EU nationals can enter and reside in Canada as tourists for up to six months. Those intending to find work need to apply for Employment Authorization from the Canadian High Commission or Embassy whilst still in the UK. Canadian employment laws are particularly strict and if you are found working without authorisation you are highly at risk of deportation. If you are a gap year student it is worth looking into BUNAC's 'Work Canada' programme. As part of this scheme you are permitted to live and work in Canada for a year, as long as you can show funds of about CAN$1000 (approx. £452), or less if you have already found a job for your arrival in Canada.
Resorts in the Rocky Mountains provide some opportunities for work in hotels. Wages will vary depending on the type of work, and deductions are usually made for the provision of food and accommodation. Despite the casual nature of most jobs of this kind it is still vital to have a work permit as strict regulations mean that checks are often made on employees, often in places that attract a lot of international workers. See the later section on the World Challenge Expeditions organisation for more opportunities in this type of work.
The Okanagan valley, British Columbia, and Ontario are home to some of the most promising fruit-picking jobs. Between July and September peaches, apples, pears, and cherries etc. reach their harvesting seasons. Pickers are usually paid depending on how much they can collect. As long as you have authorisation to work in Canada it is worth contacting the Agricultural Employment Service for information relating to jobs and harvests in the Canadian agricultural sector. Alternatively, AgriVenture recruits workers for five to fourteen month work placements throughout the world, including in Canada. Workers are paid for their labour and are provided with accommodation and food. Those wanting to work with AgriVenture need to be able to fund their own travel and insurance, and require a full driving licence. WWOOF is a voluntary organisation, placing volunteers on organic farms in various countries.
Canada also has strict employment regulations with regards to childcare positions. Most people wanting to find a placement as a nanny or mothers' help will need to show qualifications or substantial experience in the field and should expect to dedicate themselves to a family for at least one year. Vacancies can be found in local newspapers. Nannies should anticipate working for up to 45 hours a week, and pay can be as much as CAN$880 (approx. £398) for a month's work, but this is usually less.
World Challenge Expeditions
Work with World Challenge Expeditions is sometimes paid, but is mostly voluntary. Workers are expected to fund their own travel expenses but the 12 month return ticket provided covers six months of work and a further six months of travel. There are currently opportunities for work at the Banff National Park in the Rockies, and the Jasper National Park. These vacancies are in hotels and ski resorts. Workers in hotels help with cleaning, housekeeping in chalets, waitering, and kitchen work. In ski resorts you can find work as housekeepers, kitchen helpers, and janitors. Depending on the busyness of the resort employees are expected to work between 20 and 50 hours per week, and should fund their own accommodation.
GAP Activity Projects Ltd.
GAP run projects across the world for placements of up to eleven months. Volunteers are expected to pay for insurance and registration fees, but are provided with accommodation, food, and pocket money. Placements in Canada take place in Independent Schools, in Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria amongst others where positions include teaching assistants and general classroom helpers. There are many opportunities to help with sports classes and outdoor excursions. There are also projects in L'Arche care communities helping residents, or outdoor placements such as on summer camps. See the GAP website for more details of placements available.
The British Universities' North America Club is a job organisation specialising in placements for gap year students. The types of work available vary, but include working on holiday camps with children, as a counsellor for example. Those wanting to join BUNAC are required to pay a registration fee, flights, and insurance etc. but can expect to receive a wage for the work they do.
CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) offers work placements in Canada. For gap year students who can show proof of an unconditional offer from a university for the following year the CIEE's 'Internship Canada' is ideal experience in a Canadian workplace. Internships last for up to twelve months and vary considerably in place, content, and payment. However, all internees are required to fund their own living, travel, and insurance, and to pay a £150 registration fee to CIEE.
Camphill Communities run volunteer placements throughout the world, including Canada. Volunteers work in communities with adults with special needs. You will be expected to work for 6 days a week and it is usually preferred that you stay for at least one year. Accommodation is provided for the duration of your stay, but you will have to fund your own meals. WWOOF, already mentioned, is an organisation placing volunteers on work projects on organic farms.
- Island.net provides information about the Agriculture Employment Service in British Columbia.
- Agriventure help you organise a working holiday on a variety of different agricultural sites such as farms and orchards
- Wwoof.org gives information of voluntary work available on organic farms.
- GAP are by far the most popular organisers of year abroad schemes
- Bunac organise working holidays, mostly on childrens camps throughout the North American continent
- CIEE help thousands of students each year to seize the opportunity of working abroad
- Callan Projects provides a database of links to various Camphill communities around the world