Depending on where you grew up or worked, you may find the Canadian workplace very different. Canadians are often quite outspoken and the workplace can be fairly lively, especially in a trades setting.
In construction, it is not unusual for the foreman to be quite assertive, yell for workers to hurry up, or appear to not use courtesy. This is not a reflection on you! Canadian job sites are sometimes high stress settings where your employer is pressured to get the job done quickly. Do not take this personally.
Be willing to ask questions if you are unsure about how to do something. Most employers and co-workers would rather answer a few questions than have you feeling confused or making mistakes. Communication is important in the Canadian workplace.
Teamwork is a highly valued skill in Canada. Most employers and co-workers expect you to work as a teammate, cooperating with others, volunteering on large tasks and helping when asked.
Canadians also expect workers to have good personal management skills. Being on time, taking only the allotted breaks, working safely and being willing to learn are all good personal management skills.
Talk to other workers during breaks and learn about them. This is a good way to build relationships.
Help others. When you see a co-worker struggling with a task or unable to perform a duty you can do, offer to help. This builds trust and is a good form of teamwork.
Feeling Taken Advantage of
Sometimes new Canadians aren’t sure if workplace culture is appropriate or if their employers are taking advantage of them.
If you are unsure, call your SkillsConnect employment counsellor to ask for clarification. Misunderstandings can occur when we are unsure.
Other resources include:
Employment Standards Act
Lists the rules employers have to follow in areas such as hours of work, minimum wage, overtime, public holidays, vacation time and pay, maternity and parental leave, termination and severance pay.
If you are hurt on the job, WorkSafeBC can provide compensation, rehabilitation, health care benefits and other services. This website is also a good place to learn about staying safe at work.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission
British Columbia has laws against discrimination based on race, age, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, marital status, family status, place of origin or ancestry.
British Columbians pay federal and provincial income taxes. They file one tax return each year (the Canadian government collects income taxes for B.C.). Newcomers have different tax rules for their first year in Canada. For more information go to http://www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca.
Every workplace has its own culture, and they all fit within the Canadian expectations of work. Here are a few general tips to help you fit in at work. * Canadians value teamwork. Assisting your co-workers, offering to help with complex tasks and being willing to help out when asked are highly valued. * In group discussions, try to participate, even if only to ask a few questions. If you do not speak up, your co-workers or employer may think you have no ideas of your own. * When meeting new business associates or co-workers, it is polite to shake hands. Superiors are usually addressed formally unless you are asked to use their first name, for example Mr. Smith, Mrs. Wilson or Ms Jones. Co-workers are usually addressed by their first names. * When meeting new people, it is best to keep