Since March 18, 2020, due to global pandemic, Working Holiday permit holders willing to go to Canada to activate their permit are for the first time required to have:

  • A job offer (+ a written note from their employer that says their business is continuing to operate and they will start work after the 14-day mandatory quarantine).
  • A POE Letter of Introduction.
  • Proof of adequate health coverage.

Important: your job doesn’t have to be “essential”.

In this article, we will give you advice to secure a job offer with a Canadian employer. It might not be easy and you may not all succeed, but here are some tips that will hopefully be useful!

Your potential obstacles

Finding a job in Canada from home has always been more difficult

It is one of the advantages of the Working Holiday Program to be able to seek work directly in Canada. Employers may be reluctant to hire a candidate they’ve never met in person, and they may think it’s complicated to hire foreign workers.

The unemployment rate in Canada

Canada is in a recession, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Industries which normally hire many Working Holiday permit holders, are particularly affected: catering, tourism, accommodation services…

Many employers, aware of the effects of the crisis on their communities, may hire Canadians first. Moreover, these candidates live in Canada and are immediately available to work, which is a considerable advantage over Working Holiday makers living abroad.

In addition, you will be competing with many Working Holiday permit holders who have been laid off and currently live in Canada.

You have no Canadian work experience

Many Canadian employers require a first Canadian work experience before considering hiring you. It shows that you have faced the Canadian labor market and that you have a basic understanding of its rules (hierarchical relationships, conflict management…).

Your employer is required to pay you during your quarantine period

Upon your arrival in quarantine, you are required to undergo a very strict 14-day isolation. You cannot leave your home, not even to go grocery shopping, and even less to go to your place of work. So you cannot start working in person for 14 days. If you are able to work from home, you can start working as soon as you arrive.

During this period, your employer is legally obliged to pay you a salary. Employers may be reluctant to do so.

Job search tips

Industries that are still hiring

You should consider not working in your industry or in the province where you initially thought you would settle.

On Job Bank, the Canadian government’s job search website, a page dedicated to COVID-19 has been created to list the job opportunities still available: Job and career options during the coronavirus pandemic.

Job Bank also lists jobs that can be done from home, such as administration, accounting or IT jobs. However, immigration agents might consider that you travel for a non-essential purpose, as you can work from your country.

Use your network in Canada (if you have one)

Your friends and relatives may know someone who knows someone who is currently hiring…

Read our tips!

Take a moment to read this: Finding a job and working in Canada.

Reassure your potential employers!

Employers may be worried by the administrative procedures they might have to do to hire you.

Having a POE Letter of Introduction for the Working Holiday permit enables you to go to Canada and start working quickly. You must quarantine for 14 days, though.

In your job applications, make sure to let the employers know that you have an “open work permit” (they don’t have to pay or do anything to hire you!) and suggest a job interview on Skype or Zoom.

Your employer must pay you during your quarantine, this is a legal obligation, even if you are unable to work.

What should your job offer include?

Many of you have asked us this question on social networks (join us on Facebook and Instagram!). There is no standard document, nor a list of details to be included in your job offer. However, we believe it should at least include the following:

  • The type of job (full-time, part-time, seasonal, permanent…).
  • The job title and a job description.
  • Your start date and the duration of your contract.
  • The place of employment.
  • Your salary and benefits.
  • Your employer contact details (address, telephone number, email address).
  • A message from your employer that says that their business is not closed and that you can start working as soon as the mandatory quarantine period ends.

Your job offer should be on letterhead as well as dated, signed and stamped.

If your occupation is regulated, you may also need to provide proof that you are allowed to work in the Canadian province you plan to live in.


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