Working in Canada

When you arrive

Congratulations! You have accomplished many steps to prepare your arrival in Alberta and you probably feel overwhelmed by your new surroundings. Accès Emploi is there to provide you with advice, resources and contacts to help you take the next steps required to settle and find employment in Alberta.

Arriving and getting settled

For all your settlement and integration services, we recommend a visit to FRAP-PASE. Its services include: finding accommodations, orientation, interpretation, guidance, administrative procedures, various referrals and more …


Employment in Alberta

Employment in Alberta and Canada certainly differs in many ways from employment in your home country or in other countries where you have lived. Plenty of resources are available to help you cope with that change and make the most of it. The more informed you are, the better your integration, your choices and your decisions.

Employment in Canada is placed under the jurisdiction of the federal department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Employment matters are jointly handled with provincial government departments such as Alberta Labour.

All services under federal jurisdiction must, in principle, be available in both official languages across Canada, including those “delegated” to the provinces, such as employment. The Alberta Ministry of Labour, rather than hiring bilingual staff in each of its service centres, has decided to establish employment centres dedicated to Francophones in areas where the demand is high. accès•emploi  is one of these centres, servicing the Greater Edmonton region.
Service Canada Centres, available in Alberta’s major cities, provide:

  1. applications for a Social Insurance Number
  2. Employment Insurance programs
  3. Other employment related services and programs.

They also have self-serve kiosks and computer workstations to access local and national job banks.

Government of Canada
Find a Service Canada Office

Check this site for a list of employment centers in Alberta where you can be served in French:

Government of Alberta
Centres d’emploi (French)

Documents to obtain

  • Permanent Resident Card
    As part of the immigration process, the permanent resident card is issued automatically to new permanent residents by Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration (CIC). Your card will be sent to you by mail, usually within four weeks of your date of entry into Canada or from the time you provide your mailing address to CIC in Canada. For more information:

    Government of Canada

    Permanent Resident Card
  • Social Insurance Number
    Having a Social Insurance Number is essential to work in Canada and to access government services. This number is also required by your employer.accès•emploi cannot offer its services if you do not have a Social Insurance Number.

    Government of Canada, Service Canada

    Social Insurance Number
  • Alberta Health Care Card
    The health card is issued by the Government of Alberta and is available to permanent residents and visitors on a work permit. It provides free access to insured health care services.
    For more information :

    Government of Canada
    Health Care

    Government of Alberta, Alberta Health

    Residents from out of country

    Health services provided include primary health care such as physician services and hospital care, which represent the majority of healthcare spending. Some services however are not included, including dental care, prescription drugs and eyewear, ambulance services, etc. To be covered for these services you will need to subscribe to private health insurance.
    Under the provincial government’s Alberta Works program, individuals and eligible low-income families may have access to free medical benefits. For more information, visit the following website:
    Alberta Works

  • Alberta Driver’s License
    Having a driver’s license can be essential for certain jobs in Alberta, either to get to work or to operate a vehicle as part of your duties.

    Immigration and Citizenship Canada


    Government of Alberta

    Driver’s license

    Government of Alberta

    Test available in ten languages
  • Criminal Record Check
    To access certain jobs, you will be asked to obtain a criminal record check.
    This may also be required if you wish to work with vulnerable people and children.

    Edmonton Police Service

    Police Information Check

    Royal Canadian Mounted Police

    How to Obtain a Certified Criminal Record Check

English as a working language

Language Assessment
Living in Alberta, you will be immersed in an English environment which will provide multiple opportunities to hone your skills in that language.

It would be useful to assess your English proficiency when you arrive in Alberta. In Edmonton, Catholic Social Services can evaluate your skills through an exam called the Canadian Language Benchmarks Assessment (CLBA). This assessment is based on Canadian Language Benchmarks recognized across the country and allows you to enroll in an ESL course (English as a Second Language) corresponding to your skill level.

Catholic Social Services
Language Assessment, Referral and Counseling Centre

You can also complete a self-evaluation on-line on the following website:


The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is also an English-language test. Unlike CLBA, the TOEFL is based on international standards and is recognized around the world. Since it measures the level of listening and reading proficiency in English at a university level, its purpose is also different. It is often required to apply for admission at post-secondary educational institutions or to obtain a professional license. To assess your speaking abilities, some associations require that you pass the Language Proficiency Test offered by ESL educational institutions, in addition to the TOEFL.

English Courses
The Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) offers basic English language courses for permanent residents. This program, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, is free. Hours of instruction vary, depending on your existing skills and the level you need to achieve. The maximum is 1,200 hours, four sessions of 300 hours each.

Service Canada
Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada

Various other institutions offer ESL courses. Several options are available depending on your availability, your learning style and your budget.

Catholic Social Services – Language Assesment (LARCC)

accès•emploi offers courses called English for the Workplace. They are geared towards various work environments. Your job counselor will assess your eligibility for these courses during your first meeting.

Independent English Learning
Here are a few useful sites to help you learn English.

Government of Alberta
Improve your English

Edmonton Public Library (Bibliothèque publique d’Edmonton)
English Language Learners

Learning English with CBC

Recognition of your education and qualifications

It is important to assess the skills you have acquired outside the country to see how they compare with the skills you can acquire here in Canada. If your training has gaps as compared to Canadian standards, this assessment will help you identify them and help you choose courses to become fully qualified.

The International Qualifications Assessment (IQAS) service was established by the Alberta government to assess education received outside of Canada and issue certificates which establish Canadian equivalencies for diplomas obtained abroad. This assessment may be useful to enter the labour market, join a professional licensing organization or enroll in postsecondary educational institutions. Before starting this process, it is important to ensure that employers, associations or institutions to which you plan to submit these certificates, will accept them and take them into account.

You will be required to submit original certificates, diplomas, transcripts, letters of recommendation and records of employment. Generally, these documents are sent by institutions from your country of origin to an institution in Alberta. However, if they are written in a foreign language, they must be translated word for word by an accredited translator. Your originals will be returned once the evaluation is completed. It is important to note that IQAS accepts documents in French.

Some professional licensing organizations and post-secondary institutions do their own skill assessments. You must contact them directly to learn how your internationally earned qualifications may be recognized.

If your skills are recognized and your occupation is regulated by a professional licensing organization or association, you will have to become a member to legally practice in Canada. In general, the procedure is as follows: you will have to pass one or more entrance exams, register as a member and pay dues, usually every year. Your accreditation will depend on your level of experience and the position you will hold as a professional.

If part or all of your experience is not recognized by employers or by the professional licensing organization for your field or profession, you will need to receive additional training to acquire the competencies required in your occupation.

Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials
Foreign Credentials Recognition

Government of Alberta
International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)

Translation of your documents

With the exception of IQAS, which accepts documents in French, you will likely need to have your documents translated into English. In most cases, you will be responsible for the expenses associated with the translation of these documents. Make sure your documents are translated by an accredited translation service in order for them to be recognized as valid. In Edmonton, you can refer to the two following associations. The first is non-profit and specifically serves immigrants:

Edmonton Immigrant Services Association

Alberta Association of Interpreters and Translators

Setting your employment goal and searching for work

Finding employment is one of the most important success factors of your immigration but also a major challenge that you must be prepared to meet. Your employment objective should reflect the recognition of your credentials, your work experience and the needs of the labour market in Alberta.

To find work, you may have to accept, at least initially, less responsibility than you held in a previous position or you may have to change profession.

Have you just arrived? It is time to meet with an employment counselor at Accès Emploi, either in our Edmonton office or at our North-Eastern Alberta location. Your counselor will evaluate your needs and will be able to explain the services available to you.

To learn more about accès•emploi’s job search services, visit:

Accès Emploi
Our Services

Government of Canada
How Do I Apply for a Job?

Immigrate to Alberta
Finding a job