Newcomer Employment Toolkit

The Newcomer Employment Toolkit provides useful information to help new Canadians and new residents to Brantford navigate Brantford’s local workforce and find employment. This guide provides insights on what to expect from a Canadian cultural standpoint when looking for employment.

Language support

Language Instruction to Newcomers to Canada (LINC) 
The Conestoga College LINC Program offers free English classes for adult newcomers who wish to learn English and improve their language skills for life, for work and for further learning.
Laurier English and Academic Foundation (LEAF) Program
The LEAF program helps individuals meet needed level of English proficiency in order to attend courses at Laurier University.
Grand Erie District School Board ESL Classes

English Language Classes for adults are available in Brantford and through home study. Before you can attend, you must have your skills assessed using Canadian Language Benchmarks to determine the most appropriate service or class for you. No cost child care is provided for children of LINC students from 19 months to 6 years of age during day classes. Qualified ECE Instructors will supervise your child(ren) while you attend English Language Classes. Parents are required to bring a lunch for their child but drinks and snacks will be provided.

Contact Information:
Joseph Brant Learning Centre
347 Erie Avenue, Brantford, ON
519-756-6301 ext. 274224 or 1-888-548-8878

English language training

English conversation circles provide newcomers with an excellent opportunity to practice and improve English in a comfortable environment. A new topic is discussed each week, contributing to your understanding of Canada and other cultures. Join our conversation circle and meet new friends, learn about Brantford Public Library services and talk about your community, culture and customs.

Brantford Public Library contact information:
Brantford Public Library-Main Branch, 173 Colborne Street, Brantford
Tuesday evenings 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

YMCA contact information:
Call 519-752-4568 or email
Key Language Support Resources:

 The Hiring Process

Screening assessments or testing is sometimes required before or at the same time an interview is arranged. If assessments are online, be prepared in a quiet comfortable environment with a good internet connection before you get started. Employment Ontario Employment Services office often have the perfect space and equipment for this available for free.
Interviews are arranged for those candidates who make it through the initial screening process. Requests for interviews can be sent to you through any of the contact methods you’ve listed on your resume so be sure to check emails regularly, that your voicemail box isn’t full and your message is professional. Interviews may be with one employer representative or several (panel interviews) depending on the company, position and practices. Interviews may be in person, on the telephone or virtually using video calling software (E.g. Zoom). It is important to be prepared for common behaviour-based questions and to communicate examples from your education/experience that demonstrate your skills and abilities. It is also a good idea to prepare several questions you have for the company: this shows interest and motivation to learn.
References are usually required when you are selected for an interview. You should have a list of good references with up-to-date contact information ready to provide when it is requested. Employers often request three references who can speak to your work ethic, skills and abilities from a shared work experience. Make sure your references have given permission for you to share their contact details and are prepared to speak with potential employers on your behalf.
Follow Up
Follow up is important after an interview. There are two times it is appropriate to follow up with an employer. Following up immediately after the interview with a thank you message to the interviewers for their time and further consideration of your application demonstrates courtesy and commitment. Follow up again 1 to 2 weeks after the interview if you have not heard from the company. Politely ask if there are any updates or additional information you can provide to help in the decision-making process. This demonstrates continued interest in the position, commitment and your willingness to take extra steps to achieve a goal.
Offer of Employment 
Offer of Employment is issued to candidates who are successful in completing the recruitment process. If you are attending interviews but not receiving offers of employment, it may be helpful to practice interviewing with someone to get feedback and ensure you are communicating the best information in the best way. Employment offers usually include your title, salary (and any benefits if applicable) and hours of work.
Background Checks
Background Checks may be requested depending on the company and nature of the position. For example, truck drivers will have to provide a Driver’s Abstract to show a clean driving record.

 Introduction to Canadian Resumés

Your resumé is a critical tool to gain experience in Canada. Whether you are creating your first resumé or adapting your resumé to the Canadian style, these tips will help you get started in creating a document that outlines your qualifications for employers.

  • Your resumé should be 1 to 2 pages long
  • Use a professional, legible font in size 11 or 12 point (consider Helvetica, Arial or Calibri)
  • Create a header with all your contact information (one address, email and phone number). Do not include photographs, date of birth, Social Insurance Number or other personal information
  • Include your legal name and/or a preferred ‘English’ name, if applicable
  • Use numbers (including percentages or dollar amounts) to describe your experiences where you can
  • Use industry and job posting specific language/technical terms
  • Avoid personal pronouns (“I”, “me”, “my”, etc.)
  • Include all of your experience including your experience from outside of Canada
  • Do not include your fluency in English since it is assumed that you speak English
  • Include information from these possible resumé sections (you might not have all the sections):
    • Summary of Qualifications (experience, hard skills, soft skills, languages, etc.)
    • Education/Training/Courses
    • Related Experience
    • Additional Experience
    • Academic Projects
    • Achievements/Accomplishments/Awards
    • Interests and Extra-Curricular Activities
  • Include your experiences in reverse chronological order in each section (the most recent goes first)
  • Demonstrate key achievements rather than your tasks and duties
  • Do not include references on your resumé, but prepare them to bring to your interview
  • Include a cover letter with each resumé you submit
  • Proofread for spelling, grammar and accuracy before distributing your resumés

Introduction to Canadian Cover Letters

 In addition to requiring a resumé, it is customary to also send and accompanying cover letter with your application. The role of your cover letter is to introduce yourself, show your interest in the position and to clearly demonstrate the match between you and the job. Your cover letter should not duplicate everything from your resumé; its purpose is to demonstrate how your unique skills and values align to the position and organization.

Checklist for cover letter success

  • Maximum one page in length using proper business letter format (with three to four paragraphs)
  • Use the same layout, font and header as on your resumé
  • Include your legal name and/or a preferred ‘English’ name, if applicable
  • Each cover letter must be an original; tailor your cover letter to the requirements of each job
  • Use standard business salutations e.g., Ms., Mr., Dr., and then their last name in the cover letter
  • Address your letter to a specific person, such as the manager of a department. If you are unable to obtain a person’s name, you may address the letter to a position title such as, Dear Human Resources Manager. Avoid using ‘To Whom it may Concern’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’
  • Be specific about your qualifications. Highlight 2 to 3 main reasons why you are the best candidate; then use specific examples to demonstrate results
  • Show your personality in your letter; communicate interest, motivation and self-confidence
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the organization; show the recruiter that you’ve done some research
  • Do not be negative or apologetic. Avoid statements such as, “I do not have a lot of experience but ...” Highlight what skills you do have, not what you may be lacking.
  • Focus on what you can do for the employer, not on how the position will benefit you
  • Do not overuse the word ‘I’ or begin every sentence with ‘I’
  • When you are finished, read your letter aloud and listen to the language. Ask yourself: does it sound like a formal letter? Do I convey enthusiasm and a sense of who I am? Have I sold myself as a strong candidate for this specific position?
  • EDIT, EDIT, EDIT! Proofread for spelling, grammar and accuracy

 Networking Skills in Canada

Networking is an important part of finding work and understanding workplace culture. Building connections with others in the field and letting friends, family and personal contacts know you’re looking for work are all part of successful networking.

Strategies to enhance networking skills:

  1. Know what you have to offer. Consider what value, skills, and experience you bring to the table.
  2. Join a professional association. This will connect you with like-minded individuals and others from different backgrounds but in similar situations.
  3. Connect with people who speak other languages, as this assists with improving communication skills, helps learn about your new surroundings, and allows for network development. (E.g. Conversation Café’s)
  4. Create an up-to-date LinkedIn Profile, or consider other online engagement tools.
  5. Volunteering instantly expands your network, gives you something local to add to your resume.
  6. Request Informational Interviews with employers. Informational interviews allow you to ask questions of an employer about the industry, education requirements, workplace culture and how to prepare yourself to be a new candidate entering in the field.
  7. Don’t assume your previous work experience will be automatically recognized. Your international experience can be valuable to your career in Canada, but may need to be assessed first.
  8. Don’t wait for others to approach you, take the initiative to connect with others.
  9. Connect strategically with the right people. Set an objective and be strategic with your time and networking efforts.

Key Networking Resources:

 Stages of the Employment Process

The Job Search Process

Identify Your Career Goal 
What education and experience is needed for the field? Is any further training or education needed? This information will be noted within each job posting but can also be found online or with assistance from your local Employment Ontario service provider.
Make a Resume and Cover Letter
See previous section of this Toolkit for details
Find Hiring Opportunities

One of the easiest ways to find what jobs are available is through online job postings using filters and search engines. Some of the most common online platforms include LinkedIn and Indeed. You can also find job postings through the Employment Ontario Service Provider job boards, Government of Canada Job Bank, and company websites. Additionally, many jobs are found through social media advertisements (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), newspaper advertisements, or even through your fellow colleagues at current or previous workplaces.

If you do not have a personal laptop or computer at home, check out your local library!
Sometimes you can find jobs posted on ‘Help Wanted’ signs posted outside local shops, restaurants, etc. Just step inside and ask!

Submit your Resume and Cover Letter to employers. Instructions on how to apply are included in the job posting (usually in person, through email, or an online application). If you find you are not getting calls for interviews, it may be helpful for someone to review your resume to ensure you are highlighting your qualifications and skills in the best way possible for the positions you are applying to.

Requesting Feedback from the employer when you are not the selected candidate is appropriate and can provide information on how to improve your job search skills. Ask if there was anything in your application or interview you could have done differently and don’t forget to thank them for their time and consideration. Being polite, expressing gratitude and asking for feedback will leave a positive impression with the employer who may have an opportunity for you in the future.


Volunteering shows that you can make commitments, work well with teams, and are willing to help others. Volunteering can also provide those who don’t have experience, something to add to their resume and connections to people who can provide positive references. Volunteer positions are not paid but can be a valuable investment of time to reach your career goals.


Some jobs require specific education and training. If you are unsure what education or training is required for a particular career path you can visit the National Occupational Classification website, or look for local postings in your area and review qualifications or visit an Employment Ontario Employment Services office. Many post-secondary education websites/catalogues will also describe career paths available following completion of specific programs.

Skilled Trades Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships include a combination of training on the job, and in the classroom. Completion of an apprenticeship and passing all required milestones/testing will result in a Certificate of Qualification for a particular trade. The length and requirement for apprenticeship training are regulated by industry experts and the government. They may take several years to complete depending on the trade. Many trades require mandatory certification and those without training/certification cannot work in the field (for example, Electricians). While learning, Apprentices often make less wages than an experienced Journeyperson. However, once training and certification is complete income potential and job security can be very high.


Internships are a professional learning experience that offers meaningful and practical work. Internships can be part of a post-secondary education program, offered through government grants/programming or directly through individual companies. Internships are often paid positions.

Workplace Onboarding

Accepting a position
Upon Accepting an Employment Position, employees are expected to provide their employer with your Social Insurance Number (SIN), bank account details, some personal information and completing forms to establish appropriate records for payroll, taxes and other government regulations. During onboarding you will learn more about the company, its culture, corporate expectations, and meet your fellow colleagues.
Training for a New Position

This will depend on the company, industry regulations, and level of skill required to do the job. All new hire employees will complete workplace specific Health and Safety trainings in addition to being trained on the duties of their individual job. Training may include or be a combination of reading policies, watching videos, completing in class activities, job shadowing experienced employees or working under direct supervision of a designated lead.
Training may be done in two days or up to several months depending on the complexity of the role.

A Probationary Period
There is a probationary period of three (3) months is typical for most companies. This allows the employer to evaluate a new employee’s performance and decide if the individual is qualified to be full-time employment with the company. Once the probationary period is successfully completed, the employee may receive additional benefits and opportunities within the company.
Performance Reviews
This is an important evaluation tool to let employees know where they are succeeding in their role and to identify any areas that need improvement. Performance reviews also give an employee the opportunity to discuss future goals and ambitions with the company. Most performance reviews are conducted at the end of the probationary period and then annually thereafter. Depending on company practice, positive performance reviews come with an increase in salary/wages.

Preparing for Your Start Date

In preparing for your first day, it is important to confirm with your hiring manager the following basic information:

  • The Location/ Address of your Workplace
  • The Start Date/ Time
  • Your Schedule

Here are some ways to make the best positive first impression :

  • Arrive 15 minutes early
  • Bring a notebook and pen to take notes
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions
  • Learn colleague’s names as soon as possible
  • Be open, positive, and friendly
  • Attend all orientation sessions
  • Be cautious using sarcasm
  • Avoid using slang and foul language

 Adjusting to a New Workplace

Organizational Structure
Once you are comfortable in your new position, keep a list of questions to ask your manager or supervisor and schedule meetings to discuss these matters. Some of these questions may be related to organizational structure, including: working hours, working overtime, taking time off, timesheets, policies, office equipment, software’s, trainings, etc. 
Being a Team Player

Increasing your value to the company and building your reputation occurs when you become a team player. A good way to show that you are a good team player in the workplace involves: volunteering to help colleagues, sharing successes, not blame team members for failures, and attending company social events.

Your colleagues also play a significant role in your success in your role and to the team. You can learn more from your colleague’s roles and experiences than from any training manual or handbook. Therefore, it is critical for you to make an effort to socialize with your team professionally by going out for coffee or lunch.

Remember to show appreciation when your colleagues help you, and be sure to give them credit when appropriate.

Learning Your Job

Remember that your top priority in the first few weeks and months is to establish trust and build on your professional relationship with your colleagues. Therefore, avoid giving your personal opinions and suggestions in these early months.

After your first few weeks of training and orientation, it is time to demonstrate your eagerness to learn. This will require active listening, asking questions, taking notes, and observing colleagues. It is critical to understand what is expected of you from your manager or supervisor. If you are unsure about your role or progress, schedule a meeting to discuss and ask for feedback to help you stay on track.

Filing Taxes

If you pay taxes, want to get benefit and credit payments, or claim a refund, it is important that you file your income tax return with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Please be mindful that there are people that participate in dishonest schemes, known as scammers. Scammers may try to get you to pay debts that you do not owe, especially around tax season - before the month of April.

Here are some helpful tips to avoid getting scammed and know what to do if you get a suspicious email, phone call, letter, or text from the Canadian Revenue Agency.

As a Newcomer to Canada, the following information will not only help you understand the Canadian tax system but complete your first income tax and benefit return. Please note that this information only applies for the first tax year that you are a new resident of Canada for income tax purposes.

The Government of Canada also offers a free online course to learn about personal income taxes in Canada. It contains seven (7) modules that cover:

  • Purpose of taxes
  • Starting to work (why you need a social insurance number)
  • Preparing to do your taxes
  • Completing a basic tax return
  • After sending your tax return to the Canadian Revenue Agency
  • Using My Account
  • Accessing your benefits and credits

Legal and Regulatory Consequences

Mandatory Employment Related Costs

In starting your first job as a newcomer, it is important to understand that the salary negotiated in the hiring process is not exactly what you receive in your bank account.

In Canada, your employer makes certain deductions from your salary before giving it to you. Some of these payroll deductions, such as income taxes, go towards funding public systems, while others may be used to provide you with financial assistance at certain stages of life, such as during periods of unemployment, parental leave, or retirement. Your pay stub or salary slip should include details of the payroll deductions that have been made by your employer. How payroll deductions were calculated will be in detail on your pay stub/ salary slip, which keeps record of your employment earnings. This can be approximately 25% to 35% lower than what you expect.

Every year before taxes are due, your employer will provide you with a T4 Statement of Remuneration Paid, summarizing the details of all your pay stubs received from the prior year.

Types of payroll deductions in Canada:

View the article titled Understanding payroll deductions as a newcomer in Canada for further information.
Key Resources on Legal and Regulatory Consequences:

Skill Upgrading and Training

You may need to upgrade your education to work in your field of expertise, or you may have decided to change your path and train for a different career. In any case, formal education or training in the field you are interested in might help you find work. Consider going back to school to get a diploma or certificate, upgrade your education or complete a training program.

Credential Assessment Process

Having your credentials assessed can be a valuable investment in entering the Canadian labour market. Be prepared to source original documents, potentially have translations completed and for the process to take time. There are often many steps that differ for each application depending on the Country of origin, the pathway being pursued (work entry, post-secondary education, professional designation, etc) and documents already available. Having your credentials assessed can be expensive. It’s important to research the requirements for the pathway you are pursuing and ensure you are submitting everything correctly the first time. For professional designations it’s best to research the regulatory body for your career path to ensure you are following their specific requirements.
Before getting your credentials assessed:

  1. Contact any professional associations to which you will be applying for licensure or certification. Check if they have a preferred credential assessment service, and if there are any specific processes that you need to follow.
  2. Check with potential employers to see what they need from you or if they have any specific procedures you should follow.
  3. Visit your local Employment Ontario service centre for help and support.

Key Credential Assessment Resources:

Trending Educational and Training Programs

The following table provides examples of education and training programs that correspond with in-demand professions across the region.

Foundations for Trades

Program provides participants with 5-weeks of hands-on training in carpentry, plumbing, and electrical. Includes a 4-week placement with a local employer in the construction sector. Must be 18 to 29 years old.

Better Jobs Ontario Individuals of legal working age and not attending full time school or training; must be resident of Ontario and eligible to work in Canada.
Skills2Advance Offer free skills training and certifications so people can work in good-paying jobs that are in high demand.
Early Childhood Education Program Six Nations Polytechnic two year Diploma Program with 600 hours of hands on working experience. In partnership with Niagara College. As a registered Early Childhood Educator, you will meet the requirement for employment with school boards. 
Pre-Apprentice in Welding Program Six Nations Polytechnic 30-week Program designed to provide entry-level skills required to start your career as a welder or related trade. 30 hours a week of theory and hands-on practical learning activities followed by an 8-week paid work placement.

Employment and Training Resources

Agencies Offering Support

The following organizations based in Brantford, Ontario can support you on your employment journey.

OrganizationDescriptionContact Info
Employment Ontario
  • Employment Ontario – Get help with finding employment.
  • Adult Learning - Take courses to improve your reading, writing, math, communication, and digital skills; Improve your English skills or get your high school diploma.

Career Link
  • CareerLink provides career focused assessment, remediation, and resources to employers and job seekers.
1 Market St Upper Level, Brantford, ON N3T 6C8

Phone: 519-759-1412

St. Leonard’s Community Services
  • Provide access to computers, internet, printing/copying.
  • Support with job search needs, such as assistance with interview skills, job search techniques and resumes/cover letters.
  • Connections to training programs

225 Fairview Dr, Brantford, ON N3R 7E3

Phone: 519-756-7665

Brant Skills Centre
  • Literacy and basic skills training, including numeracy, digital, communication and interpersonal skills

225 Fairview Dr #1, Brantford, ON N3R 7E3

Phone: 519-758-1664

Contact North
  • Provide information and assistance with a variety of online courses and programs, including: ESL, workplace skills, upskilling, and reskilling.
  • Offer assistance with course registration and financial aid information.
  • Provide access to technology including: computers, internet, virtual reality, web, and audio conferencing

411 Elgin Street , Brantford, ON, Canada, Ontario

Phone: 1-855-833-0108

Contact Form

Community Resource Service

Employment and job search services: 

  • Comprehensive employment and job search services 
  • Assessment of skills, interests and experience
  • Job search strategies, including resume preparation
  • Information about careers and occupations, local labour market, employment and training opportunities
  • On-the-job training, work experience, help in maintaining employment as well as information and referral to other employment and community service

Better Jobs Ontario: 
  • Skills training and financial support for laid off workers
  • Financial support based on need, may include tuition, instructional costs, books, transportation and/or a basic living allowance

Services for employers: 
  • Help identifying human resource skills requirements, matching of workplace needs to workers' skills, capabilities, interests and experience
  • Support for developing on-the-job training plans and monitoring of placements to support retention.

Brantford Food Bank & Employment Service
1100 Clarence Street S., Suite 202, Brantford, ON
Phone: 519-751-4357 ext 228 

Key Training and Education Resources:

 Online Tools and Resources for Employment

Workforce Gateway

An online tool called the Workforce Gateway has been developed by the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie and incorporated into the Grand Erie Jobs platform. Gateway includes a catalogue of employment related resources that will assist the workforce and employers in navigating their workday and career in the Grand Erie community.

The Workforce Gateway is an easy-to-use information guide that connects you to hundreds of local work and business resources – from job hunting, skills building, education, and work-related needs.

After answering one or two further questions to narrow the search, users will see a list of local services they can connect with. People looking for jobs or to build their skills can tap into numerous community services, such as talking to an employment counsellor, improving computer skills, writing resumes, learning about apprenticeships, finding daycares, renewing a driver’s license, and getting a criminal reference check.

Tips for Newcomers: Newcomer services are currently listed on the Gateway under “I want to find community services” (top layer) and then “I am looking for newcomer services” (2nd layer).

Grand Erie Jobs 

View job boards for open position in the Grand Erie region.

For guidance on how to use the Grand Erie Jobs Board tool, videos can be found of their webpage.

Canada Job Bank

Explore the Local Labour Market. Learn about:

  • Available Jobs
  • Wages
  • Career Prospects
  • Essential skills
  • Job Requirements

 How to Start a Business

Reasons to Consider Self-Employment 

In becoming an entrepreneur, you play a key role in the economy by taking the skills and initiative necessary to anticipate economic needs and bringing forth good ideas to the market. Passion is vital to starting a successful business, which is rewarded with profits, community recognition, and continued growth opportunities. For this reason, it is never too early or late to become an entrepreneur.
Key reasons to consider self-employment are listed below:

  1. Inability to find suitable paid employment
  2. Flexible hours
  3. Balance of work and family
  4. Possibility to work from home
  5. Independence and Freedom (being your “Own Boss”)
  6. Potential for Unlimited Income
  7. Lower taxes and deductions
  8. Prospects of building a family business
Brantford-Brant Business Resource Centre (BRC) 
Find a list of resources at

 Community partners

Thank you to the following organizations who contributed to the development of this resource:

  • Brant Skills Centre
  • Brantford-Brant Chamber of Commerce
  • Conestoga College
  • Six Nations Polytechnic
  • St. Leonard’s Community Services
  • The City of Brantford
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie
  • YMCA – Settlement Services