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Hire Employees in Canada - Overview

Canada has a thriving economy, with strong real growth forecasts for 2022 (3.8 percent) and 2023 (2.6 percent). With a well-educated and highly skilled professional workforce, and business-friendly laws and regulations, Canada is an ideal location for hiring international employees.

Closely connected to both European and other North American markets, many businesses find that Canada is the ideal launchpad for their North American expansion.

canada map

Facts & Stats

Population 38.232M (Labor Force 21 million) Capital City Ottawa Languages Spoken English and French
Currency Canadian Dollars (CAD$) GDP per capita $52,022 Ease of Doing Business 23rd in the world
Minimum Wage CAD$15.55/hour Average Wage CAD1,050/Month Paid Leave 3-4 weeks

Canada: Business Environment

Business outlook

Despite some instances of social unrest related to containment measures, the Canadian economy has largely recovered from the Covid19 crisis. In 2021 Canada maintained its position as one of the top 10 economies in the world, ranking 9th largest by GDP. 

The OECD indicates Canada’s real GDP will grow by 3.8% in 2022, and 2.6% through 2023. As a major exporter of natural resources, including; natural gas, crude oil, coal, minerals, and timber the war in Ukraine may see the above growth estimates revised. It should be noted, however, that increasing housing costs, capacity pressures and issues with global supply continue to drive inflation and the cost of living in Canada. 

Open-ended employment contracts are the most common type of contract in Canada. They offer ongoing employment with no fixed end date, and if the employer wishes to end the contract they will need to terminate the employment. Fixed-term contracts are also available, and will end on a specified date in the contract. 

The best type of employment contract depends on the job role and specific circumstances. For the vast majority of roles, an open-ended contract is the most suitable. however, there are some circumstances where an alternative like a temporary contract may be more suitable.

Business regulation

Like other advanced economies, Canada has strong labor laws protecting both the employee and the employer. Canada’s labor laws are complicated by differences in legislation at the federal and provincial levels.

Regardless of provincial variations, employers must meet certain Minimum Employment Rights when hiring in Canada. As an employer, it’s crucial that you have a firm grasp of your obligations before making any hiring decisions. 

Business culture

Sharing a 9,000km border with the U.S. has led to the development of close cultural ties with the world’s largest economy. Canada’s corporate culture also shares similarities with British and, to a lesser extent, French customs. Doing business in Canada is straightforward, especially for those organizations already familiar with American and Northern European business customs.  

A handshake is the go-to business greeting and diversity and inclusion are becoming increasingly important concerns for decision makers. Equalities legislation (potentially both Provincial and Federal) will have implications for the selection of candidates and the interview process – see below.

Recruiting employees in Canada

Recruiting employees in Canada – Overview

Recruitment is primarily completed online in Canada. Jobs portals such as Robert Half, Indeed and Workopolis as well as social media platforms such as LinkedIn are popular. 

Differences in provincial labor laws complicate the process. For an in-depth breakdown see the Complete Guide to Labor & Employment Laws in Canada

To simplify the process and mitigate risk, many companies looking to hire employees in Canada opt to contract a global PEO or EoR. Combining in-country knowledge and extensive experience of international recruitment, global PEOs ensure full compliance with local tax and employment laws. As the industry leader, Horizons offer a range of strategic global recruitment services to help businesses meet their objectives whilst reducing hiring costs.

Most important recruitment tools in Canada

  • Robert Half
    Robert Half is a global human resource consulting firm with offices in all of Canada’s major cities. The service offering is focused around the hiring of highly-skilled business professionals from early to mid-career up to the executive level.
  • Indeed
    Recognized as the world’s largest job hiring platform, Indeed is the #1 hiring platform in Canada. The platform caters to the full spectrum of industries and attracts job seekers from all experience levels.
  • LinkedIn
    The professional networking platform LinkedIn is used widely across Canada. Of the 20M Canadian users, 54% of users fall within the 25-34 age bracket.

Interviewing employees in Canada

Interviewing employees in Canada – Overview

Although later stage interviews tend to be conducted in-person, the Covid19 pandemic has led to a marked increase in job interviews being completed entirely online. 

The format of the interview will vary, usually depending on the level or complexity of the role. Regardless of language, interviews generally follow a similar pattern across all of Canada. As in the US and Europe, punctuality and presentation, both in terms of attire and non-verbal communication are important aspects in a Canadian job interview. The need for care in the recruitment process, in terms of local legislation and cultural norms, is another reason to consider the services of a PEO.

Can I ask the candidate’s previous salary in Canada?

At the time of writing, it is legal in Canada to ask candidates about their current salary and salary history. 

It is likely, however, that provincial governments across Canada and the Canadian federal government will introduce legislation that prohibits employers from asking candidates about their salary history. Such legislation has already been enacted in cities and states in Canada’s neighbor to the south.

What is the typical salary increase at a new job in Canada?

In 2022, companies are offering salary increases between 3 to 5%. Job platform Indeed reports that, in 2022 a raise of 10% for employees starting a new role is not uncommon.

Onboarding employees in Canada

Onboarding employees in Canada – Overview

Once the most suitably qualified candidates have been identified & selected, it’s crucial that the hiring company ensures their onboarding process is fully compliant. 

The specific onboarding process will vary from organization to organization but the following actions are recommended when onboarding new hires in Canada; verify and commit any employee personal information to secure systems for safeguarding; provide new hires with materials they need to perform the job; deliver a company orientation and any required training to get new hires up-to-speed. 

Best remote working tools to use in Canada

Remote working is common in Canada and increasingly, hybrid working models are becoming an employee benefit. Furthermore, a 2021 survey of Canadian employers found that 76% of companies are open to hiring fully remote employees. Canadian employers are using the following remote working tools to manage remote teams:

  • Slack – the instant messaging program designed specifically for the workplace was founded in Vancouver, BC. “Slack” is an acronym that stands for ‘Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge’.
  • Microsoft Teams – a collaboration tool that provides users with the ability to host audio and video conferences and syncs with Microsoft Office 365 applications.
  • Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) – VPNs are used to establish secure connections between the business/office network and the devices used by remote workers.

Holiday season in Canada — 2023

National and provincial holidays in Canada in 2023 include:

DateHoliday name
1 Jan., 2023New Year’s Day
20 Feb., 2023Islander Day (PEI)
20 Feb., 2023Louis Riel Day (MB)
20 Feb., 2023Heritage Day (NS)
20 Feb., 2023Family Day (BC, AB, SK, ON, NB)
7 Apr., 2023Good Friday (National except for QC)
10 Apr., 2023Easter Monday (QC)
22 May, 2023Victoria Day (National except for NB, NS, NL)
21 Jun., 2023Aboriginal Day (NWT
24 Jun., 2023St. Jean Baptiste Day (QC)
1 Jul., 2023Canada Day
7 Aug., 2023Civic Holiday (AB, BC, SK, ON, NB, NU)
4 Sept., 2023Labor Day
9 Oct., 2023Thanksgiving (National except for NB, NS, NL)
11 Nov., 2023Remembrance Day (National except for MB, ON, QC, NS)
25 Dec., 2023Christmas Day
26 Dec., 2023

Boxing Day (ON)

What is the typical salary increase employees in Canada expect?

Canadian employees typically expect salary increases that match or exceed the rate of inflation. 

Where the employee is located in Canada is also a factor with employees located in the Ottawa-Montreal-Toronto triangle, an area of concentrated wealth where living costs are higher than other parts of the country, likely to expect comparatively higher salary increases. 


Hiring in Canada, Made Easy

Your business can easily hire employees in Canada without opening a local entity. We handle local employment law, complex tax regulations, and international payroll in 180+ countries worldwide. All you need to do is focus on your business.

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