great opportunity for immigrants with a variety of skill sets. Plus, administrative assistant salaries can increase to higher levels once you gain experience.
The job requirements for administrative assistants usually require completion of secondary school and a one- or two-year college program. In addition to completing a program for administrative assistants (or another related program) previous clerical experience is also helpful. This role is a non-regulated profession in Canada, so you do not need a license. Learn about job requirements, job search strategies, interview techniques, and more!
- How to Immigrate to Canada as an Administrative Assistant
- What to Expect When Pursuing an Administrative Assistant Career in Canada
- Requirements to Become an Administrative Assistant in Canada
- Upgrading Your Skills to Meet Administrative Assistant Job Requirements
- Administrative Assistant Schools in Canada
- Administrative Assistant Associations in Canada
- How Much Do Administrative Assistants Make in Canada?
- Best Provinces to Work in Canada as an Administrative Assistant Based on Salary & Lifestyle
- Pursuing an Administrative Assistant Career in Canada
- How to Find Your First Administrative Assistant Job in Canada
How to Immigrate to Canada as an Administrative Assistant
A little bit of preparation, before you move to Canada, can help you speed up the process of finding a job. There are steps that you can take before you move to Canada that can help you to work in an administrative assistant career and even find a job faster when you arrive.
Before You Move to Canada to Pursue an Administrative Assistant Career
- Attend the webinar What to Know about the Canadian Job Market to learn about the labour market and job search strategies.
- Research the Canadian job market to get a sense of job prospects across Canada.
- Assess your language skills by taking an online self-assessment on the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks website.
- Improve your language skills and enroll in language classes while in your home country and continue them after you move to Canada.
- Contact the local (or nearest) branch of the Association of Administrative Professionals in the city where you’ll settle in Canada and enquire about the employment process in Canada.
- Gather and organize your official education, work, and identity documents while still in your home country. Find out what documents you need to bring for employment purposes or to continue your education.
- Research administrative assistant salaries and benefits to understand your earning potential.
- Understand how the profession of administrative professionals is practiced in Canada.
- Know the name of your job in Canada and make a list of potential employers.
What to Expect When Pursuing an Administrative Assistant Career in Canada
To help you prepare for your job search, it’s helpful to understand the nature of the job and the specific skills that Canadian employers seek. This will involve some basic research. Administrative assistant careers are unique because jobs are diverse. Your role will be shaped by the industry and company. Some positions may be more advanced than others even though they share the same job title. This will also be reflected in the administrative assistant salary for the job.
Employment Outlook for Administrative Assistant Jobs in Canada
Job prospects for administrative assistants vary across Canada. So it’s best to explore provincial job prospects to assess where there the outlook is good.
The labour market conditions over the next 10 years are expected to be balanced for administrative assistant careers. There are expected to be 68, 200 job openings from 2022-2031, many of which will be filled by newcomers, according to the Government of Canada.
You can even explore future job prospects in local regions when you click on the provincial job prospects links.
This detailed information is provided by the Government of Canada Job Bank site and it is a great location to research job prospects, wages, skill requirements, and even search for administrative assistant jobs.
Start Your Research with the NOC Code for Administrative Assistants
As part of your research, you can view the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code. The NOC provides a standard definition of jobs in Canada. This five-digit code is used by various groups, including job seekers such as you.
The NOC for administrative assistants is NOC 13110. You can use this information to learn about the nature of the job duties and get job titles and employment requirements. While the job title for NOC 13110 is Administrative Assistant, when searching for jobs in Canada, you will find other titles for the same role. You can use these other titles when you search for jobs in Canada and expand your search efforts.
If you have specialized experience, you may also want to refer to these NOCs:
- Executive assistants NOC 12100
- Legal administrative assistants NOC 13111
- Medical administrative assistants NOC 13112.
Requirements to Become an Administrative Assistant in Canada
Administrative assistant careers are non-regulated in Canada which means you do not need a license to work in this field. But, most jobs will require you to have certain credentials and education to qualify for the positions. Requirements will vary based on the employer and the job title. Below are steps to take to work as an administrative assistant in Canada:
Credential Recognition in Canada
Credential recognition is a process to verify and assess your skills, competencies, and credentials in a fair and consistent manner. While administrative assistants belong to a non-regulated profession in Canada, some employers may ask for an educational assessment. Mostly though, employers will assess your skills, knowledge, and experience and contact your professional references. So, before you spend money to get your credentials evaluated, find out if the company that you are applying to requires an assessment.
Administrative assistants can become a member of the Association of Administrative Professionals. The association helps its members with skill development and growth to enhance job opportunities and contributions to both the workplace and the community.
Credential Assessment Services
You may also require an educational assessment if you plan to enroll in a college or university program to upgrade your skills or continue your education in Canada. However, before you pay for an assessment, contact the school that you plan to attend to find out what they require and the credential assessment service that you should use. Some schools may have a preferred service provider.
When you get an educational assessment be sure to highlight your international education and skills. You may be able to receive advanced standing, transfer some of your credits, and benefit from prior learning assessment options. If you can gain credit or course exemptions, you can avoid repeating the education you already have, or you may shorten the amount of time required to complete courses. It’s important to build on your existing knowledge and skills and explore your options carefully before you decide that you need to return to school.
Several agencies assess international education credentials to help newcomers to Canada access the education and employment they need including:
To find more credential evaluation, assessment and qualification recognition services click here.
Upgrading Your Skills to Meet Administrative Assistant Job Requirements
Canadian employers place a high value on soft skills, such as personal attributes that enhance your interactions, job performance, and career prospects. Unlike your hard skills, you can apply your soft skills broadly.
Soft skills, such as communication, coordination, and sociability, are even more important for administrative assistants. That’s why identifying areas in your soft skills that need improvement is crucial. 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 succeed.
Though not a must, upgrading your education and skills through a bridging program or other courses and workshops may be an important part of your journey to becoming a successful administrative assistant in Canada.
Administrative assistants require strong communication skills, document management, note-taking, presentation, proofreading, report compilation and writing, organizational ability, time management, and software expertise. Having strong communication skills in one or both of Canada’s official languages, English or French, is also important for your career success.
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 intend to live.
You may be eligible for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Otherwise, you can find other free or affordable English as a Second Language or French as Second Language classes through local school boards or settlement agencies.
There are even language courses to teach you professional terminologies, such as job-specific language training and Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT) in Ontario. If you are in Toronto, the Toronto District Board of School offers a fourteen-week Enhanced Language Training program focusing on Customer Service & Administration for immigrant women.
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 job opportunities.
Administrative Assistant Schools in Canada
More than 60 schools offer administration courses and programs in Canada. There are several education streams you can choose from:
- Administration studies
- Office administration
- Business administration
- Human resources
- Business management
Courses are offered by most community colleges. Some programs are available online. Some schools to consider are:
- Georgian College
- Centennial College
- Seneca College
- Fanshawe College
- Mohawk College
- Niagara College.
Read more about the benefits of higher education for newcomers.
Administrative Assistant Associations in Canada
The main administrative assistant association in Canada is the Association of Administrative Professionals. This association has branches in Ontario, Alberta, and Atlantic Canada.
Professional Immigrant Networks (PINS) are organized associations or networks created by and for immigrant professionals that seek to:
- Create a forum to contribute to and enrich their respective communities, and
- Provide their members with opportunities to find meaningful employment and achieve their professional goals.
PINS can provide networking events, mentoring, information sessions, professional development, and connections to job opportunities.
isans: Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia: helps newcomer professionals with their full economic and social integration in the province of Nova Scotia.
Professional Immigrant Networks (TRIEC)
For information, tools, free webinars, and more visit our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. Get the help you need to achieve your career goals in Canada!
How Much Do Administrative Assistants Make in Canada?
According to the Government of Canada Job Bank, administrative assistant salaries can range from $14.50 to $43 per hour depending on where you live in Canada. Some of the common factors affecting administrative assistant salaries include your job title, industry, experience, education, and location. The median hourly administrative assistant salary is $24.
Administrative Assistant Salary in Canada
Here are the most recent administrative assistant salary numbers in Canada:
|Province||Low ($/hour)||Median ($/hour)||High ($/hour)|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||16.48||24.04||30.00|
|Prince Edward Island||16.00||24.00||29.40|
Best Provinces to Work in Canada as an Administrative Assistant Based on Salary & Lifestyle
Most provinces and Canadian cities offer employment opportunities in the administrative sector. However, when looking for jobs, broaden your geographic area to include smaller cities and towns close to the city where you plan to live. For example, you may want to consider cities that are within close proximity to larger cities. For example, the city of Hamilton is less than a one-hour drive to Toronto and can offer a more affordable cost of living.
Research cities in Canada and determine where there is a demand for your profession and where you would like to settle.
Pursuing an Administrative Assistant Career in Canada
Pursuing an administrative assistant career begins with education, and experience, and then selecting a province to work in. Once you decide where to live, you’ll want to identify the best employers in the area. Below is valuable information to help you pursue an administrative assistant career in Canada:
Major Employers for Administrative Assistant Jobs in Canada
Administrative assistants can work in any province and for a variety of organizations. It’s common to find jobs in government, the private sector, small businesses, and industries such as health care, education, and many others.
You can visit Canada’s Best Diversity Employers website to check for immigrant-friendly corporations and organizations that you might be interested in. This special designation recognizes Canada’s best employers for their commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
How to Find Your First Administrative Assistant Job in Canada
The Canadian job market can be competitive, so you need to prepare and understand the job search process. You must look for jobs in the region where you will settle. Therefore, take your time to research job requirements in that region and develop a plan to find a job. There are many ways that you can search for jobs. These helpful tips are important actions that you can take to propel your job search:
- Broaden your search and include alternative careers and sectors.
- Seek out a mentor who currently works in your field who could share their insights and introduce you to their professional network.
- Join job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant settlement agencies.
- Attend industry job fairs and regularly check online job boards.
Connect with Settlement Agencies
Finding administrative assistant jobs in Canada may be different than in your home country and you may need help to find jobs, update your resume, write a cover letter, and prepare for interviews.
Most settlement agencies offer free job search services before and after you arrive in Canada.
Click the link to find immigrant services in your area.
Build Your Professional Network
Networking is an essential relationship-building activity that can help you discover job leads, gain information about a company or industry, and meet others who can help you to expand your network. As many job vacancies are not advertised, you must make connections with others in your field. The “hidden job market” accounts for roughly 70- 80% of available jobs in Canada. Tapping into the “hidden job market” through networking can greatly help your job search efforts.
Good places to network are industry conferences and functions where people meet, build relationships and share information.
LinkedIn is another helpful networking tool that’s great for connecting with former colleagues and employers, searching for jobs, and getting introductions and recommendations. You can also join some related professional groups.
Learn about the Job Environment by Conducting Informational Interviews
An informational interview with a contact from your network can be a great source of career information. The purpose of this brief 20 – 30-minute meeting is to speak with someone who currently works in the position or industry that you would like to learn more about.
An informational interview can help you to gather valuable and professional insights. And, you gain benefits by speaking with someone who can share their thoughts and first-hand experience. You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather research and learn more about a position, company, or industry.
Write a Strong Resume
When you write your resume it’s important to tailor it for the specific job that you are applying for. When you can show how your skills and experience match the job requirements, it will be much easier for employers and human resource recruiters to discover your resume. Here are some essential tips to write a winning administrative assistance resume:
Use the Job Description to Tailor Your Resume
Using a generic resume for all administrative jobs is not effective. It’s more effective to carefully review the job description and emphasize how your skills match the job requirements. Use bullet points to describe your related responsibilities and successful outcomes.
Highlight Your Technical Skills
Employers want to know immediately which technical skills you possess. To do this, you can include a line that says, “Experienced with” and then list all applicable software programs and skills that you possess.
Do Your Research on Administrative Assistant Careers
It’s important to showcase the skills that employers are searching for. One way to do that is to review administrative assistant job postings. Identify the skills that employers value and require.
You can use your network as well to find the names of current administrative assistants. You may want to view their LinkedIn profile or other presence they may have on professional websites to learn about their skills and previous experience. This way you can compare your skills with those of current employees.
As a newcomer, you bring your international experience to the table. This is especially valuable when you apply to companies that have global operations. So be sure to highlight your international experience.
Interview Techniques and Tips for Administrative Assistants
When interviewing for an administrative assistant job in Canada, be sure to ask specifically what the job entails. Admin jobs range from answering phones, scheduling appointments, and setting up virtual meeting rooms to charting budgets, purchasing merchandise, and troubleshooting software problems. Your pay as an administrative assistant can vary depending on your role and duties, the industry, and even the city where you are employed.
Communication is your primary role as an administrative assistant. Be it on the phone, in person, or through e-mail, you must be well-mannered and articulate. Be sure to present yourself in a professional manner before, during, and after the interview.
Dress for Success
While some companies have receptionists, others rely on administrative assistants to answer phones and greet clients. Because the company’s administrative assistant may be the first point of contact, it’s crucial to dress professionally to show respect to the company and its clients.
Discuss Your Computer Skills
Talk about your spreadsheet, data management, and electronic filing system expertise. Or, if you are interviewing with an advertising company, talk about how your social media skills can help with the company’s online presence. If you are interviewing for a school administrative job, discuss the role of email communication with parents, posting online grades and notices, and electronic bill payment.
Here are some sample questions that a human resources manager or hiring manager may ask you during an interview:
- Describe some of the software platforms that you use on a regular basis.
- Describe how you recently learned new computer skills to help you to perform in your role.
- Describe how you use software to help you manage multiple projects and your time.
Remember that a job interview is a two-way street. Do as much research about the company as possible prior to the interview and prepare a few questions ahead of time. You will likely have an opportunity to ask any questions you have at the end of your interview.
With a positive outlook for administrative assistant jobs in Canada, now is the time to check out your options.
Interested in learning more about working in Canada? Check out our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. We can help you achieve your career goals in Canada.