Working in Canada


Working in Canada: A Guide for Newcomers

The experience of finding a job in a new country can be exciting as it is complicated and confusing. In order to assist you with this matter, we have combined basic information and useful links to help you prepare before leaving your country and upon arrival in Alberta. These pages will provide you with essential resources and information to help you enter the Alberta labour market.

We hope this information will be helpful and that you will visit Accès Emploi upon your arrival to take advantage of our free employment services for french speaking job seekers. Our office is located in Edmonton, Alberta’s capital. We also have an office in the Northeast region serving the communities of Lac la Biche, St. Paul, Bonnyville, Cold Lake and Plamondon.

Work permit holders, individuals seeking to apply for an immigration status and Francophone newcomers in Alberta will especially benefit from this information. To save time, avoid problems and disappointments, you will need to do certain things before your arrival in Alberta, while others can wait until you get here. The more informed you are, the easier it will be to accomplish your settlement and integration process.

Government of Alberta
Bonjour Alberta (French)
Alberta’s official immigration website

Government of Canada
Immigrate to Canada

For information on settlement and integration services, we advise you to contact la FRAP-PASE. Its services include finding accommodations, orientation, interpretation, coaching, administrative procedures, and many ressources…


Admissibility to Canada

The immigration policy in Canada is structured around three main categories: Economic, Family Reunification and Humanitarian.

Economic Immigration

This category represents the largest portion of immigrants arriving in Canada each year. Points are assigned for different factors including: education, work experience, age, English and/or French language skills, adaptability, arranged employment in Canada. A person must have a minimum number of points to qualify to enter Canada as a permanent resident. Within the economic class, the following programs exist: Federal Skilled Worker, Provincial Nominee Program, Business Immigrant, Canadian Experience Class (category that allows foreign workers or recently graduated international students working in Canada to apply for permanent residence).

Government of Canada
Immigrate to Canada
How Express Entry works

Family Reunification

This classification of immigrants includes spouses, children and other dependents who qualify to join family members who are already living in Canada. This is the second-largest group of immigrants admitted on a yearly basis. A Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada can sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, dependent child (including adopted child) or other eligible relative to become a permanent resident. Qualifying sponsors must make every reasonable effort to support the essential needs of family members.

Government of Canada
Family sponsorship

Refugees and asylum seekers

This classification includes Conventional Refugees, individuals who may be considered under Country of Asylum Class and compassionate cases. This is the smallest group of immigrants admitted to Canada each year. A conventional refugee is a persons who is outside their home country and cannot return due to well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or member in a particular social group.

Country of Asylum Class
This group is made up of individuals who are outside their home country or the country where they normally live and have been, and continue to be, seriously and personally affected by civil war or armed conflict, or have suffered massive violations of human rights.

Canada provides protection to thousands of people every year. Individuals must undergo extensive medical, and security and criminal checks.

Government of Canada
How Canada’s refugee system works

Temporary Foreign Workers

This program helps fill genuine and acute labour needs when Canadians are not available. The program is currently under review. Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada are responsible for assessing applications from employers requesting to hire temporary foreign workers (TFW). This ministry issues labour market opinions (LMO) that corroborate employer needs and labour shortages in specific occupations.

Government of Canada
Temporary foreign workers

New: As of June 1st, 2016, French-speaking or bilingual skilled workers who intend to work in a community outside Québec may be exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

Government of Canada
Hire French-speaking or bilingual workers outside Quebec

About Alberta

Alberta is one of Canada’s ten provinces. Its capital is Edmonton. The other major cities are Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat. Nearly 81% of the population lives in urban areas and 19% in rural areas. Alberta is currently home to about 3.47 million people. Nearly 1.08 million of them live in the Edmonton area and about 1.14 million live in the Calgary area.

Canada is officially a bilingual country, but Alberta’s official language is English. The majority of the provincial population is Anglophone. The provincial government services in Alberta are offered primarily in English. According to the 2016 census, 2.3% of Alberta’s population speaks French as its first language (about 88,220 inhabitants) and 268,640 people can speak French.

The government of Alberta established the Francophone Secretariat in 1999. Its principal mandate is to serve as a liaison between the provincial government and Alberta’s francophone community.

Government of Alberta
Francophone Secretariat

Alberta economy and employment

Alberta’s economy is dominated by the energy sector, a major employer in the province. Alberta has the third largest crude oil reserve in the world after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Since 2014, the price of oil has diminished significantly and the unemployment rate has increased. However, Alberta’s economy is also based on other sectors which contribute significantly to its economy.

In addition to oil and gas, the forestry industry is very important. Alberta also has a strong agricultural sector that has long been at the root of its culture and economy and still influences it. These secondary sectors have doubled over the past decade. In addition, innovation fosters the development of new industries, making Alberta a major competitor in the global market.

Canada’s economy is developing rapidly and Alberta remains an excellent choice for finding employment. International surveys rank Edmonton and Calgary among the best cities in the world to work. In recent years, the number of permanent residents and foreign workers in the province has increased. In addition to the wide availability of jobs, people want to work in Alberta to enjoy its high standard of living.

The Conference Board of Canada

Government of Alberta
Alberta’s Economic Development Website

Francophone communities in Alberta

People from all over the world have chosen to live in Alberta. Migrants from other parts of Canada and other nations built its rich human heritage. Even now, Alberta is open to new opportunities, new people and new ideas. Whether you are a Franco-Albertan or a French-speaking newcomer, you will find that the French language and culture are important elements to personal growth and development. In a province like Alberta, where the predominant language is English, the Franco-Albertan community is an invaluable resource to enhance quality of life, facilitate integration and develop a sense of belonging.

There are Francophones in all regions of Alberta but the greatest concentration of Franco-Albertans is found in the two metropolitan areas of Edmonton and Calgary. Many communities also have a significant Francophone population. There you will be able to find schools, cultural centers, regional offices of l’Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta (ACFA) (French Canadian Association of Alberta) and other centers and institutions that provide services and programs in French.

“Alberta’s Francophonie represents more than 100 non-profit organizations involved in a variety of sectors such as the arts and culture, education, health, early childhood, newcomers, economic development and heritage preservation.” (Quoted from ‘Alberta’s francophone community: strong and vibrant’, Government of Alberta, July 2009)

To learn more about Alberta’s francophone community, visit the following links:

Bonjour Alberta
Profil de la communauté francophone (French)

Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta
ACFA (French)