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Working life can be confusing when you first arrive in Canada. However, if you are thinking of coming to Canada to work, you have made a good decision. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ranks Canada high for jobs and income.

Facts about working in Canada

Canadians work long hours compared with many European countries, but not as long as workers in the United States.

About 51 per cent of Canadians have a post-secondary education which is the highest percentage among OECD countries. You’ll be competing with a lot of qualified people.

Canadians pay a high rate of tax, so when you receive your first paycheque you might be surprised by how much is deducted. However, some of it might come back to you when you submit your tax return.

Foreign credentials may not be automatically recognized. Before you arrive, connect with professional organizations for advice. You may need to write tests, take courses or pay to have your skills assessed before you can work in the same position in Canada. Often professions are regulated differently depending on the province. This means that if you move, you might have to be reassessed.

Working life is a big part of identity for most Canadians. They will often talk about what they do when asked to describe themselves. If you are thinking of moving to Canada, working will be a big part of your life.

What is working life in Canada like?

Canadians don’t ask a lot of personal questions unless they know someone well. Stick to conversations about general topics like weekend plans or favourite foods, and avoid questions about how much another person earns, why they aren’t married or what religion they practice.

Many Canadians are sensitive to the fact that their co-workers may be bothered by strong scents. Avoid cologne or perfume unless you notice others wearing it, and even then use it sparingly.

Try to arrive on time for every meeting or appointment in addition to your scheduled start time. Canadians are generally punctual and respect deadlines.

Compared to other countries, Canadians don’t expect to have strong personal relationships with co-workers. Most people recognize a division between working life and home life. Don’t be offended if your co-workers don’t want to be friends outside of work.

Canadians are quite informal. Usually they call their co-workers by their first names and are not focussed on status. If someone is introduced by their first name, assume you can call them by that. However, if they are addressed as Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Dr., use these titles and their last names. Clients are generally called by titles and last names unless they ask you to use their first name.

Canadians are very team-oriented. In small companies, especially, you might be asked to do things outside of your position. Don’t talk down to people based on their job title or position.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t know how to use the photocopier or if you aren’t sure if you should wear a suit to a meeting, just ask a colleague. Most Canadians will be happy to help.

Don’t be evasive or fail to answer questions. Canadians tend to be direct and honest. If they are cautious of hurting someone’s feelings, they will frame their answer politely.

If you are thinking about coming to Canada to work, there are many different options available. Contact us to find out if you can apply for Canadian immigration and start your adventure working in Canada.