Now we’ve established that you’re not alone in thinking that requiring Canadian experience is potentially and probably unfair. If applied to your disadvantage, you might even have cause to file a complaint for discrimination.
But who would want to work in a company that you have to complain or file a case your way into?
It would be much more constructive to understand the value of “Canadian experience” from an employer’s perspective, and plan on how to address their concerns so that the need for this experience doesn’t affect us as much.
IT’S LIKELY NOT INTENDED TO DISCRIMINATE
Let’s take out the thought of intentional discrimination, and try to understand legitimate concerns that translate into a perceived need of the employer to look for Canadian work experience. If it’s intentional, there’s nothing much you can do about it short of filing a complaint.
Your experience and skills can be grouped into hard and soft components. Hard skills, such as writing a computer software program for example, are easily verifiable. Either you can or you can’t.
Soft skills on the other hand, such as your English skills and ability to communicate, your understanding of how Canadians act in the workplace, your knowledge of relevant laws and workplace expectations, your ability to integrate and work harmoniously with people of this culture — these are more difficult to gauge. It translates to “will you be a good fit for the company”? It translates to “will you need to be trained, or need a longer transition period”, which translates to costs, before you become useful to the company?
Having Canadian work experience means you can provide a work reference that an employer can call to verify your skills and your attitude to work. From this point of view, an employer asking or looking for Canadian experience as a means to gauge your soft side would not be totally unfair and unreasonable.
So instead of crying foul or worrying about it, let’s deal with it.
FILIPINOS HAVE AN EDGE
I’ve realized that Filipinos have an edge in this ability to integrate. We’re generally comfortable with English. We adjust to the new rules. We smile easily. We’re usually not abrasive in the way we talk or act. We’re used to other cultures, with our experiences with long Spanish rule, a large Filipino-Chinese community and Hollywood entertainment. It’s therefore no surprise that we’re everywhere in the world, and would often easily integrate and excel in a new environment.
To these articles, let me just add my few cents worth.
First, I believe that the need for “Canadian experience” is intended and more challenging for ethnic groups that have a problem with English, and whose cultures are so different from Canadian culture that smooth and quick work integration is in question. That generally does not apply to Filipinos.
Second, if you have quality work experience that shows in your resume, that you fluently communicate and make obvious during a job interview, and that is verifiable with your references, then you shouldn’t be too concerned.
Third, I personally have not seen a job posting that specifically, explicitly calls for “Canadian experience”. Quality experience, yes, but specifically Canadian experience, no. I’ve long heard about this Canadian experience barrier, but have yet to actually see it in the workplace and labor marketplace. Maybe I’ve just been lucky. It’s out there in some way or form, but is not openly out to make it difficult for you to get your first job.
My final take and personal conclusion on all these?
It’s there. Do try to mitigate it as soon as you can. Don’t worry too much about it.
Have you had bad experience with this “Canadian work experience” barrier? Let us know about it.
Winter’s coming. Keep warm.
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We're volunteers dedicated to provide information in helping new immigrants navigate the cultural and language differences for the Province of Québec.
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