Working in Canada
The country is divided into ten provinces - Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Québec and Saskatchewan. There are also three territories - the Northwest Territory, Nunavut and Yukon Territory. The best places to find seasonal work are the main cities in Canada, along with some of the most popular resort destinations.
The main thing to remember about Canada is that it is massive. Huge. The second largest country in the world in fact, so when you are planning your working holiday to Canada you need to be realistic about where you are going and how much travelling you actually want to do. Factor in those destinations where you are most likely to find a summer job or winter ski job.
Canada is undoubtedly a place where people head to for the outdoors lifestyle. Because of the cold winters (and even summer nights are chilly) the weather is ideal for winter sports. During the other seasons the lakes and coast are perfect for water sports, and the vast national parks make great places for hiking and camping. There are lots of jobs available in these areas, including coaches, guides and resort staff, but you will need to have good experience and be organised. But if your idea of a good hike is getting from your hostel to the nearest bar, Canada’s cities offer plenty to keep you occupied. Urban areas are economic, financial and administrative powerhouses, as well as home to interesting arts and club scenes. The cities are multi-cultural and multi-lingual, with diverse and distinct districts.
Canada is a huge country, with an equally huge range of jobs and work experience opportunities. In fact there are so many different things you can do in Canada to earn a bit of cash that it can all get a bit confusing – so it’s a good job we’re here! The easiest way to get work in Canada is to go through the International Experience Canada Programme (see our visa section).
The ski season in Canada is a massive draw for tourists from all over the world, including the USA, Japan and Europe. Canadians love to make the most of their amazing natural resources too, and during the winter, between December and April the resorts are full of skiers and snowboarders. The kind of jobs available during the ski season include lift operators, janitors, food and beverage staff, guest services, equipment rental and repair, day care, ticket checking, parking attendants, cashiers, retail staff, room attendants and of course ski and snowboard instructors. Many resorts have recruitment fairs in Canadian cities during October or November, so it’s important to time your arrival to coincide with the start of the recruitment period. Most positions require you to have some experience in the relevant field - whether its just customer services or catering.
If you want to work as a ski or snowboard instructor, you will need to have the relevant qualifications. Alternatively what you could do is go on a ski work placement when you arrive in Canada that will qualify you as a ski or snowboard instructor, so you can then go on after the scheme to find work. The provinces with the largest number of ski resorts include Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Québec. These are the places where you are most likely to find work. As an employee of one of the big ski resorts you can expect to have low pay and shared accommodation. However, you can also expect a discount on ski passes, subsidised accommodation and food, as well as an active social life! So if you are there for the love of the snow, rather than the need to earn lots of money you’ll be fine.