Canada is a fantastic place. It has great public infrastructure, friendly people, amazing natural beauty, and a wide variety of cultures and traditions. It’s a safe country where you can live a peaceful life if you follow the rules. But Canada is not immune to the economic pressures that the world is facing. Food inflation is above average, and the real estate market is completely unhinged. Rental prices are high, interest rates are high, and there is a shortage of housing.
As migration trends increase, the supply of resources like housing is being stretched to its limits in major cities. Public infrastructure is also being taxed.
If you are thinking about moving to Canada, you need to be aware of these challenges. You need to do your research and make sure that you are prepared for the practical realities of Canadian life. But don’t let these challenges discourage you. Canada is still a great place to live. It’s a country with a lot to offer, and it’s worth making the effort to overcome the challenges.
This is not an economic break down or a political one. This is a reality check for those who need to understand the facts and need to get their house in order before they embrace the Canadian life.
Because the minute they land they will face some thing called :
“The Canadian Experience”
“Canadian experience” for job seekers refers to the experience gained by working in Canada, specifically within the Canadian job market and professional environment. Many employers in Canada often mention “Canadian experience” as a requirement or preference when hiring new employees, especially for certain roles and industries. But a lot of folks are compelled to ask, after 20 yrs of global experience, how hard really is to do the same thing in Canada?? But let me clarify:
Having Canadian experience demonstrates that a job seeker is familiar with the Canadian workplace culture, norms, communication styles, and industry practices. Ive worked in over a dozen countries, trust me, Canada has its own pace, norms, quirks and assimilation criteria.
In part, just my observation alone, it is a small economy thing. With 38M people and being the 38th most populous country, it is not as Large as the US, (some thing most immigrants confuse it with), it’s also neither as ambitious as America as a homogenous population group (if i can take the liberty of saying as much) nor is it in any race to create millionaires and billionaires. Don’t get me wrong it will give you every opportunity if you want it so.
The drive in Canada for most Canadians from a work perspective is to “break even” on the effort and reward. It took me years of living there to understand this. It is not a bad thing, it makes the people happy, it drives them to doing other things in life. Their measure of growth, success and happiness is not related to work place success, some thing that at least I feel in over a decade spent in the US, as being part of most peoples identity. Not the same in Canada by a long shot.
It’s not just about the technical skills and qualifications, but also about understanding how things work within the Canadian context. This can include understanding workplace etiquette, customer service expectations, teamwork dynamics, and more.
For newcomers to Canada, this can sometimes present a challenge. They might have relevant skills and experience from their home country or other places, but employers may still prefer candidates with Canadian experience. This can create a catch-22 situation where newcomers struggle to get their first job in Canada due to the lack of local experience. The expectation of most employers due to immigration programs etc, is the fact that most people coming are either low(er) skilled, or without relevant (contextual experience) or both. This really skews opportunities for those who do not fall in that category.
If you are highly skilled and under 40 you have a fighting chance to make a good living which would entail that your skills translate directly, that there is no major waiting period to find work or re-certifications or the “Canadian Experience” ** requirement. That you can start plugging away to a 100 to 150k CAD$ role in sub 3 months from when you arrive or can actually start work remotely.
In my experience this can happen in a host of professions but typically Ive seen it happen for (Not a comprehensive or exhaustive list or perhaps even accurate)
- Digital Transformation & Strategy Consultants who have global experience as part of say a big four role in their home country
- Software developers with command over the english language and a Github repository and equal parts community advocacy that is searchable online
- Specialists in Mining, Oil Production, Chemical Engineers and wait for it…..
- Folks who have extensive freight, logistics, 3PL Chinese shipping lane experience
- Lucky few who work for Global Companies and can do an internal role search and swap out to Canada
- Free lancers who are solopreneurs who already make 5 to 10k USD a month who do not need local employment but can now access domestic payments, credit etc infrastructure to grow their own business and or add remote workers whose front end they become
- Specialist consultants who have direct experience in Energy + Distribution business, folks who have industrial and mechanical experience in large public infrastructure roles on standardized plant equipment etc.
- Automotive engineers who have hands on manufacturing experience with globally recognized certifications and work experience at a Toyota, Honda, BMW etc.
- Entrepreneurs who use Canada as a new base of operations to target the US as an export market if their products and services allow
- Influencers who can work from any where (never thought this would be some thing, but its real, I know a few influencers who have moved across and continue to produce content for completely different markets but use the Canadian backdrop and access to professional studios etc to 2X their business)
- Digital Marketing specialists ala — Paid Search + SEO + SEM + Influencer Marketing, b2b, DTC + agency background is a god send especially if you have relevant platform level certifications and a demonstrable portfolio where you have been directly responsible for hands on execution and growth.
- Cyber security specialists with modern tools + hands on experience
- Industry specific Client relationship specialists (like hazardous waste handling or nuclear medicine etc).
- Low code, no code specialists with demonstrable automation projects + platform certifications
- AI, ML + Data science folks with demonstrable application of their work, models or outcomes.
You are in the low income category without any directly relevant skills today and can take full advantage of government benefits or can stay happy even if you don’t earn a lot.
This is both a mind set and a reality. I am not listing this to expose some scam you can run to take advantage of Canada. On the contrary, this is for those, who feel that they are able bodied, they are willing to go the extra % and in any shape or form take their god given ability to do any thing, to get out of their present circumstances.
Canada will welcome you so long as you are willing to work hard. Canada continues to need folks with emerging skills, but recognizes that they may not pay enough beyond a working wage. That is off set by the government programs, access to public services and infrastructure. A roof over your head, and typically having the safety and security you did not have access to where you migrated from.
The world is a tough place, people have varying degree of circumstances so there are always going to be folks who are just starting off. If you find your self in that category, you are definitely going to be in a better shape in Canada. But you must understand the reality of that. It is going be hard, it is going to be no savings, not much entertainment but it will lead to you building the life you want, need, deserve and work towards.
The government will give you a hand for sure, but you need to come prepared that it is going to be a tough, taxing, mental and physical ride. There will be dozens of assimilation challenges, work challenges, lots of good bad and ugly people, lots of sleepless nights, lots of lost opportunities, lots of missed memories with loved ones, but if you have a goal in sight, you have the ability to do well for your self. Nothing will come to you, you will have to identify, enlist and avail the government support made available whilst working towards the goals you have setup for your self,
At every step of the way, what you will discover is the beauty of Canada, be it access to fair education, certifications, placements, subsidized programs, access to government backed loans for business etc. But this is a privilege not a right, use it wisely.
& Everything in between
If you have say, 20+ yrs of experience, or are in your late 40s , or mid-career or in a profession that needs; re-certification, local accreditation, additional degrees, very specific Canadian experience, licensing from trade bodies, associations, consumer groups etc. Let me be honest, you are perhaps in the toughest spot from a work perspective in Canada. Your initial time will be hard, it will go slow, the Canadian winters will make it harder. There is no other way to cut it.
Not because you cant achieve those but because the time value of money needed to go through this journey would typically mean that unless you are a 2 income household, where one income at least falls in Part 1 , only then will you have the ability, stability and mental wherewithal left to pursue the things you need/require to become a contributing member of society from a financial earn out perspective. Not to say that is the only way this can come about, it just gets easier if that is the case.
Heres my list of professions, professionals and trades that really need to understand and research what it takes to re-certify, re-apply and be recognized locally to be able to pursue their professional careers because it will take from months to years to be able to do this at a level that most established folks would like to see them selves at:
- Social worker
- Clinical Researcher
- Car Mechanic
- Building & Construction specialist
- Private Investigator
- Financial Advisor
- Wealth Manager
- Food Technician
- Lab Technician
- Law Enforcement
- Human Resource Professional
- Traditional Marketer
- Supply Chain Professional
- Shipping + Logistics Professional
- Truck Driver
- Risk Management Professional
+ Real Costs
Beyond finding work, finding sustainable housing and being aware of the many costs, that most of us/some of us may not be accustomed to is a key thing to figure out upfront. Whilst this may not be a scientific post, its definitely a realistic post from the point of view of the reality of what to expect as some one who has seen both ends of the spectrum.
Happy candidates for migration, (typically) become un happy migrants because the reality distortion field at the time of their acceptance to relocate was so high, their (relocation) objectivity suffered.
This is my plea to all those considering availing any migratory process to dig deep; deeper than hearsay, friends, associates, friends of friends, neighbors and least of all touts/ ala immigration consultants that have never lived in Canada or are not Canadian citizens nor are their firms operating from there.
Most people only see the YouTube accounts from people who are pushing to get views vs helping people out, whilst others are too deep and entrenched that they provide little to no value to a new comer who does not have an objective over view to benchmark against.
Heres a beginners guide to Real Costs as shared by my good friend Aizaz.
This is neither scientific nor arbitrary, it’s some where in between based on experience and prevailing market dynamics for the Extended GTA Suburbia.
The prospect of a better life gets better with planning and with the least amount of surprises. If you do your home work, if you understand what it takes, the likely hood that your outcomes will be far better than those who went without a plan is higher. Much higher.
The declining state of play in many countries and regions is definitely fueling migration globally. Migration may not be for every one, but for those who have decided that this is a step they must take and are about to go across, I hope these are things they consider carefully as they kick off what will perhaps be the biggest transition and commitment they have made in their life.
The parting advice I have is 3 fold:
Be willing to start at the bottom. If you don’t have Canadian experience, you may have to start at a lower-level job than you would in your home country. Be mentally ready for this, if you are not, it will not be pleasant.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many resources available to help immigrants find jobs in Canada. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it as there are dozens of government programs, services and aids available. If you do not ask you will not receive.
Bring a transferable skill that allows you to build an export oriented business. Imagine if you were in the business of processed food before you migrated. Now think about all the raw ingredients that went into making your product. Evaluate how many of them were Canadian origin. Since you already know the business it becomes much easier for you to source those products in Canada and export to similar businesses globally.
If you want to enhance your outcomes and move towards those in the list shared in Part 1: Subscribe to and read my weekly news letter on personal transformation and entrepreneurship at https://faster.beehiiv.com/