Working in Canada

Prior to your arrival

Work permits

If you wish to work in Canada temporarily, you must obtain a work permit prior to your arrival.Accès Emploi requires that you present a valid work permit for any and all services. To apply, contact the Government of Canada.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Work permits

Occupational titles and profiles

The alphabetical index of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) lists nearly 30,000 job titles in Canada in alphabetical order. The NOC provides current information on occupations and on the Canadian labour market, including Alberta’s.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
National Occupational Classification

The following Government of Alberta website also provides valuable details and updated information on more than 500 occupations, including working conditions, training required and salary scales.

Alberta Learning Information Centre
Alberta Occupational Profiles

Job categories in Alberta

Newcomers are often surprised to learn that their qualifications and years of experience in another country are not automatically recognized in Canada or Alberta. In fact, many professionals will have to repeat part of their training and some will have to work in a transitional job before entering the profession. It is important to better to face this reality and prepare accordingly before arriving in Alberta.

The following websites present Alberta’s regulatory bodies and provide more information on this topic.

Bonjour Alberta / Government of Alberta
Professions et métiers (French)

Government of Alberta
Certification and Registration Requirements for Employment in Alberta


  • Occupations regulated by professional licensing
    First, it is important to check if your occupation is regulated by a professional licensing organization. In order to work as a professional in Alberta, you will often be required to get a license delivered by the regulatory body governing your occupation. This system is in place to ensure compliance with basic standards for each profession and to protect the health and safety of all Canadians. For example, teachers, engineers, lawyers, nurses, and doctors are members of professional associations in Alberta. If your profession is regulated, it is crucial to be familiar with all the steps you need to take to work legally in the province and to begin this process ahead of time.

In Alberta, professional associations are governed by provincial legislation and sometimes by the federal laws of Canada. They regulate standards of practice and access to the profession. They assess a candidate’s qualifications and authorize him/ her to practice or not. This is when equivalencies and recognition of diplomas and professional qualifications can become a problem. Professional licensing organizations also often generate relatively high expenses. In addition to the cost of registration and examination, you will also need to pay for your certification and annual membership.

It can take months or even years to be certified to practice your profession. Each professional licensing organization has its own criteria for membership, accreditation, and certification. You may be required to take oral or written exams (in English) as well as English proficiency tests, get a first job or more work experience in Canada, do a supervised internship or get additional training.

To avoid disappointments, it is in your best interest to find out what conditions are imposed by professional licensing organizations and to face the fact that you may not necessarily work as a professional in your field when you arrive. Prepare a back-up plan to work in a related field in the likely event that you will have to wait to become a licensed professional in Canada.

For more information, visit:

Government of Alberta

Certification and Registration Requirements for Employment in Alberta

  • Occupations not regulated by professional licensing organizations
    About 80% of occupations are classified as non-regulated. In this case, the employer alone decides whether the combination of your skills and work experience is sufficient or not. Many non-regulated occupations also have professional associations. These associations are groups of professionals that you can join to participate in activities, develop a network of contacts and in some cases, receive an ‘informal’ certification.


If you work in a skilled trade in your country, it is very important to bring records of employment as proof of the number of hours you have worked in your field. Once in Alberta, you can begin the process of getting your experience and training recognized by the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board. As a newcomer, you should know that the Conference Board of Canada anticipates that the country will need 1 million trade workers by 2020. Regarding training and certification, each province and company has its own program and regulations. In some trades, you must be certified or registered as an apprentice with the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board. If you are interested in working in trades, here is how it generally works in Alberta: Trades combine paid training in the workplace and technical training in an educational institution. Apprentices spend 40 to 44 weeks per year at work and 6 to 8 weeks in a classroom. An apprenticeship program usually takes 2 to 5 years. Candidates must find an employer willing to offer them a position as an apprentice. They receive a salary from their first day of work. Apprentices ultimately receive certification in a designated trade. For more details about trades and the list of occupations requiring a license, visit the following sites:

Apprenticeship and Industry Training
Trade Secrets

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Trades and Apprenticeship

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Apprenticeships and Trades

Construction Sector Council

Careers in Construction

Documents you must bring

Here is a list of documents to bring in order to facilitate your job search once you arrive in Alberta:

  1. School records and diplomas for each family member
  2. Diplomas, certificates or qualifications in your trade or profession
  3. Originals and copies of your educational documents
  4. Letters of recommendation from former employers
  5. Certificates of employment as proof of the number of hours worked in a trade (electrician, welder, etc.).
  6. Curriculum vitae (or a description of your education, your professional skills and your work experience that can be used to create a resumé)
  7. Portfolio (collection of documents such as pictures of your accomplishments, Curriculum vitae, letters of reference, awards, pictures taken in your workplace, etc.).
  8. Driver’s license

Don’t forget to bring your driver’s license and a certificate of your driving experience delivered by road transport authorities as well as a letter of recommendation from your current car insurance company. These documents will be used to prove that you are an experienced driver. They are required when you apply for a transfer of driver’s license and automobile insurance in Canada. All these documents can help reduce the cost of your auto insurance. The law requires you to take out car insurance in order to drive your own vehicle in Canada.

For more details, see the link below:

Working in Canada
What Documents to Bring