Skilled Worker Wanting to Come to Canada? There is a Job Waiting for You


For decades, Canada has been lauded as a top immigrant destination.  In the year 2012 alone, it became home to more than 250,000 new immigrants, and has welcomed twice the amount of immigrants as the United States for over seven years.  Key to this long standing trend is the country’s thriving economy and its ongoing demand for labour, which has maintained the government’s interest in keeping pace with a target of between 240,000 to 265,000 new immigrants each year.

In many Canadian industries, the need for workers remains very high, and there are no signs of it slowing down in the near future. Here are a few sectors of the Canadian economy that are currently receiving foreign workers with open arms.

1. Construction

Construction is a booming industry representing 15% of the Canadian economy. According to the Canadian Construction Association, this $165 billion dollar mega-sector’s employers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit enough staff to keep up with the industry’s growth.

Adding to the exponential growth of this industry in determining its high labour demand is the fact that approximately 25% of the construction workforce is currently expected to retire within the next 10 years.


Even though construction workers’ wages vary from province to province, the high demand for labour in this sector has resulted in an exponential increase in salary, especially once the worker’s apprenticeship period is completed. While an apprentice electrician may earn from $15 to $24 an hour — an hourly rate that already diverts significantly from the minimum wage—a construction employee’s salary can reach up to $35 an hour after the apprenticeship program is completed. Similarly, experienced welders, crane operators, and pipefitters may earn as much as $35 an hour

Education and Experience

An apprenticeship training, which usually takes from 3 to 5 years to complete, is mandatory in most construction trades. In addition, Canadian employers require that their foreign employees authenticate their high school diploma if it was obtained outside of Canada prior to their registration in an apprenticeship program.

2. Natural Resources

The vast Canadian landscape offers ample opportunity to those interested in the oil and gas industry.  Canada holds the second largest oil reserves in the world, and job openings are endless.  According to a recent survey given by the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada (PHRCC), 91% of survey respondents are actively hiring to fill positions.  This labour shortage is expected to continue for many years to come, leading to even higher salaries and increased benefits for employees.  The PHRCC also confirms that “labor demand outlook is available for 38 core industries.”  Engineering and heavy equipment operators are the fields that will see the highest demand.


A technician in this sector can see his base salary range from $70,000 for junior positions, to as much as $160,000 for qualified senior positions and managers.  Engineers can earn as much as $215,000 per year based on knowledge and credentials.  Operating heavy machinery can lead to salaries anywhere from $27/hour to $42.40/hour. Basic entry level positions may earn $12.50/hour.

Education and Experience

Acquiring an engineering job requires a four-year University degree in an institution that must be certified with a provincial engineering association.  Those with qualifications outside of Canada may be obligated to undergo a recertification program that requires extensive testing.  The prime market is reserved for new graduates, but there is still ample opportunity for others who do not have experience in the oil industry. Industry-specific training is required for low-level drill workers, equipment operators and other non-regulated industry professionals.  Training received outside of Canada will be taken into consideration.

3. Health Care

By 2033, 25% of Canada’s population will be over the age of 65. This elderly population will put greater demands on health care professionals such as nurses, medical technologists, support workers and occupational therapists, opening up the job market for aspiring employers throughout the country.


According to Judith Shamian, president of the Canadian Nurses Association (CAN), there currently  a shortage of over 20,000 nurses in the country, and the demand is likely to rise as the nursing population is aging and a high retirement rate is to be expected in the upcoming years. All prospective nurses in Canada are required to pass a Canadian nursing order’s exam in order to practice, regardless of any qualifications or degree obtained nationally or internationally. Their salaries range from $40,000 to $60,000, and nurse clinicians can make up to $80,000.

Medical Technologists

Technology has become a marquee attribute of the healthcare system, and offers ample employment for those with computer skills and knowledge of medical systems.  Having current knowledge on electronic medical records and documentation is an ever-increasing asset.  A college diploma in medical lab technology is mandatory for lab technologists, as well as a six-to-14 month assistant or technician course.  Radiation technologists must have a degree in their respective domain and must pass an exam certified by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists’.  Salaries can reach up to      $80 000, and vary according to province and experience.

Support workers

This class of workers are unregulated health specialists, whose primary aim is to deliver companionship, assist the elderly and act as personal aids to people with disabilities.  While the salary in this field is not too substantial, ranging from $25,000 to $35,000, there are no prior education requirements due to the unregulated nature of the job.  Undertaking a volunteering position may lead to an opening for a job opportunity.

Occupational therapy

The main goal is to provide rehabilitation services to your clients, especially after injury.  Such a job requires thousands of hours of supervised fieldwork, as well as a two-year degree.  Any hopeful international occupational therapists must abide by the the requirements of the province.  A therapist may earn $45,000.

Average hourly wages by sector

This list represents average salaries, as of October 2012, according to Statistics Canada, for the following job sectors (please note that they are subject to variation depending on the province of employment):

  • Sales and service: $16.04
  • Trades, transport, equipment operators: $23.33
  • Art, culture, recreation, sport: $24.08
  • Processing, manufacturing and utilities: $19.71
  • Health occupations: $27.26
  • Social science, education and government service: $30.34
  • Business, finance and administrative: $22.65
  • Natural and applied sciences: $32.99





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