Get the low down on working in Canada with working holiday experts, BUNAC

By srigby, 1 Dec '14 at 15:42

Do you have your heart set on a winter in Canada but have no idea on how to get there or even how to get started? Check out our Q&A with BUNAC to learn how to make your Canadian dreams a reality.


Do I need a visa to work in Canada?

If you are planning on having a paid job in Canada and you’re not Canadian you need to have a work visa. Working in Canada without a visa is illegal, don’t do it! The most flexible type of visa for people looking to go out and work a ski season is the IEC Work Permit.

Who is eligible for an IEC Work Permit?

Brits wanting to head to Canada must be aged between 18-30, if you’re an Irish passport holder consider yourself lucky as you can be aged between 18-35

How many IEC Work Permits can I get in a lifetime?

British passport holders can have 2 visas in a lifetime (each visa will last one year.) Irish passport on the other hand can only have 1 visa; however the Irish visa will last for two years.

How many visas are available?

For 2014, the UK was allocated 5,350 visas and Ireland was allocated 7,700 visas. The figure for 2015 is yet to be released, at time of going to print.

When are visas released?

It is completely at the discretion of the Canadian Government of when the visas are released. 2014 visas were released in December 2013 and 2013 visas were released in March 2012. The Canadian Government does not give much prior notice before visas come out so be prepared for them to be released at any time!

Do the visas sell out fast?

YES! In 2013, the visas sold out in less than 30 minutes. If the visas are sold out then you’ll have to wait another year to apply again.

I really, really want a visa, is there any way I can be guaranteed one?

Whilst there’s no way to 100% guarantee an IEC Work Permit you can prepare for the visa release date (everyone knows preparation is the key to success!) With just a £100 deposit you can reserve a place on BUNAC’s Work Canada programme.

The BUNAC programme is designed to help with every aspect of your Canada trip from getting you ready for the visa release to helping you secure a job at a ski resort. Before the visas are released you will have access to fortnightly webinars which will be led by a member of the Work Canada team.

The webinar will cover all the documents you need to prepare before the visas go live, as well as allowing you to ask any questions you have on your next steps. In addition to the webinar you will have access to online pdf guidelines on your BUNAC account and will be kept up to date via email and text of the time and date of when the visas are going to be released. If you follow BUNAC’s advice you greatly increase your chances of securing a visa.

Working at a ski resort

When do ski jobs generally start?

Generally ski season jobs start at the end of November/beginning of December. The date is snow dependent so if the snow falls early November you may be asked to start work a little bit earlier!

Can I secure work before I go?

If you sign up for BUNAC’s Work Canada Ultimate Package you can interview with Canadian employers before you leave the UK. Our Canadian employers are from some of the best ski resorts in Canada and they come to the UK for the sole reason of interviewing Brits with work permits. Interviews generally take places between June-September, meaning you have the peace of mind of heading to Canada with a job already arranged.

What types of jobs are available?

Most of the jobs available at the resorts will be hospitality and tourism work. Roles that previous BUNACers have had include Ski Concierge, Spa Front Desk, Wait Staff, Housekeepers and Bartenders to name just a few!

Where can I work?

BUNAC works with resorts in Whistler, Banff, and Blue Mountain as well as resorts located in the Rockies and Purcell Mountains.

What's the average rate of pay?

The rate of pay depends on the position you are applying for. Generally the pay ranges from $10-15 per hour. Remember though you will be working at some of the best ski resorts in Canada (this years BUNACers have served Will Smith, Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hardy ) so you have the potential to make even more money in tips!

What other benefits are there to gaining a job with BUNAC?

Our employers offer our staff a whole range of perks and benefits. These include:

Free or discounted ski pass
Staff accommodation
Social events for international staff
Trips to local attractions
Discounted on-resort meals
Discounted ski rental
The opportunity to qualify as a Level 1 Ski or Snowboard instructor for free as part of your employment contract  in Ontario.

After the ski season:

My visa is for 12 months, what can I do after the ski season is over?
Whilst the snow may have melted it definitely doesn’t mean it’s the end of your time in Canada! Summers in Canada are just as beautiful as the winter so make sure you make the most of it!

If you want to stay on at the ski resort you’ve been working at – Most of the ski resorts stay open during the summer and still attract an influx of tourists who are interested in hiking and biking. If you’ve made a great impression during the winter season your employer may give you the option to stay on to work the summer there as well.

If you want a taste of the Canadian city life – If you have signed up to the BUNAC Work Canada programme you will receive access to resource centres in downtown Vancouver and Toronto. At the resource centres they will have accommodation and job listings to help you find your summer job in the city.

If you want to spend your hard earned ski resort wages on travelling – There are tons of great events in Canada during the summer months! Head to Calgary for the Stampede, jump on the ferry across to Victoria and go whale watching and celebrate Canada Day by eating your weight in maple syrup and poutine!

Want to find out more about living and working in Canada? BUNAC offer a schedule of talks across the UK and Ireland, as well as a team of dedicated Work Abroad Experts. Check out or give them a call on 033 3999 7516.

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