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Canada is one of few countries that have signed agreements with respect to the employment of spouses of diplomats and other foreign representatives. Job seekers, however, may find it difficult to secure work in Canada that corresponds to their skills and experience. When applying for positions, spouses and children of foreign representatives may find that their qualifications need to be renewed or that they will have to undergo retraining to meet Canadian standards.


his may include taking additional courses, the associated fees for which may be incurred at your own personal expense. Job seekers need to research the requirements for specific occupations or industries, as well as language skills needed for that position. For example, it may be difficult to find a job in the province of Québec without any knowledge of French.

Some professions and trades are regulated by provincial professional regulatory bodies. Obtaining a licence or certificate can take some time and may take years if an applicant was trained outside Canada. There are professions where applicants may be able to request a “challenge” based on their previous experience and knowledge. If the result is satisfactory, they can get the required licence faster. Information about credentials and the process of gaining recognition for credentials earned outside Canada may be found by visiting the Canadian Information Center for International Credentials at www.cicic.ca, or Citizenship and Immigration Canada at www.cic.gc.ca/english/newcomers/credentials.

Some workplaces require that their employees be union members, and applicants must join a union and pay dues in order to work. Also, most employers deduct a certain amount from their employees’ pay cheques to cover contributions to their healthcare plan, Canadian Pension Plan, and Employment Insurance premiums. These benefits are not likely to be attractive to workers who are not eligible to receive most of the benefits they are paying for, as they are not covered under the provincial health care plan and will not likely retire in Canada. However, in many cases the deductions are unavoidable.

One way a person can gain Canadian work experience is to take up employment in a non-regulated job in their chosen field—at least to start. This can build and practise relevant skills. The job market in Canada at present is challenging and competitive. The unemployment rate was 5.8percent as of February 2018. Foreign job seekers may find themselves at a disadvantage when competing with workers who have local training and experience, personal connections and an ability to commit to long-term employment.

In Ontario, the minimum wage for an adult worker is $14.00per hour. In Québec, it is $11.25 an hour. In Alberta, it is $13.60 per hour and in British Columbia, it is $11.35 per hour. There are different minimum wages for workers under 18 years old and for servers who routinely receive tips. Earned income is taxable, based on a rate that depends on annual salary before payroll deductions are made. The CRA has information about how tax is levied, calculated and collected. It is advisable to retain payment receipts from an employer in order to record earned income. Employers are required to issue employees special receipts called T4 forms that record payments and payroll deductions. The employees use the information on the T4 forms to calculate and submit income tax. Information about payroll, earnings and deductions can be found on the Service Canada website at www.servicecanada.gc.ca. As a starting point to learning about employment in Canada, good information is available, along with nationwide job listings, on the websites of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada at www.canada.ca and Immigration and Citizenship Canada at www.cic.gc.ca.

When seeking employment in Canada, the spouses and dependent children (under the age of 25) of foreign representatives must ensure they have valid certification of qualifications, diplomas, a Curriculum Vitae and previous work references. Certified translations to English or French should be obtained. Individuals looking to find gainful employment in Canada may also wish to consult with an employment agency, which may aid in facilitating this process. For instance, in Ontario there are agencies associated with Employment Ontario, such as Agilec (www.agilec.ca), who can help job seekers with the design of resumes for a Canadian mrket, connect you with employers, and help prepare you for interviews. These services could be especially useful as employment procedures in Canada can be quite different than in the rest of the world. For example, in Canada it is considered inappropriate to put private information like marital status, age, gender, sexual orientation, or family information (number of children, etc.) in your resume, as this information could lead to potential discrimination on behalf of your employer. As such, employers are careful to avoid this and will not ask for any personal information from you, even during the interview process.