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Finding a job in Canada may be different than in your home country and you may need help finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews, and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.
Note that social workers may have various job titles or do different jobs such as coordinator of social work, medical social worker, psychiatric social worker, social work supervisor, clinical social worker.

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s reference on occupations. It provides job descriptions, occupational statistics and labour market information.

Credentials recognition

One of the first things you need to do is to find out the requirements to work as a social worker in Canada. Therefore, after you get your immigration visa, get in touch with the regulatory body in the province or territory where you intend to settle in Canada. They will advise you about the required documentation and the fees for assessment. It is highly recommended that you take this step before you arrive in Canada.

You may be asked to submit some or all of the following:

  • Original diplomas, degrees or full transcripts recording your course and marks, and the official program syllabuses or course descriptions.
  • Full address of the educational and professional institutions where you obtained your engineering qualifications.
  • Employment and character references
  • Work descriptions and letters from professional agencies. All documents must have certified English or French translation (depending on the province).
  • Contact the professional association in the province or territory you will settle in before you move to get more information about the schedule of exams and take that into consideration when deciding the actual date of your departure to Canada.
  • It’s important not to rush your application and only do that once you are fully aware of the licensure procedure and the regulatory body’s expectations from you.

The Canadian Association of Social Workers assesses your credentials. You can download the assessment application form from the “Internationally Educated Social Workers” section of their website. You can also ask for an application package be sent to you. The CASW assessment is accepted in all Canadian provinces, with the exception of British Columbia and Quebec. These two provinces have their own assessment process, the details of which you can get from the appropriate provincial authority.
Note that the CASW doesn’t recognize education received through distance learning or self-study.

Credentials assessment services

If you are planning to enroll in a college or university program to upgrade your skills and need an assessment for academic purposes (or employment purposes), you can contact the institution in which you plan to study and find out the steps you should take and the credential assessment agency you should use.
Make sure not to discount your international education and skills. Try to build on your existing knowledge and skills and explore university and college options thoroughly before deciding. You might be able to have advanced standing, transfer some of your credits and benefit from prior learning assessment options by using your international credentials and experience to gain credit or course exemptions. This way you will complete your program more quickly, without wasting money and repeating the education you already have.

World Education Services (WES) – Ontario
International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) – Alberta
The International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) – British Columbia

To find more organizations and agencies providing credential evaluation, assessment and qualification recognition services click here. You can also visit the Foreign Credentials Referral Office for information, path-finding and referral services on foreign credential recognition to help internationally trained workers like you succeed and put their skills to work in Canada more quickly.

Best locations

There are thousands of social organizations across Canada and you may find job opportunities in every city or town. However, it will be helpful for you to focus on the cities and provinces that are having the most population growth in the country or are welcoming a big number of immigrants. Demand for the expansion of social services in these areas and thus a need for more social workers there will be higher.
The figures from the last census in 2011 show that of the 10 fastest-growing census metropolitan areas in the Canada, seven are in Alberta, and all the rest are in Western Canada — one each in the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Major employers

Social workers are employed in family service agencies, social housing agencies, hospitals, school boards, correctional institutions, welfare administration agencies, child welfare agencies, community health centres, employee assistance programs, addiction services and government departments. They can also operate a private practice.

You can view a directory of Canadian social organizations and job postings in the social sector by visiting Charity Village, which contains a lot of information about the nonprofit sector in Canada. You can also know the best Canadian companies that hire recent immigrants and offer them job opportunities, by visiting the Canada’s Best Diversity Employers website. These employers offer interesting programs to assist new Canadians in making the transition to a new workplace — and a new life in Canada.