For potential immigrants seeking to relocate to Canada, one of the best options is to land a job with a Canadian company. The country has a variety of favourable immigration programs for foreign workers. Even if you don’t have a job offer in Canada, there are numerous options and opportunities for individuals with skills and experience in the highest demand jobs. Federal programs are available to certain professions, and dozens of provincial nominee programs have been established to attract other workers to specific parts of the country.
For a comprehensive overview of work related immigration programs, check out our articles on Moving to Canada and Finding a Job and Canadian Immigration Programs.
What are the highest demand jobs in Canada?
Foreigners hoping to move to Canada can greatly improve their chances if they can acquire training and experience in fields and industries with the greatest demand. And in recent years, Canada has been experiencing some serious labor shortages, with certain sectors growing too fast for the labor supply to keep up. With that in mind, we hear a lot of people asking: what are the highest demand jobs in Canada?
Overall, the greatest demand is in the highly skilled fields of medicine, engineering and high tech. You will also find a bounty of job openings in construction and for less skilled labor in the service industry.
Canadian jobs in medicine and health care
Registered nurse (RN): Between aging baby boomers and ever-increasing life expectancies, Canada is seeing a greater and greater need for health care professionals, especially nurses. The demand for nurses is highest around the larger population centers, i.e. the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. But nurses are also needed in the more rural areas where there are fewer physicians, and nurses tend to take a more leading role in medical care. In fact, nurses can earn the highest salaries in remote parts where populations are thin and doctors scarce.
Generally, a bachelor’s degree is required to work as a nurse. It is also necessary to register with the provincial or local regulatory agency.
Typical salary: $20-$60/hour
Be sure to look at our article on Moving to Canada as a nurse or caregiver.
Licensed practical nurse (LPN): Just like RNs, LPNs are currently and will continue to be in great demand throughout Canada as the nation’s population keeps aging and putting an increasing demand on the health care infrastructure. But unlike RNs, practical nurses usually only need a two- or three-year diploma to qualify. In this slightly less skilled position, LPNs ordinarily work under the direction of a physician or RN.
After completing the necessary training, an LPN will easily find job openings all across Canada, although their earning potential is slightly lower than that of an RN.
Typical salary: $15-$40/hour
Pharmacist: Another health care profession with opportunities throughout the country, pharmacists can find work in hospitals, drug stores and independent practices. To pursue this career, one needs to obtain a pharmacy degree, pass the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada’s national board exam, and register with the province or territory.
Typical salary: $25-$75/hour
Veterinary doctor or technician: Veterinarians and their assistants are always in demand. An affluent society with a love of furry animals, Canadians spend over $8 billion a year on their pets. To practice veterinary medicine in Canada, you need a DVM, doctor of veterinary medicine degree. Technicians need only a diploma and to register with a veterinary association.
Typical salary: Vets can earn anywhere between $28,000-$175,000/year, while their technicians make around $20/hour.
Anesthesiologist: Medical practitioners are in great demand in Canada where they are also well paid. Working under high pressure in hospital operating rooms, anesthesiologists are among the highest paid medical professionals in the world. Anesthesiologists must complete medical school and pass the special exams of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Typical salary: $100,000-$600,000/year
Optician: Eyeglasses and other optical products in Canada are available from a vast array of stores and clinics, and they all need well-trained opticians in order to provide their patients and customers with the best level of service. Opticians need to study for 2-3 years and earn a diploma, and then obtain a license from a provincial regulatory body.
Typical salary: $20/hour on average
Occupational or physical therapy assistant: As life expectancies rise and medical treatments improve, physical therapy has become an increasingly popular option for seniors and those recovering from injuries, surgeries and other procedures. This can be an especially rewarding profession, helping patients regain mobility, strength, and general confidence.
A two- or three-year diploma is enough to work as a physical therapist’s assistant. Massage therapy is another related profession that is also highly sought after.
Typical salary: $25/hour on average
Psychologist: While medical care improves and standards of living appear to rise, a growing mental health problem looms on the horizon. Luckily, better and better services and treatments are becoming available. But those services require manpower, and currently there just aren’t enough psychologists to meet the task. A wide range of specializations exist to treat children, the elderly, couples, substance abuse issues, mood disorders and so on.
Most fields of psychology require the minimum of a master’s degree and often a PhD. Licensing requirements vary from province to province.
Typical salary: $60,000-$160,000/year
High-tech and high skill jobs in Canada
Software engineer: Besides nurses, software engineers are probably the most needed workers in Canada. As computers have permeated nearly every aspect of every industry, software developers can now find openings virtually anywhere. And as the field is changing so quickly, there are likely to be more jobs every year, requiring greater and greater skills and knowledge.
Most jobs in this area require a bachelor’s degree, and more experience will earn higher pay.
Typical salary: $50,000-$150,000/year
AI researcher: With Montreal emerging as the Artificial Intelligence capital of North America, job opportunities for AI researchers have never been more plentiful, or more exciting. Whether you love it or fear it, AI is here to stay, and its role in daily life is growing on an almost daily basis. From banks to car manufacturers, AI jobs are everywhere.
A bachelor’s degree is usually required, and researchers normally have a background in software engineering.
Typical salary: $75,000-$95,000/year
Aerospace engineer: Heavy on technology, here’s another fast-changing industry that’s always in need of new staff and fresh ideas. Aircraft design is a competitive business and always evolving, with today’s stricter environmental laws requiring more innovation than ever.
Aerospace engineers need at least a bachelor’s degree.
Typical salary: $50,000-$110,000/year
Aircraft pilot: Opportunities in this industry are really taking off. Skilled pilots are always in demand, and with the average age of commercial pilots inching upwards in Canada, there will likely be a wave of retirements and new openings in the near future.
Before becoming an airline pilot, you first need a private pilot’s license and then a commercial pilot’s license.
Typical salary: $10-$80/hour
Business and education
College instructor or professor: Colleges and vocational schools are always looking for instructors to teach a great variety of courses, from academic subjects to technical trades to arts and home economics. Over the next ten years, Canadian colleges expect to see a significant wave of retirements, and an unusually high level of new openings.
Depending on the type of subjects being taught, requirements will vary widely. In some cases a diploma and some amount of professional experience will be enough. For more academically rigourous subjects, a master’s degree will be necessary. To teach at the university level, professors must have a PhD. Likewise, the salaries can also span quite a wide range.
Typical salary: $30,000-$200,000/year
Business manager and consultant: As the Canadian economy grows and the landscape of international business undergoes sweeping changes related to technology and globalization, the value of a knowledgeable consultant can be tremendous. Every industry is facing new challenges and unfamiliar opportunities, and genuine expertise is critical for companies trying to maintain a competitive edge. For the most skilled and experienced consultants, this can be a very lucrative career.
Typical salary: $40,000-$50,000/year on average, but the sky’s the limit
Accountant: A traditional job that’s not going away, businesses and individuals will probably always need accountants, no matter how much the economy changes. It may not be the most glamourous career, but chartered professional accountants (CPAs) can always find work, and the painstaking number-crunching ordinarily pays quite well.
CPAs in Canada usually need a bachelor’s degree, and they must complete the CPA PEP (Prerequisite Education Program) to become certified.
Typical salary: $40,000-$100,000/year
Trades and service jobs in Canada
Industrial electrician: Wherever you have electricity, you need electricians. So in Canada, that’s basically everywhere. With a strong and growing construction sector, the demand for industrial electricians should continue to rise. Also, with ever changing technology surrounding energy and electricity, up-to-date skills and experience will be more valuable than ever.
Vocational training followed by an apprentice program are needed to work as an electrician in Canada. Trade certification may be required as well.
Typical salary: $50,000-$80,000/year
Construction estimator: Jobs are plentiful in the area of construction, and this is one more example of a specialized, high-demand position. New construction has been at record high levels in recent years, and every project needs an expert who can analyze costs and prepare a reliable budget.
To work as a construction estimator, you usually need a diploma, as well as a certificate from the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS).
Typical salary: $40,000-$75,000/year
Pipefitter or steamfitter: Another specialized construction trade, pipefitters are needed in new construction as well as upgrading older buildings. Every commercial building needs a sprinkler system, and they also need regular maintenance and inspections. Many pipefitters are nearing retirement and too few have been training to replace them, so it’s definitely a niche with opportunities.
Like other trades, pipefitters need vocational training followed by an apprentice program.
Typical salary: $40,000-$70-000/year
Welder: Like other construction-related trades, there’s always a demand for welders. But they aren’t being trained quickly enough to keep up with the rate of retirements. As older welders prepare to hang up their torches, younger Canadians are gearing more and more towards university education and shying away from trades like this. Hence the the looming shortage of electricians and welders.
Welders don’t need a degree from university, but vocational training and an apprenticeship are required.
Typical salary: $10-$50/hour
Truck driver: Again, in a prosperous and egalitarian society like Canada, not many young people have the ambition to become truck drivers. At the same time, Canada relies heavily on trucking for the delivery and distribution of all manner of products, from groceries to industrial building supplies. Consequently, the country faces a growing shortage of truck drivers, and Ontario and Saskatchewan have even established provincial immigration programs to attract truckers from abroad.
Truck drivers must complete a training course in order to earn a special license.
Typical salary: $20-$25/hour on average
Sales associate or cashier: An unskilled job often filled by younger people, students and sometimes immigrants, sales associates are needed in all kinds of shops and businesses that serve the general public. In fact, retail businesses employ roughly 10 percent of the nation’s workforce. This line of work usually requires little or nothing in the way of special training or experience.
Typical salary: $15-$20/hour
With an aging generation of baby boomers, Canadians can expect to see a large segment of society leaving the workforce and needing an increased level of medical care over the next ten years. This will translate into substantial job openings, and especially high demand for health care workers. Leaps and bounds in the fields of computers and high tech will also spell big opportunities for software developers and engineers.
No matter how you slice it, you can expect to see a significant demand for skilled labor in Canada’s growing economy in the coming years. So if you have the right skills, immigrating to Canada could be a very feasible and advantageous move.
ARIANNE Relocation has been helping families and professionals move to Canada since 1996. We have a range of products and services to help make the transition go more smoothly. Check out some of the following links and articles for more in-depth information about relocating to Canada.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ani Kolleshi (Unsplash)