Are you thinking about getting a working holiday visa in Canada but not sure where to start? Read about Ben’s firsthand experiences from his working holiday in Canada.
We’ll be discussing the working holiday visa Canada requirements, salary, the best working holiday jobs in Canada, general tips, and more. Let’s dive in!
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Working holiday Canada experience
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Work and holiday visa Canada: everything you need to know
Ben used the Canada working holiday program as a way to spend an entire year in Canada while working several jobs. He kindly agreed to share his work and holiday Canada experiences to inspire other travelers.
If you’ve secretly been dreaming about getting a working holiday visa for Canada but are unsure what to expect, read along as Ben has loads of great tips and advice based on his personal experiences.
Ben is a travel enthusiast from the UK. He spent a year working at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Canada and is the co-creator of Ticket 4 Two Please, a travel blog that offers advice and inspiration for couples seeking long-term travel options.
Having grown up in the UK, I’m fortunate as I have been traveling since I was young. It was always my ambition to work abroad in some capacity when I was older.
Therefore, it was an easy decision for my girlfriend and me to apply for a working holiday visa in Canada.
Why do a working holiday in Canada?
When I was at University, I took a gap year in New Zealand so going back didn’t seem so appealing at the time. Instead, I wanted to go somewhere that had access to world-class skiing conditions as I had always dreamt of working a ski season.
As such, it is difficult to imagine a more suitable place than Canada!
Is it difficult to get a Canadian work and travel visa?
The Canadian Working Holiday Visa Scheme is open to young adults (usually 18-30) of countless nationalities around the globe.
The actual process for securing your visa is fairly straightforward but it does take quite a long time. I recommend starting the process as early as possible.
We were fortunate as we only had to provide biometrics (fingerprint information) before we arrived in Canada, and this can be done easily in most countries.
Others may find the process a little longer as some nationalities have to provide a full medical examination alongside their visa application and biometrics.
Alternatively, you can check out Global Work & Travel which offers step-by-step guidance and assistance as you embark on your working holiday to Canada (use the coupon code PHENOMENALGLOBE for a €100 discount).
Working holiday visa Canada requirements
Working holiday Canada age limit
In order to work and travel Canada on their special WHV, you must be between 18 and 30 years old, though some nationalities can apply until 35 years.
You should have a valid passport for the duration of your stay in Canada. That means that your work permit in Canada can’t be valid longer than your passport.
Most people spend a whole year working and traveling in Canada, some even stay two years. Therefore, I recommend renewing your passport if it expires within two years.
You never know if you might end up getting a working holiday visa Canada extension because you’re having such an amazing time…
Other requirements for a working holiday visa Canada
Some other requirements are:
- You must have sufficient funds to support yourself (at least CAN$2,500).
- Health insurance for the duration of your stay is manditory.
- There shouldn’t be a reason why you are inadmissible to Canada (such as a substantial criminal conviction).
For more details on how to get a working holiday visa in Canada, check the official Canada Immigration Website.
How long is the working holiday visa in Canada?
The WHV Canada is valid for 12 months, though you may be able to extend if you meet certain criteria. We spent a full winter in Canada (October ‘19 – May ‘20) and also worked several months during summer (June ‘20 – September ’20).
We had originally planned to stay only for the winter, but due to COVID, we decided to stay put for the summer. This turned out to be a brilliant decision!
Working holiday jobs Canada
Our official role was ‘Resort Activities Attendant’ which meant we floated between working at the Ski Rental Shop, the Health Club & Gym, and the Hotel’s Kids’ Club.
In the summer months, the job was entirely outdoors and we worked at the Lake Louise Boathouse renting canoes to guests.
If you’ve ever seen a photo of Lake Louise in the summer, you’ll be familiar with the iconic red canoes that we rented out to visitors. It was an incredibly varied job and we never got tired of the views…
How to find a working holiday job in Canada?
We arrived in Banff in early October and attended a ‘Job Hiring Fair’. They are fairly common in Ski Resort towns and a fantastic and easy way to secure a job.
Several potential employers set up stands at the Fair so you can stroll around and find a job you’d love. Many of the stalls employ you right there on the spot.
Lake Louise is rather isolated, particularly in winter. This had its challenges, but also meant our job came with many incredible perks such as:
- Subsidized accommodation
- Free daily meals in the staff canteen
- A discounted ski pass upon request
How much do you earn during a working holiday in Canada?
In terms of wage, the majority of working holiday visa candidates in Canada will be working on a fairly low wage (around CAD$10-15 per hour).
That being said, if you get a job where accommodation and meals are included (which is the case for many Canada working holiday jobs), you can quite easily save the money you earn to use it to travel around Canada.
What’s the best thing about a work and travel holiday in Canada? And the hardest?
The best thing about our working holiday Canada visa was being able to live and work in a world-renowned destination, for free, all year around.
People save for years and years to visit Lake Louise and we had access to it every day as soon as we climbed out of bed. It really is one of the most magical places we have ever been to!
Probably the hardest aspect of our working holiday visa was the fact that we lived in a remote village in the middle of a National Park.
This meant that groceries were a lot more expensive than the national average. Furthermore, the nearest grocery store in Banff was 45 minutes away (by bus).
Is it worth doing a working holiday in Canada?
Yes, 100%! Canada, and Banff National Park, have a special place in our hearts as a result of our working holiday visa. We met friends from all around the world with who we are still in regular contact.
Having the chance to learn to ski and snowboard in Lake Louise, one of the world’s premier ski resorts, is something that we’ll always remember and cherish.
How to make the most of your Canada work and travel experience
Search for Job Hiring Fairs
As I mentioned earlier, we found our jobs at one of these Fairs and we can’t recommend them enough. You get a plethora of job opportunities at the Fair. Plus, they are a lot less stressful than trawling through the internet day after day in search of a job.
We found the job hiring fair on Facebook, so remember to search around to find them.
Don’t always take the first job you are offered
Try and save a little bit of money before you arrive in Canada. This gives you the luxury of being able to wait a few weeks before accepting a job.
You will likely have that job for the majority of your working holiday visa. So you really want to make sure it is the perfect job for you.
Head for the Canadian Rockies
Maybe a little bit of a biased opinion here, but we feel as though the Canadian Rockies offer the best conditions for anyone wanting to do a working holiday in Canada:
- You will meet like-minded travelers from all around the globe
- You have easy access to unforgettable outdoor adventure sports
- It’s one of the most beautiful areas in the whole of North America
Work travel visa Canada: conclusion
I hope this post has answered your questions about the Canada working holiday visa. Be sure to head over to Ben’s blog for his detailed guide on how to work a ski season in Canada.
Or read check my extensive Canada page for more travel inspiration.