There are still many opportunities for training and career development when wanting to enter into the Canadian workforce. As a newcomer to Canada, you will likely have to obtain Canadian certification for a job similar to the skilled profession you held in your home country. You might be unable to secure employment in your previous professional field due to timing challenges with retraining, family responsibilities, or both.

Once you enter into the workforce, you may feel that Canadian workplace culture is not what you are used to. The culture shock  can be overwhelming and intimidating, but please do not let that deter you from participating in the Canadian workforce. The Canadian workplace has similarities to the workplace culture you have experienced. For example, the Canadian workplace adopts a hierarchical system. The roles, depicted in the image below, report to their immediate or higher management team members. This means that employees, regardless of their role will report to an immediate supervisor or higher management.

Because Canadian workplaces often adopt unique communication strategies, the list below will provide insight on workplace skills that may be new to you. As you learn more about these skills, remember that they can be used in combination with your skills and abilities in the Canadian workplace. Keep in mind that the easiest way to learn about workplace culture is to observe and ask questions.

Consider these additional workforce skills when applying to jobs and beginning to work in Canada:

Skills Necessary to the Canadian Workplace

  1. Body Language:
    • Context matters when interpreting body language like eye contact, nodding, crossing arms or crossing legs. To improve your understanding of body language in the Canadian workplace it is best to be observant, empathetic, and self-aware. Acceptable body language can change overtime. For example, handshaking has long been an acceptable and professional way to introduce oneself or greet each other in the workplace. However, during COVID-19, handshaking is no longer suitable under physical distancing restrictions to minimize community transmission of the virus. Removing the practice of handshaking might be adopted into workplace culture post COVID-19 to continue the minimization of virus and disease spreading. It is important to know that body language can be interpreted differently. For example, in Western culture, eye contact is interpreted as attentiveness and honesty, while in many other cultures, eye contact may be considered disrespectful or rude.


  1. Soft Skills:
    • Developing soft skills can be challenging, but they are very important to progressing in the Canadian workforce. Soft skills include mindfulness (further discussed below), communication, team work, adaptability, time management, a positive attitude and behaviour, and leadership that is appropriate in the Canadian workplace. Soft skills are as equally important as in Canadian workforce. Hard skills are the specific skills you need to perform a particular job, such as technical abilities, an accounting diploma, or a carpentry certificate. Soft skills are not specific to a job or industry,  but are traits that make you a good employee, such as being on time and working well with others.
  2. Mindfulness:
    • This refers to practicing nonjudgmental ways of acknowledging the needs, values, and beliefs of your coworkers. Consider the examples of mindfulness practices below:
      • Allergies: Canadian employers and their employees reduce the risk and exposure to allergens by practicing and respecting health and safety rules. For example, this could mean working in a peanut-and perfume-free workplace.
      • Mutual Respect for racial and ethnic differences, as well as spiritual and religious beliefs, gender equality, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Applying these Canadian workplace skills can also assist with career advancement and retaining your job. To help develop your skills for the Canadian workplace, please visit the Workforce WindsorEssex Training Opportunities page, or follow these steps to find out more about upcoming training opportunities:

(1) start on the main page;

(2) click on the “Improve Your Skills” button in the blue banner; and

(3) click on “Upcoming Training Opportunities” to be taken to the WEskills Menu

On this menu, you will discover all of the opportunities available to newcomers offered by organizations like the Unemployed Help Centre Inc., Women’s Enterprise Skills Training (WEST) Inc., New Canadians Centre of Excellence Inc., and the Empowered Diverse Group for Education & Employment (EDGE).


Have any questions or any additional tips? Please contact:

Taking Your Job Search Online is developed in partnership with South Essex Community Council and funded by United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County and the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund.