Glossary

Select a letter from the alphabet links below to go to a term or look through the full list below.

A: List of terms that start with the letter: A

Apprenticeable Trades

Apprenticeship Authority

An organization that assesses credentials, training and experience of persons applying for certification.

If you want to work in a regulated apprenticeable trade, you must apply to the apprenticeship authority in the province or territory where you will settle. Use Job Bank to find more information about skilled trades and apprenticeship authorities.

Apprenticeship

A period of supervised training leading to certification in a skilled trade. An apprenticeship combines on-the-job training and in-school instruction.

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B: List of terms that start with the letter: B

Benefits

Various forms of compensation (e.g. life insurance, special medical care, a dental plan or a private pension plan) provided to employees by their employer. A portion of your pay check may be deducted for these benefits. For more information, visit the Taxes and Benefits section on the Job Bank Web site.

Bridging Programs

Programs to help internationally trained individuals prepare to work by addressing a gap in knowledge and experience. Bridging programs are excellent ways to gain Canadian-based work experience.

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C: List of terms that start with the letter: C

Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

A monthly income that you receive from the federal government when you retire. A small part of each of your pay cheque goes into this plan. Residents of Quebec pay into the Quebec Pension Plan, which works the same way as the federal plan. Visit Service Canada for more information on the Canada Pension Plan.

Canadian Social Customs

Social practices that govern behaviour in Canada. These are not laws, but they are well-established traditions that Canadians expect of one another. For example, you should always arrive for interviews or meetings at the scheduled time, or a little early. Knowing Canadian social customs can be useful in getting a job.

Canadian Experience Class

An immigration class that was introduced in 2008 that allows Temporary Foreign Workers or recently graduated international students working in Canada to apply for permanent residence. For more information, visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada - Canadian Experience Class.

Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)

A standard used to describe, measure and recognize the second language proficiency of prospective immigrants and newcomers who plan to live and work in Canada. The Benchmarks provide a national structure of reference for the development of language learning programs, curricula and materials relevant to the needs of adult newcomers to Canada during the process of settlement and integration. As an internationally trained individual, you may wish to have your skills assessed against this standard.

Census Metropolitan Area (CMA)

A term used to describe populated areas in Canada. A CMA has a population of at least 100,000 people.

Certification

An official title that recognizes a person has a specialized set of skills, knowledge and abilities to practice in a certain occupation. In a regulated occupation (e.g. nurse), certification is granted by a regulatory body.

Company Research

Learning about a company such as what it produces, its clientele and locations. Learning about a company can help you write your resume, cover letter and prepare for an interview. For more information visit the How do I Apply for a Job section on the Job Bank Web site.

Cost of Living

The average cost of an individual's basic needs to live such as clothing, food and shelter. Canada has thousands of different communities that newcomers can choose to settle in and the cost of living differs greatly in each. Consider the cost of living in different communities before making a decision on where to settle.

Cover Letter

A letter of introduction to a potential employer that is tailored to the position that is being offered. A cover letter usually accompanies a resume. To find out what to include in your cover letter, visit the How do I Apply for a Job section on the Job Bank Web site.

Credential Assessment Agencies ("Provincial Credential Assessment Agencies")

Organizations who assess foreign credentials in Canada and include regulatory bodies, post-secondary institutions and credential assessment agencies. Provincial credential assessment agencies assess academic credentials for a fee. The assessment will tell you how your education compares with educational standards in the province or territory where you are planning to settle. Before spending money on an assessment, make sure it is required and will be recognized. Visit the How do I get my Skills Recognized section on the Job Bank Web site for direct links to provincial credential assessment services.

Curriculum vitae

see Resume.

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D: List of terms that start with the letter: D

Discrimination

Treating a person differently or negatively because of skin colour, religion, sex, marital status, disability or sexual orientation. Canada has laws to protect workers from discrimination. To learn more, visit Canadian Human Rights Commission - Discrimination.

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E: List of terms that start with the letter: E

Educational Institutions

For a newcomer arriving in Canada and looking for a job, post-secondary educational institutions such as universities, colleges and vocational training centres, are places where you can upgrade your skills. Post-secondary institutions may provide credential assessment for a fee.

Employee

A person who is hired by an employer to perform work or supply services for compensation such as wages or salary.

Employer

A person or company that is responsible for hiring an employee. The employer has the responsibility to assign the work to be performed by the employee as well as the collection and deduction of applicable taxes and benefits from the employees' pay.

Employment Insurance (EI)

Provides money to eligible, unemployed Canadian residents for a short time, while they look for a new job or take some training to learn new skills. A small percentage of your pay cheque will be deducted each month to go into an Employment Insurance Account. Visit Service Canada - Employment Insurance for more information.

Employment Standards

Laws governing conditions such as general holidays, annual vacation, hours of work, minimum wages, layoff procedures and severance pay. Employment standards are set by provincial and territorial governments.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

Programs to help newcomers learn English. Being able to communicate in English and/or French is important to finding a job in Canada. Visit the Language Training and Assessment section of the Job Bank Web site for more information on communication skills.

Enhanced Language Training (ELT)

A program that provides adult newcomers with advanced level and job-specific language training in English and French. ELT also provides work-related experiences, such as mentoring, job placements and other ways to help newcomers find work. This program is offered in cooperation with provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations. For more information, visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada - Enhanced language training (ELT).

Essential Skills

There are nine skills people need for work and learning in Canada. They are: Reading Text, Document Use, Numeracy, Writing, Oral Communication, Thinking, Working with Others, Computer Use and Continuous Learning. Visit Job Bank to find out which Essential Skills are the most important for your occupation.

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F: List of terms that start with the letter: F

Federal Skilled Workers

An immigration class where skilled workers are selected as permanent residents based on their education, work experience, knowledge of English and/or French, and other criteria that have been shown to help them become economically established in Canada. For more information, visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada - Skilled workers and professionals.

Federalism

A system of government where the authority to make laws is divided between the federal government and provincial/territorial governments. For example, the federal government is responsible for Social Insurance Numbers, and provincial/territorial governments are responsible for driver's licences.

Foreign Credential Recognition

The process of assessing and/or evaluating credentials obtained abroad in terms of Canadian equivalencies. Organizations that assess foreign credentials include: credential assessment agencies, educational institutions, and regulatory bodies. Before spending money on an assessment, make sure it is required and will be recognized.

French as a Second Language (FSL)

A program to help newcomers learn French. Being able to communicate in French is important to finding a job in Canada. Visit the Language Training and Assessment section of the Job Bank Web site for more information on communication skills.

Full Time Employment

A condition of work where an employee works 30 hours or more per week in their main job.

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G: List of terms that start with the letter: G

Gross Monthly Income

The total amount of money you can earn in one month before tax deductions and benefits. This amount will appear on your pay stub. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, your monthly housing costs should not be more than 30% of your monthly gross household income.

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H: List of terms that start with the letter: H

Health Card (“Health Insurance Card”)

A card that allows you to receive public health care in a Canadian province or territory. This often covers primary health care (such as the services of physicians and other health professionals) and care in hospitals. Provinces and territories may also provide some groups with supplementary health benefits, such as prescription drug coverage. When you arrive in Canada, you can apply for a health insurance card. Contact your province or territory's health department to find out what health care services are covered with your card. You can also read “Welcome to Canada: What you should know” which includes a section about what newcomers should know about health care.

Hidden Job Market

Job vacancies filled informally due to the time and cost of advertising a job (e.g., posting a newspaper job ad). Information about available work is often circulated through managers, employees and business associates, as well as through family, friends and acquaintances.

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I: List of terms that start with the letter: I

Immigrant Serving Organizations

Organizations that help newcomers by providing information and guidance upon arrival in the province or territory of choice. Immigrant serving organizations can help you get language training, look for a job, find a place to live, etc. For more information on organizations that help immigrants, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Service Canada Web sites.

Income Tax

If you are working, a percentage of your pay cheque will be deducted and sent to the federal, provincial and territorial governments. If you live in the province of Quebec, you may need to file a separate provincial income tax return. All Canadian residents who are old enough to work must file an income tax return each year. Visit the Canada Revenue Agency for more information on income tax.

International Medical Graduate (IMG)

An IMG is an individual who has graduated from a medical school not accredited in Canada or in the U.S. (by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools or by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in the U.S.). Graduates of a U.S. School of Osteopathic Medicine accredited by the American Osteopathic Association are considered IMGs. Source: [Medical Council of Canada]

Internship

Supervised work-or school-related training that may be either paid or unpaid. Internship positions can be found within certain businesses, government departments and non-profit organizations and are ways for newcomers to gain Canadian work experience.

Interviews

A step in the hiring process when an employer meets job applicants. An interview can be a simple, informal meeting between you and your potential employer, or it can be a formal interview between you and a group of people with set questions. For more information about interviews, visit the How do I Prepare for an Interview section of the Job Bank Web site.

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J: List of terms that start with the letter: J

Job Research

Finding information about the position you are applying for and the qualifications and skills required. Learning about a job can help you write your resume, cover letter and prepare for an interview. For more information visit the How do I Apply for a Job section on the Job Bank Web site.

Looking for job opportunities. Job postings can be found in many places: on the Internet, on a community bulletin board, at job fairs or in a newspaper “help wanted” section. Networking is also another way to search for jobs in Canada and reach the hidden job market. To find more information on job search, visit the How do I Find a Job? section on the Job Bank Web site.

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L: List of terms that start with the letter: L

Labour Market

An environment where people looking for jobs (workers) interact with employers. Canada's 10 provinces and three territories each have their own labour markets with specific standards, requirements, job opportunities and working conditions. For more information about Canada's labour market, visit the How do I Find a Job? section on the Job Bank Web site.

Labour Mobility

The freedom of workers to practice their occupation wherever opportunities exist in Canada. Every year, approximately 200,000 Canadians relocate to a different province or territory and look for work. For more information, visit Human Resources and Skills Development Canada - Labour Mobility.

Language Assessment

An evaluation of an individual's reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in a particular language.

Language Testing

A process of determining oral and written language skills, as well as general comprehension. Many organizations such as educational institutions, regulatory bodies and employers may ask you for proof of your language skills. Getting proof, such as language test results, will cost you money. Some organizations only accept certain types of tests. Check with the organization before you take a language assessment to ask:

  • Are there special language requirements?
  • What language test results are needed?
  • Where can I get tested?

Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)

The federal government provides free language training programs for adult newcomers to Canada in cooperation with provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations. LINC is delivered by local community organizations.

Language Training

Training offered to newcomers to improve their English or French communication skills. A newcomer's ability to communicate and work in English or French is important to working in Canada. The federal government provides free language training programs for adult newcomers to Canada in cooperation with provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations.

License

The word "license" is a verb and means the same as “to accredit” and “to certify”.

Licence

The word "licence" is a noun. A licence is a document used by some trades and professions to signify that the licence-holder meets competency and other requirements and is entitled to practice. If you wish to work in a regulated occupation, you will need a licence to practice. In some occupations, licensing is voluntary. For more information visit the What is a Regulated Occupation section of the Job Bank Web site.

Live-in caregiver

Individuals who are qualified to provide care for children, elderly persons or persons with disabilities in private homes without supervision. To work as a live-in caregiver in Canada, you must make an application to the Working temporarily in Canada: Live-In Caregiver Program. Visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada - The Live-In Caregiver Program for more information.

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M: List of terms that start with the letter: M

Mentorship

When an experienced person helps an individual with less experience by providing work related advice and assistance.

Minimum Wage

The smallest hourly wage that can be paid to an employee as ordered by federal law. Each province and territory sets the minimum hourly wage for workers. Visit Human Resources and Skills Development Canada to find the minimum wage in the province or territory where you intend to settle.

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N: List of terms that start with the letter: N

National Occupational Classification (NOC)

Canada uses the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system to classify the over two million job titles in its labour market. Job titles and descriptions are not universal. What your occupation was called in your home country may be different than what it is called in Canada. Job Bank can help you find the name and a description of your occupation in the NOC system.

Network

Group of people such as your family, friends, acquaintances and people you know socially. Many people search for work in Canada by contacting those in their network. This is called networking. For more information visit the How do I Find a Job? section of the Job Bank Web site.

Networking

Searching for work by contacting people in your network. In addition to job postings, many people search for work in Canada through networking. Networking tells people that you are looking for work and is a way to search for jobs in the Hidden Job Market. For more information visit the How do I Find a Job? section of the Job Bank Web site.

Newcomer

Person who is in the process of immigrating or has recently landed as an immigrant to Canada.

Non-Regulated Occupation

A profession or trade that does not require a licence to practice (e.g. bookkeeper). About 80 per cent of Canadian workers are employed in non-regulated occupations. The non-regulated job market is an excellent place to begin your career in Canada. If you are a foreign trained professional, you can work in a non-regulated job while you become licensed in a regulated profession, or to gain Canadian work experience. Visit Job Bank to find out if your occupation is non-regulated.

Numeracy

The use of numbers and mathematics in workplace situations such as scheduling and budgeting. For some occupations, a high level of numeracy is required (i.e. an accountant and an architect). Numeracy is one of the nine Essential Skills.

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O: List of terms that start with the letter: O

Occupation

A person's main job or business done to earn a living. In Canada, there are two types of occupations, regulated and non-regulated occupations. To find out if your occupation is regulated or non-regulated, visit Job Bank.

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P: List of terms that start with the letter: P

Part Time Employment

A condition of work where employed individuals work less than 30 hours per week. For more information, visitGuide to the Labour Force Survey - Statistics Canada.

Performance Evaluation

A document or a process that involves providing an employee with feedback on how they have met the requirements of a particular position (e.g. knowledge, skills, competencies, etc.).

Provincial Nominee

Person that is selected for immigration to Canada by a provincial or territorial government who has a Provincial Nominee Program. A provincial nominee has the skills, education and work experience needed to make an immediate economic contribution to the province or territory that nominates them. For more information, visit Provincial nominees - Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Provincial Nominee Program

Programs for provinces and territories to nominate candidates for immigration. For more information, visit Provincial nominees - Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Provincial/Territorial

Canada is divided into 10 provinces and three territories. Each province and territory have the same responsibilities (e.g. issuing a health card or driver's licence) but have different ways of delivering their services. For more information about these services and also about the history behind provinces and territories, visit the Get to Know Canada section on Citizenship and Immigration Canada Web site.

Public Transit

Transportation systems are operated by municipal governments. In large cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver there are buses, trains and subways. In smaller towns and rural areas, there is usually no public transportation. When you arrive in Canada, it is a good idea to become familiar with the public transportation available as well as the costs to travel and the hours of operation. Visit the Live in Canada section of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Web site for more information.

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R: List of terms that start with the letter: R

References

People who can vouch for your character or your work experience. A reference can be a previous employer, colleague or friend. Some Canadian employers may prefer Canadian references. Only give your references to a potential employer when asked. For more information on references, visit the How do I Apply for a Job section of the Job Bank Web site.

Regulated Occupations

Occupations that set their own standards and that require workers to have a licence to practice. About 20 per cent of jobs in Canada are regulated occupations. These include regulated professions (e.g. nurses) and skilled trades (e.g. plumbers).

Within each province and territory, a regulatory body exists for each regulated occupation. Most regulatory bodies have their own Web sites that describe their licensing requirements including information on eligibility requirements, foreign credential recognition, and registration fees. To find out if your occupation is regulated and the names and contact information for regulatory bodies, visit Job Bank.

Regulated Professions

A type of regulated occupation such as physicians, nurses, and lawyers. Regulated professions usually require several years of university or college education, practical experience under the supervision of a licensed worker in the chosen profession, and the successful completion of a licensure examination. It is important to note that provinces and territories sometimes expect different things from their regulated professionals. In some instances, this means that a person licensed in one province may have to re-apply for a licence in order to work in another province or territory.

Red Seal Trades

Trades for which interprovincial standards have been established, allowing for the portability of credentials. These trades are designated by the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program under the authority of the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship, the body which is also responsible for setting standards in the trades. Red Seal is a nationally registered trademark symbol that signifies the qualification of tradespersons and facilitates interprovincial mobility. This means that the holder of a certificate with a red seal endorsement does not have to pass additional exams if they move to different provinces and territories.

Regulatory Body

A regulatory body is an organization that sets the standards and practices of a regulated occupation. They are responsible for the issuing of a licence. To find out if your occupation is regulated and the names and contact information for regulatory bodies, visit Job Bank.

Resume

A resume or curriculum vitae (c.v.), is a document depicting your current or previous education, work experience and skills to a potential employer. It is an important tool when you look for a job. A resume tells an employer about who you are, what you have done in the past and what your qualifications are. Visit the How do I Apply for a Job section of the Job Bank Web site.

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S: List of terms that start with the letter: S

Salary

A fixed amount of money paid to an employee by the employer received on a monthly or annual basis.

Self Employment

The process of earning income directly from a personal business, trade or occupation. Self-employed people are:

  • Working owners of incorporated businesses, farms or professional practices.
  • Working owners of unincorporated businesses, farms, professional practices, and other self-employed (including those who as, for example, baby sitters, do not have a business).

Starting a business is an excellent way to start your career in Canada. There are many resources to help plan or start a business in Canada. Visit Starting a Business - Canada Business Network.

Service Canada Centres

The Government of Canada operates Service Canada Centres throughout the country. Among other services, the centres provide information about jobs and foreign credential referral services. Some Service Canada Centres offer the free use of computers, printers, the Internet, telephones, fax services and resource libraries. They may offer workshops on how to prepare a resume or to look for work, as well as computer training and other courses. To find the nearest Service Canada centre offering in-person information, path-finding and referral services, call 1-888-854-1805 or TTY 1-800-926-9105 (in Canada only).

Skilled Trades (“Apprenticeable trades”)

Some skilled trades require certification (compulsory trades) and others do not (voluntary trades). If you want to work in a compulsory skilled trade, you must apply to the apprenticeship authority in the province or territory where you will settle. They will assess your credentials, training and experience to see if you meet their standards. Remember, getting a certificate after you immigrate may take a long time and can be expensive.

Use Job Bank to see if your occupation is regulated or non-regulated.

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a unique nine-digit number. You need a SIN to work in Canada and to receive benefits and services from government programs. For example, the Canada Revenue Agency uses the SIN for income tax purposes. One of the first things a newcomer should do after they arrive in Canada is to apply for a SIN.

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T: List of terms that start with the letter: T

Temporary Employment

Filling a position for a specific period of time (e.g. with a start and end date). Contract employment refers to a form of work whereby an individual is hired for a specific project or contract. Contract employees usually do not have the same benefits and compensation as full time employees.

Temporary Foreign Workers

Individuals from another country who are hired to work temporarily within a certain industry to address labour shortages in Canada. For more information, visit Working temporarily in Canada - Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

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U: List of terms that start with the letter: U

Unemployment

When an individual is available for work, but is currently without work. The Government of Canada's program of Employment Insurance (EI) provides Regular Benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work, but can't find a job. For more information, visit Employment Insurance (EI) - Service Canada.

Unionization

The unionization rate is defined as the percentage of employees belonging to a union, and does not include those who are covered by a collective agreement but do not belong to a union.

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V: List of terms that start with the letter: V

Volunteer

A person who chooses to work for a community or an organization to gain work experience. Volunteering is not paid but can help you:

  • gain practical knowledge of the Canadian workplace
  • practise your English or French
  • develop your network and access the hidden job market
  • obtain Canadian references
  • develop new skills

Canada's national Job Bank offers links to volunteer opportunities and information about volunteering.

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W: List of terms that start with the letter: W

Wage

An amount of money paid to a worker for a specified quantity of work, usually expressed on an hourly basis.

  • Local Wage Information: The hourly wage rates by occupation and community are based on hourly gross earnings paid by employers. The wage information is collected over a specified period of time.
  • National Wage Information: Beginning January 1997, information is collected on the usual wages or salary of employees at their main job. Respondents are asked to report their wage/salary before taxes and other deductions, and include tips and commissions. Weekly and hourly wages/salary are calculated in conjunction with usual paid work hours per week.

Working Conditions

The most common conditions of work in a given workplace. It could include information such as normal hours of work, safety, paid holidays and vacations, rest periods, free clothing or uniforms, possibilities of advancement, etc. Where applicable, many of these are included in the collective agreement and subject to collective bargaining.