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Employment in Calgary

At a Glance:

  • Calgary’s economy has seen the highest economic growth of all the Canadian cities in recent years.
  • Expats will need to apply for a Social Insurance Number in order to start working in Calgary.
  • The social security system includes a two-part public retirement plan which is provided to those aged 65 and over.
  • A flat provincial income tax of 10% applies for the province of Alberta.

Calgary’s Thriving Economy

Expats planning on working in Calgary can look forward to a strong and confident economy that top every other Canadian city in real GDP growth in 2017 with 4.6%. The energy sector is one of Calgary’s top industries, as are the financial services sector, transportation and logistics, as well as television, film, and the creative industries.

Due to the city’s location and Alberta’s richness in natural resources such as gas and oil, Calgary has grown to be both Western Canada’s business center and its major distribution hub, drawing more and more people to start working in Calgary. As such, Calgary boasts the highest head offices per capita concentration nationwide, as well as Canada’s highest total growth of salaries and wages per employee over the last few years.

How to Find the Perfect Job

In most cases, you need to have a job already lined up in order to be allowed to work in Canada. If you are not sent by your current employer to start working in Calgary, there are numerous sites where you can look up vacancies in Calgary specifically or Alberta in general. You can, for instance, take a look at the local job listings in the official Canadian Job Bank or check out well-known online portals such as the Calgary Job Board and Monster.

Bigger newspapers also have career sections worth browsing. The Calgary Herald’s careers section, for instance, is presented in collaboration with Workopolis. The Alberta Learning Information Service furthermore provides a comprehensive overview and link collection for various job banks.

Accreditation of Your Personal Qualifications

Depending on your field of work and your individual situation, you may need to get an educational assessment in order to accredit your personal qualifications before you can start working in Calgary. Such an accreditation can include exams, additional training, as well as language tests. They will assess whether your personal training, education and work experience are in line with local standards.

For more information on regulated trades and professions, you can check the certification requirements of your occupation on the website of the Government of Alberta.

Needed When Taking Up Employment: Work Permits

There are a few jobs you do not need a work permit for, such as news reporters or performing artists.  For the majority of occupations, however, you do have to get a permit in order to start working in Calgary. When applying for your work permit, make sure to have a written copy of the job offer and proof of your qualifications ready at hand. If necessary, also include the positive Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for the position. Your (future) employer will have to apply for the latter.

Your spouse or common-law partner, as well as your dependent children, also have to apply for a work permit if they are planning on working in Calgary. Their application process typically follows the same steps as yours, including getting an LMIA where necessary. In some cases, an “open” work permit may be possible, so they do not have to stay with one specific employer. You can read up on work permits for spouses and common-law partners or dependent children on the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

Top Priorities: Social Insurance and Taxes

Top Priorities: Social Insurance and Taxes

Expats working in Calgary benefit from a stable economy, beautiful natural surroundings, and a comprehensive social security system. Nevertheless, there are a number of things you need to look out for in regard to working in Calgary. The InterNations Guide tells you more about these issues, from permits to taxes.

Canada offers quite a comprehensive social security system financed through taxes, mandatory schemes, and private savings. However, expats who are working in Calgary for only a limited amount of time will not necessarily be able to enjoy all existing benefits. Regardless of what benefits you are eligible for, make sure to check for Social Security Agreements between your new and old home in order to not miss out.

To start working in Calgary and to access social security programs and benefits, expatriates will first need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) at their nearest Service Canada Office or via mail. For information on healthcare and health insurance, please read on in our Relocation Guide on Living in Calgary.

Important: Employment Insurance Schemes

Canada’s Employment Insurance (EI) system is funded through mandatory contributions made by both the employee and the employer. This insurance provides benefits in the case of unemployment through no fault of the unemployed person, maternity or parental leave, an inability to work due to injury or sickness, or the need to care for a gravely ill family member. For 2017, the employee’s EI premium was set at 1.63% of one’s salary, with the maximum annual contribution set at around 985.03 CAD.

Expats working in Calgary for certain industries are further insured through Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). This provincial employment insurance is financed through mandatory premiums paid by employers and functions as liability and disability insurance.

Keeping the Future in Mind: Public Retirement Plans

The Canadian social security system includes a two-component public retirement plan. The Old Age Security Pension (OAS) is a tax-funded pension intended to cover the basic needs of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have lived in Canada for at least a decade. This pension is provided to those aged 65 or older and functions independently from a person’s employment history.

The OAS is further supplemented with the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), which is funded by contributions from both the employer and employee. Pensions and benefits covered by this plan include the regular retirement pension, post-retirement benefits, disability benefits, as well as survivor benefits.

How High Are the Tax Rates in Alberta?

Personal Income Tax Rates

At the time of writing in 2017, the federal income tax rate was as follows for the different income brackets:

  • 25% on the first 45,916 CAD of taxable income +
  • 30.5% on the next 45,916 CAD of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over 45,916 CAD and up to 91,831 CAD) +
  • 36% on the next 49,185 CAD of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over 91,831 CAD and up to 126,625 CAD) +
  • 38% of taxable income between126,625 CAD and 142,325 CAD.

Additionally, a flat provincial income tax of 10% applies for the province of Alberta. Any changes of the tax legislations in Alberta can be followed on the website of the Alberta Treasury Board and Finance.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Canada has a federal tax of 5% on goods and services. Contrary to a few other Canadian provinces such as Ontario and Nova Scotia, Alberta does not, however, levy an additional provincial tax on these. As such, expats in Calgary can expect to encounter just the 5% GST on their bills.

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