The standard working week in Canada is 40 hours. Typically people work Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, but flexible working systems are quite common so employees often enjoy at least a degree of freedom in their allocated hours. Under the Canada Labour Code the maximum working time per week is 48 hours, however the code only applies to federally regulated professions.
Paid holiday leave entitlement is determined by provincial law, with most employees allowed between 15 and 25 days off each year. If your profession is covered by the Canada Labour Code, you are also entitled to various other forms of leave including sick leave and parental leave.
Canadians generally enjoy between five and ten statutory holidays per year depending on their province. Not all the statutory holidays are observed nationally, so it’s best to check on your local provincial website.
Statutory holiday dates
New Year’s Day: 1st January
Family Day: 15th February
Good Friday: 25th March
Easter Monday: 28th March
Victoria Day: 23rd May
Canada Day: 1st July
Civic Holiday: 1st August
Labour Day: 5th September
Thanksgiving Day: 10th October
Christmas Day: 25th December
Boxing Day: 26th December
Visas and eligibility to work
Canada is a popular destination for foreign workers but has fairly strict immigration laws. Depending on your nationality and intended length of stay in Canada, you may need to apply for a visa, a work permit or both before travelling. You can also find out if you are eligible to apply for entry under a specific immigration scheme by taking a questionnaire on the Canada.ca website. For some professions, employers must complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to prove that it is necessary to take on a foreign national rather than a Canadian worker. If you become a permanent resident, you will also need a PR card
Tax and Employment Insurance
To work in Canada, you must apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to enable your employer to make the correct tax payments on your behalf. Income tax is paid at federal and provincial levels at various rates depending on your earnings. Tax is deducted directly from wages in Canada along with other ‘pay cheque deductions’ such as Employment Insurance, pension contributions or union fees. In total, these deductions can reduce your income by between 25% and 35%. You may also be required to complete a tax return form at the end of the tax year, which runs from 1 January to 31 December.
There are two public schemes providing support for older people in Canada, and unlike in many countries they are generally accessible to foreign nationals. Old Age Security is a non-contribution scheme that offers a pension to those over the age of 65, including foreign nationals provided they have lived in Canada for over ten years. The Canada Pension Plan is the contribution-based equivalent, which almost all workers in the country pay into at varying rates. Some employers will also offer private pensions as part of their remuneration package.
The federal government and local provinces in Canada offer a number of social security benefits, many of which are accessible to foreign nationals. To find out what you might be eligible to claim, complete the Benefits Finder survey on the CanadaBenefits.gc.ca website.
Canada has an extensive legislative framework to protect the rights of people with disabilities against discrimination, including in the workplace. For more information, visit the Employment and Social Development Canada website.