A report from Canada’s Economic Strategy Tables on Health and Biosciences indicated that by 2025, Canada will double the size of the health and biosciences sector. The country is expected to become a top-three global hub by: 

  1. Leveraging and advancing innovative technologies, 
  2. Attracting and retaining capital, skills and talent, and 
  3. Ensuring a vibrant ecosystem that will unleash the full potential of the sector and lead to improved health outcomes. 

This would open up many opportunities for healthcare professionals to excel and succeed in their respective specialized fields.

In this article, we will help you understand how to analyze the scope for your healthcare role in Canada and make a successful transition to the Canadian job market.

Note:
The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s national system for describing occupations. The NOC code is a four-digit number that plays an important part in your immigration application. The NOC groups jobs based on the type of job duties and the work a person does. You can learn more and find your NOC code on the Government of Canada website.

Here are some of the NOCs that broadly cover all the roles in the field of healthcare:

NOC Code NOC Code Name Example Titles
0014 Senior managers – health, education, social and community services and membership organizations Health Services Institution Executive Director, Health Services Director.
0311 Managers in healthcare Chief of Medical Staff, Director of Nursing, Director of Surgery, Medical Clinic Director.
0411 Government managers – health and social policy development and program administration Health Program Operations Manager – Government Services, City Medical Officer of Health – Government Services.
1243 Medical administrative assistants Medical Secretary, Administrative Assistant – Medical, Ward Secretary.
1251 Court reporters, medical transcriptionists and related occupations Medical Transcriptionist.
1252 Health information management occupations Health Information Management Supervisor, Health Records Technician, Medical Records Unit Supervisor.
3011 Nursing coordinators and supervisors Nursing Coordinator, Nursing Supervisor, Public Health Nursing Supervisor, Psychiatric Nursing Supervisor.
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses Registered Nurse, Registered Psychiatric Nurse, Private Duty Nurse, Critical Care Nurse.
3111 Specialist physicians Anesthetist, General Surgeon, Neurologist, Pediatrician, Neurosurgeon, Orthopedist, Psychiatrist.
3112 General practitioners and family physicians Family Physician, General practitioner (GP), Medical Doctor.
3113 Dentists Dentist, Oral Pathologist, Orthodontist.
3114 Veterinarians Veterinarian, Veterinary Pathologist, Veterinary Surgeon.
3121 Optometrists Doctor of Optometry, Optometrist.
3122 Chiropractors Chiropractor.
3124 Allied primary health practitioners Midwife, Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant.
3125 Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating Naturopath, Podiatrist, Orthoptist.
3131 Pharmacists Pharmacist, Hospital Pharmacist, Retail Pharmacist.
3132 Dietitians and nutritionists Dietitian, Nutritionist, Clinical Dietitian.
3141 Audiologists and speech-language pathologists Audiologist, Speech Therapist, Clinical Audiologist.
3142 Physiotherapists Physical Therapist, Physiotherapist, Registered Physiotherapist.
3143 Occupational therapists Occupational Therapist.
3144 Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment Music Therapist, Art Therapist, Exercise Physiologist.
3211 Medical laboratory technologists Histology Technologist, Medical Laboratory Supervisor, Immunohematology Technologist.
3212 Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants Medical Laboratory Assistant, Pathology Assistant.
3213 Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians Animal Health Technician, Veterinarian Assistant, Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT).
3214 Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists Respiratory Therapist, Certified Clinical Perfusionist (CCP), Respiratory Therapy Chief.
3215 Medical radiation technologists Radiation Therapist, Radiation Therapy Technologist (RTT), X-ray (radiology) Technician.
3216 Medical sonographers Medical Sonographer, Ultrasound Technologist.
3217 CCardiology technologists and electrophysiological diagnostic technologists, n.e.c. Cardiology Supervisor, Electrocardiographic (ECG) Technologist, Electroneurodiagnostic (END) Technologist.
3219 Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health) Orthotist, Dietary Technician, Prosthetist.
3221 Denturists Denturist, Denturologist.
3222 Dental hygienists and dental therapists Dental Hygienist, Dental Nurse, Dental Therapist.
3223 Dental technologists, technicians and laboratory assistants Dental Laboratory Assistant, Dental Technician, Registered Dental Technologist (RDT).
3231 Opticians Contact Lens Technician, Optician.
3232 Practitioners of natural healing Acupuncturist, Herbalist, Reflexologist.
3233 Licensed practical nurses Graduate Nursing Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse (L.P.N.), Registered Nursing Assistant (R.N.A.).
3234 Paramedical occupations Ambulance Attendant, Paramedic, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
3236 Massage therapists Massage Therapist (MT), Registered Massage Practitioner.
3237 Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment Audiology Technician, Ophthalmic Assistant, Physiotherapy Technician, Speech Therapy Assistant.
3411 Dental assistants Dental Assistant.
3413 Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates Nurse Aide, Patient Care Aide, Psychiatric Aide, Patient Service Associate.
3414 Other assisting occupations in support of health services Autopsy Assistant, Optometrist Assistant, Orthopedic Technologist, Therapist Assistant – Medical.
4151 Psychologists Psychologist, Psychological Associate.
4165 Health policy researchers, consultants, and program officers Healthcare Consultant, Healthcare Planner, Health Services Researcher.

Tip: For the purpose of analysis, you don’t have to be restricted to one single code; you can look at multiple codes that require your skills and decide which one might be better suited to your situation.

What is the demand for healthcare roles in Canada?

Before you dive deeper, it’s important to understand the big picture. Statistics Canada (StatCan) publishes monthly and annual employment trends for various industries. This is a good starting point to get an idea of the employment trends in healthcare; any increase or growth is a good sign. 

The monthly and annual employment trends data on Statistics Canada is grouped by industries. As per the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), most healthcare roles are categorized under code 62 – Healthcare and Social Assistance. Therefore, when you look at employment trends in Statistics Canada, you will have to look up this specific category.    

Statistics Canada also allows you to filter the numbers by province. This is a good way to identify provinces that have the maximum demand for your skills and know the probability of finding a job in your field. For instance, in 2019, among all provinces, Ontario had maximum employment for NAICS code 62, followed by Quebec and British Columbia.

Image showing how to filter StatCan employment trends by geography

If you would like to gain a better understanding of the overall job market trends, you can look at the following two sites: 

  1. Statistics Canada publishes monthly reports which can be found by searching for the Labour Force Survey. A general Google search with the keywords (Labour Force Survey + latest month and year) will take you directly to the relevant webpage. You can have a look at the reports of April 2020 and March 2020 to get an idea. Note that these are overall trends and not specific to the healthcare sector. However, they will have subsections for noteworthy NAICS categories for that month.
  2. Explore the healthcare job market in various provinces by reading a comprehensive report published by Canada’s Job Bank. Once you’re on the webpage, choose a province and then scroll down to sectoral profiles. Select Healthcare and Social Assistance for deeper insight into the healthcare sector. 

Tip: For a quick overview, type in your NOC code or job title on the Occupation Trends page and search. Here’s a summary of the role of a Registered Nurse (NOC 3012) in Canada. The main summary page will provide various details such as educational and skill requirements for the role, average wages, and the number of jobs available. Clicking on the Prospects tab will show you a provincial breakdown of job prospects.

Image showing StatCan job prospects and trends for a Registered Nurse in Canada

This exercise will help you set realistic expectations for being able to find a job in your field in a specific province or region. 

How to narrow your research and identify a city where healthcare skills are in-demand

Once you decide on a province where you would like to work, as a next step, you can start looking at specific cities that might offer more opportunities to find a job in your desired role. For this, Canada’s Job Bank website is an excellent resource. 

On the Prospects page, when you click on a specific province, it will provide a further split by region. For instance, you can view the opportunities for a Registered Nurse in Alberta on the same site.  

After narrowing down the region, you can go back to the main Occupation Trends page, type in your NOC and region or city to get a similar detailed report.

Image showing how to see StatCan trends for Nurses near Calgary or other cities

How to identify relevant healthcare certifications or licenses that may be required for your role

Different provinces and territories may have different requirements for professional licenses and certifications. Identifying if you would need to obtain a license or certification can help you get a headstart in preparing for your employment in Canada.

Note: All occupations in Canada are classified into regulated and non-regulated occupations. You can find out if your profession is regulated by typing in your NOC code and province/territory on the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) website. Regulated occupations typically require you to have a license and/or a certification to be able to work in the field. 

Considering the instance of a Registered Nurse (as mentioned above), the same page on the Job Bank website will provide a list of skills and requirements (such as licenses and certifications) to be able to work in the field.

Image showing how to see a list of job skills and requirements for the role of a Registered Nurse

For a Registered Nurse to work in Calgary, it is essential to be certified by the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta. Additionally, completion of a university, college or other approved registered nursing program along with additional academic training or experience is usually required.

Note: Most healthcare occupations across Canada are regulated and you will be required to get a certification or license to be able to practice.

For internationally trained nurses: How to become a certified nurse in Canada

Here’s an overview of the steps to be followed to be certified as a nurse in Canada:

  1. Send in an application to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) for creating an Advisory Report that includes an evaluation of your education based on Canadian standards and comparing it to current Canadian nursing requirements. You will have to choose one nursing group and one province for your application. 
  2. Apply to the provincial or territorial nursing association for assessment. 
    • In Ontario, you can apply to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and in British Columbia, you can apply to the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia
    • As part of the assessment process, you will be required to take one or more exams to demonstrate your nursing competency, evaluate your knowledge and understanding of the laws, regulations, and College by-laws, practice standards and guidelines that govern the nursing profession in that particular province or territory.
  3. If you pass, you must meet four other requirements in order to be registered by a provincial or territorial nursing regulatory body in Canada.
    • Evidence of fluency in English or French language.
    • Registration or eligibility for registration in the jurisdiction where the nursing program was completed.
    • Proof of Canadian Citizenship, Permanent Residency, or authorization under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to engage in the practice of nursing. 
    • Good character and suitability to practise, as indicated by a Declaration of Registration Requirements and a Canadian Criminal Record Synopsis.
  4. Get the certificate of registration from the provincial or territorial nursing College / Association. 

Tip: For more information on obtaining your nursing certification, head over to the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS).

For internationally trained doctors: How to become a practicing physician in Canada

Here’s an overview of the steps to be followed to be a practicing physician in Canada:  

Before moving to Canada

  1. Search the World Directory of Medical Schools to confirm if your medical degree is recognized in Canada. A Canada Sponsor Note for your school must be identified to be accepted in Canada.
  2. Take the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I practice tests. This is one of the exams you need to pass before you are eligible to practise in Canada.
  3. Open a physiciansapply.ca account. You will need to pay a one-time, non-refundable fee. Once you sign up, you will be able to log into your account to request various services, including storing and sharing your documents, applying for exams and more.
  4. Submit your medical credentials for verification through your physiciansapply.ca account.
    • Before your credentials can be shared, however, you must first send a copy of your final medical diploma to the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) for source verification
  5. Take the MCCQE Part I exam at one of the 500+ test centres around the world.

 

After moving to Canada

  1. Take the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) exam
  2. Take the MCCQE Part II exam. After you pass the MCCQE Part II and meet all other MCC requirements, you will be awarded the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada. 
  3. Join a practice-ready assessment (PRA) program
    • If you are looking to get a provisional licence so you can begin independent practice, a practice-ready assessment (PRA) program may be a good option for you. 
    • Available in several provinces, this kind of program is designed for internationally trained physicians who have pursued postgraduate clinical medical training abroad. For more information, contact your provincial international medical graduate program.
  4. Seek out liability protection

Tip: For detailed information, steps, and processes, have a look at physiciansapply.ca and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Navigating salary expectations for healthcare roles in Canada

Setting salary expectations is another key area of importance for newcomers. There are many sites to conduct salary research: The Job Bank website, Glassdoor, and reports published by recruitment firms such as Hays and Randstad are some of them. Your salary would vary greatly depending on the city you’re based in and your work experience.

Each of these sources will let you filter your profession by experience level and region and city so that you can get a very real sense of salary expectations. It is a good idea to compare numbers from different sites to get a good ballpark figure. 

For instance, a Registered Nurse working in Calgary can expect to earn approximately $74,000 to $120,000 on average, depending on their level of experience. 

How to find a healthcare job in Canada

Here are some of the ways you can prepare for the healthcare job market in Canada:

1. Online and offline methods

In addition to Canada’s Job Bank website and other online job search portals such as LinkedIn Jobs, Indeed, Monster, Workopolis, CareerBuilder, SimplyHired, and many others, you can sign up for industry events and register with specialized recruitment or staffing agencies who can help market your resume to potential employers. Industry events in your city or neighbourhood can be found on sites like Eventbrite

2. Get relevant certifications or licenses

Depending on your role, a certification and/or a license might be mandatory for you to be able to work in your field. Getting certified in Canada will improve your employment prospects and strengthen your resume. 

3. Build a strong resume

The most important tool in your quest to find your dream job is your resume. Ensure that your resume is always up-to-date and aligned with the Canadian style of formatting. Be sure to customize it to the healthcare role you are applying for. 

4. Networking

Networking is crucial in finding employment in Canada. Arrive Connections and LinkedIn are good starting points for you to build your network. Coffee chats can also help you learn about the local market and get accustomed to Canadian culture and workplace etiquette. 

Download the Arrive Connections app for free and start building your Canadian network digitally.

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You can use the following Arrive resources to help be better prepared for your job search:

Arrive is with you every step of the way.

What does the hiring process look like for healthcare roles in Canada?

The hiring process for healthcare roles is usually split into multiple rounds:

  • Screening: This is usually a telephonic round where the interviewer will discuss basics such as role expectations, compensation, and chat about your experience. 
  • Skill and knowledge testing: If the interviewer determines that you are a good fit for the role, the initial round is followed up with two or three more rounds of conversations primarily geared towards evaluating your skills and domain knowledge. These rounds may include behavioural or scenario-based questions. 
  • Final round: The recruiter or hiring manager will usually meet with you before an offer letter is issued. The focus of this conversation is generally on soft skills and cultural fit. 

Tip: Prepped is an excellent resource for you to practice your interview skills and prep for the interview process in Canada.

On average, the entire interview process can take between two to six weeks, depending on the urgency of the position to be filled and the availability and scheduling of everyone involved in the process. 

 

Re-starting your career in a new country, especially in a regulated profession like healthcare, may seem daunting. It helps to start researching on the certifications or licenses that you may require early on and prepare to obtain them. This will enable you to find opportunities faster and smoothly transition to the Canadian job market. 

 

 

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Disclaimer:
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.