Working

Vernon is one of the most economically diverse communities in British Columbia. Employment is generated from a growing professional services sector, the traditional resource sectors of forestry and agriculture, as well as the tourism, technology, manufacturing, retail and service sectors.

Major employers in Vernon and the North Okanagan include:

Government and Education

Agriculture, Forestry, Manufacturing and Technology

  • Acutruss
  • Alpine Spa Covers
  • AVS Systems
  • Davison Orchards
  • Epicor
  • Hytec (division of Kohler)
  • Kingfisher Boats
  • Marten Brewing/Naked Pig
  • Maxx Canada
  • Okanagan Spring Brewery
  • Okanagan Spirits
  • Piscine Energetics
  • PRT
  • Rapid Span
  • Rogers Foods
  • tekmar Control Systems
  • Tolko Industries
  • Universal Packaging
  • Vernon Morning Star
  • Woodtone

Corporate and Regional Offices

Retail

  • Canadian Tire
  • Home Depot
  • Real Canadian Superstore
  • Walmart

Tourism          

  • Atlantis Waterslides
  • Predator Ridge Resort
  • Silver Star Resort       
  • Sparkling Hill Resort
  • Vernon Lodge
Job Search

There are many online job boards that can be searched by type of job and location.  WorkBC  offers a job board with thousands of jobs in the province as well as tips for successful searching.   Information on using the job search site is available in more than a dozen languages.  

The WorkBC Job Centre in Vernon is located at 3105 33rd Street, in the Community Futures Development Corporation - North Okanagan office. 

If you are arriving from outside of Canada to work, learn more about the documents you will need to present and how to obtain a social insurance number from the federal government's website.  

Self-Employment or running your own business can be a good way to earn income.  Vernon and the Okanagan Valley is known as one of the most entrepreneurial regions in BC.

Self-employed newcomers are encouraged to take advantage of business support services and opportunities to meet other entrepreneurs and make connections within the business community.

For more information, contact Community Futures,  Nexus BC, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Vernon Association or the City of Vernon’s Economic Development Department.

Finding employment with a business or organization is another good option.  Working in BC may be different from working in another province or country. It is important that you become familiar with what employers might expect here.

Without Canadian work experience, it can take longer to find work, but you can gain some experience by volunteering in your preferred line of work.  There is a directory of volunteer opportunities  and information online at NexusBC.  Talking to people and getting to know them informally can also be very helpful in finding a job.  More detailed information for immigrants seeking work is provided below. 

New to Canada - How to Find Work?

There are number of steps to finding suitable employment in Canada.  If you are new to Canada, these tips may be especially helpful.

Getting Started

 If you need help, with learning the language and finding employment, contact the Vernon and District Immigrant and Community Services Society (VDICSS).  They can help in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Ask employment counsellors at VDICSS to review your résumé and cover letter before you start handing them out. They will make sure you have included all the right information (work experience, education, references) and double check there are no grammatical errors. 
  • If all your references are international, try to find at least one or two Canadian references. You could ask a landlord, teacher, counsellor, or someone you volunteered with. 
  • VDICSS can also help with the process of evaluating your credentials, practising for interview, getting employment information, and more.

It isn’t always easy to get work right away and you may need to apply for several jobs before being called for an interview. Above all, be persistent and don’t give up too soon.

Getting an Interview

When you have applied for a job and an employer likes your application they will contact you and ask you to come for an interview. If you do not get an interview, it doesn’t always mean that you are not qualified – there can be many applicants for one position. Canadian companies will often give jobs to someone who already works for their company — called internal hiring. If you don’t get an interview, the company may not contact you at all. Don’t be discouraged; that is normal for Canadian companies because of the large number of applicants.

Before the Interview

  • Research the company: look at its website and make sure you know the company’s mission, goals, current projects, and any news about it.
  • Know the job posting you applied for thoroughly, what the qualifications are and how you meet them.
  • Do a practice (mock) interview with a counsellor at Vernon and District Immigrant and Community Services Society or a family member or friend.
  • Have a question or two ready to ask the interviewer – it can show you are serious about the position.
  • Go to the interview location the day before to make sure you know how to get there and how much time it will take.

The Interview

  • Don’t be late. Be at least 10 minutes early – this is very important in Canada.
  • Bring a copy (or a few copies) of your résumé and the cover letter that you submitted to the company; the interviewers may want them.
  • Bring a pen and paper to take notes during the interview.
  • Dress in clean clothes and wear a business suit if applying for an office job. If you don’t have one, wear what is considered professional in your country.
  • Be polite to everyone, especially the receptionist. Sometimes they will ask about you, and remember that smiling and eye contact can help make a good impression.
  • Shake hands with everyone who is interviewing you. In Canada it should be a firm handshake (using the right hand) that lasts about two seconds because a weak handshake may give the impression you are a weak worker. You should smile and make eye contact while shaking hands.
  • Be aware of your personal space: Canadians typically stay at least two feet away from someone.
  • Talk about what you are good at. An interview is the time to highlight your strengths and an employer wants to hear about how you would be an asset to the company.
  • Give examples of your experience to show your skills and don’t say something that isn’t true.
  • Do not criticize or talk poorly of previous employers or co-workers.

After the Interview

  • Follow up with a thank you phone call or email within a few days after the interview to thank the employer for the opportunity — if you make a good impression they may consider you for other job offers even if they do not hire you for this position.
  • You may not hear from the employer if you did not get the job.  In that case, it is appropriate to call the employer approximately 2 to 3 weeks after the interview, to ask if they have hired anyone and if they have any feedback on how you may have improved on the interview itself. 
Learning about Employees Rights

As an employee in Canada there are laws about hours of work, minimum wages and overtime pay, termination, maternity leave, and statutory holidays.  Additional information is available in a poster format for downloading as a reference.

Also, it is illegal for an employer to ask questions about race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, birthplace, age, or disability. If someone asks you one of these questions in an interview, it is your right to refuse to answer the question.
If you are hired as a temporary foreign worker, you are covered under the Employment Standards Act. Workers should not pay a fee for job placement.

Employers cannot require workers to stay for a set period, nor can they charge business or recruitment costs or deduct these costs from their employees’ pay cheques.  

For more information on BC labour laws, and if they apply to you, visit the BC Government's website or ask an employment counsellor.

Learning about Workplace Culture

Getting to know your workplace and co-workers takes time.  Here are some tips to help you more quickly understand common workplace etiquette and feel comfortable in your new environment. If you have questions, talk with a friend, neighbour, co-worker or employment counsellor. 

Opinions
Employers generally prefer it when you express your opinion about work-related issues to them directly. Asking questions shows the employer that you care and are interested in the job. Remain positive and helpful when giving suggestions.

Co-workers
Avoid asking questions about your co-workers’ personal lives. Do not ask about age, weight, height, marital status, salary, or family because it can make others feel uncomfortable. 

Honesty
If you cannot do something, be honest and say so. Ask for help from either management or a co-worker. Canadians appreciate honesty in the workplace to ensure safety and quality of work.

Language
Try not to use your native language with co-workers who speak the same language. Because others do not understand what you are saying, it can seem rude, and it can make it hard to form relationships.

Business Cards
Many people have a business card showing their place of employment. In Canada, people are informal about handing them out. Do not be offended if someone only glances at your business card before putting it away. 

Hours of Work
Usually you cannot choose the hours you work, and you must be present at work during the times your terms of employment specify. Do not be late! Being on time is very important in Canada.

Quitting
If you are leaving a job, it is normal practice to submit a letter of resignation at least two weeks before your last day of work.

Probationary Period
Most workplaces have a probationary period, which is usually the first three months in the job. During this time, the company decides whether you are suitable for the position, and you can decide if you want to continue with the company. 

Tax Deductions
Deductions from your paycheque include Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and income tax. These deductions go towards paying for services funded by the federal and provincial governments.

Unions
A union is a formal organization of workers who have joined together to protect their common interests and rights and to improve working conditions. Unions typically represent one place of employment (such as a retail store) or a specific type of worker (such as nurses). If your job is a union position, union dues are deducted from your paycheque and go towards paying for your member services in the union.