YOU HAVE QUESTIONS & WE HAVE ANSWERS!
Making the move to Canada to work at a ski resort can be stressful and confusing – especially if you aren’t sure where to start. Usually you have more questions than answers, which doesn’t really give you peace of mind.
On our Work Canada Winter Jobs programs there are so many things to consider; can I travel with a friend? (Yes you can!) Am I eligible for the visa? Will I get staff accommodation? What winter resorts will be at the Job Fair? When should I apply? What is included in the package? And so on… We recommend reviewing our Work Canada Winter Jobs FAQ below to learn more about the nitty gritty details of the program.
If we don’t answer your questions here just give us a call on 0800 700 705, or flick us an email here.
VISA & ELIGIBILITY FOR CANADA
Am I eligible?
Jobs are for the North American winter ski season, which start in late October through early December and last for around 5 months.
To be eligible you need to be able to leave New Zealand in November or early December and employers usually only hire applicants who can commit to 5 months of work.
You also need to be eligible for the New Zealand International Experience Canada (IEC) Visa. To be eligible you must satisfy in full the criteria listed below:
- Hold a New Zealand passport valid for at least two years at time of application (contact IEP for advice if your passport will expire within 2 years)
- Be aged between 18 to 35 years inclusive. (Your application must be submitted to Citizenship Immigration Canada before on your 36th birthday)
- Have no criminal convictions, including serious traffic offences. Minor offences may be admissible. If you have any convictions please contact the IEP office prior to application.
- Be travelling on a return or onward passage ticket, or show sufficient funds for onward passage
- Not have activated a Letter of Introduction for a previous NZWHP from the Canadian High Commission
- Provide documentary evidence on arrival in Canada of access to approximately CA$2,500 (i.e. traveller’s cheques, cash, current bank statements or term deposit certificates) to cover your initial support costs
- Have an insurance policy for the duration of your stay
When should I apply for a visa?
When you apply for the Work Canada Winter Jobs program we provide you with all the information you need to start the visa process, and also assist you with submitting your visa application. So as soon as you apply it is the right time to get the ball rolling! There is no disadvantage in sorting it out early as you have 12 months from the date of visa approval to activate your visa for a full 23 months in Canada.
Please note that before you can apply for your visa you will need to obtain a Ministry of Justice criminal record. The official Ministry of Justice processing time is 20 working days. We advise that you at least apply for your criminal record as soon as you apply to our program, even if you are not ready to submit your visa application. If you are considering going to Canada but won’t be able to apply with us until close to the Job Fair then it might be a good idea to get your criminal record in advance, so you won’t have a big delay before you can apply for the visa closer to your departure.
Once you have submitted your visa normal processing time is 8 weeks until approval. If you have any criminal, medical or background issues the processing time can be considerably longer – contact us with details of your situation for advice.
Can I interview with your employers if I don't have a visa yet?
As long as you are eligible for a working holiday visa to Canada and are either in the process of getting your visa or planning to apply right after your interview then that is fine. The employers do like to know you already have the visa sorted though, and given the time involved in applying for the visa we recommend you apply well before the Job Fair.
If you have any criminal or background issues you must obtain the visa before the Job Fair.
Do I need to be able to ski or snowboard to go on Work Canada Job Fair?
No! In fact this could be a great opportunity for you to learn during your time off. Some jobs will require you have to have a certain skiing ability, such as Lift Operators or Instructors, but the majority don’t require any ski/boarding skills.
Do I need work experience to get a job?
The employers that we work with come to New Zealand because of the hard work and enthusiasm that kiwis bring to their resorts. Attitude is everything and personality is worth just as much as direct experience in these roles. In saying that, it is valuable to have a CV that demonstrates that you have transferable skills from past employment that will help at the resort. There is no need to have actually worked at a ski resort before.
If you have not had any jobs before then you will probably find it difficult to be placed at the job fair. We recommend that you find employment in NZ (part-time if studying is fine) to improve your skill set and help show off your employability!
Can I apply if I'm at university?
If this is your last year at university then it is a perfect time to plan a working adventure overseas! However if you are planning on returning to study you must be willing to work the entire 5 month ski season in Canada. This may mean you’ll miss part of Semester 1 and will need to wait until Semester 2 to return to study.
If you are a current student our employers may request proof of deferment before offering you a job.
WORK CANADA WINTER JOBS
If I go on the program, what do I get?
With Work Canada Winter Jobs you get a job interview with two Canadian employers. They will advise on the day whether they are offering you a job. We guarantee a job offer or you get your program fee back.
PLUS All the benefits of Work Canada program.
Not only do you get a job sorted before you go but you also get all of the benefits of being on our fully supported Work Canada program. This means you get expert advice on visas, insurance and planning prior to departure, and you have access to the resources of SWAP (our Canadian partner organisation) while you are in Canada.
Before you leave we provide:
- Visa assistance for your Working Holiday Visa (23 months)
- Awesome pre-departure party
- Work Canada handbook full of invaluable advice
- General advice including budgeting
- Great flight deals through STA
- 15% off snow and ski gear at Snowcentre
When you arrive you receive:
- Two nights’ accommodation including breakfast
- Comprehensive orientation including employment, tax number and opening a bank account
- Free or subsidised ski pass
- Discounted ski rentals
- Subsidised housing and food
- Great resort staff events to kick start your Canadian social life
- Access to SWAP’s exclusive listings of jobs and employment contacts
- Free access to SWAP’s resources in Toronto, Vancouver, including computers and Internet, phone and fax
- Amazing social events where you can meet like-minded travellers
- Mail holding and re-direction
- 24 hour, 7 day support if something goes wrong!
When should I apply?
As soon as you are able! We assign interviews based on when people sign up to our program, which means first applicants get first choice over who they interview with. So the earlier you apply the more likely that you’ll get your preferred employer interviews and times!
Do I have to buy insurance through IEP?
Yes, this is an important part of our program. It is part of our agreement with the employers to make sure you are on a comprehensive insurance policy that covers both winter sports and working holidays. It is also compulsory that you have insurance for the entire duration of your stay when you enter Canada.
How do I find out more information?
How do I apply?
Once you are ready to apply just jump onto the online application. We will give you a call once your application is complete to have a quick 10 minute interview with you to get an idea of your plans and answer your initial questions. From there we will send you your first information email and the planning begins!
PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW
When & where are the interviews held?
Interviews are held in a central area of Auckland. The interviews for 2017 will take place on a weekend in late August 2017, exact dates TBC. You will need to be available to interview during either of these days in Auckland. Don’t worry though, we will ask for your time preference and let you know the interview times in advance so that you can get time off work or book flights!
What resorts are interviewing for 2018?
Our employers for 2018 are:
- Panorama Mountain Resort (BC)
- Whistler Four Seasons (BC)
- Big White (BC)
- Silver Star (BC)
- Asessippi (Manitoba)
- Marmot Basin (Jasper, AB)
- Sunshine Village (Banff, AB)
- Vista Ridge (AB)
When will I find out details of 2018 employers, positions and benefits?
Once we have received all of these details from the employers we collate them into the Work Canada Winter Jobs Handbook. We send this out to all participants closer to the interview booking stage to help you decide who you’d like to interview with. The following are examples of the types of jobs we have hired for in the past:
- Bar/wait staff
- Custodial Engineer
- Check-in representative
- Lift attendant
- Rental attendant
- Receptionist/Front Desk
- Snow/ski Instructor
- Ticket sales
- Avalanche Control Technician
- Parking attendant
- Shop staff
- Ski patrol
- Mountain Maintenance
- Sleigh operator
- Boot fitter
- Room attendant
- Phone/radio operator
There are a great variety of positions on offer but please note that most vacancies are in the areas of lift attending, rentals/retail and hospitality.
Pay rates range from about Canadian $10-$16 per hour depending on whether the position also gets tips and the responsibility/skill involved in the job.
Can I interview with my friend/partner?
In the past we have had many couples and friends travel together on the Winter Jobs program. However we cannot absolutely guarantee that you will be placed at the same resort as all interviews are individual and the employers will be looking at hiring you based on your own merits. We will make sure that you are all scheduled in with the same employers – just let us know you are travelling with someone else. Our advice from there is to be extra flexible with the types of jobs you are willing to accept and remember that you will have at least two chances to get a match!
What happens if I'm not offered a job?
In this circumstance you will be offered a full program fee refund. Fortunately this situation is very rare! Please note that if you are offered a job but choose not to take it then you will not receive a refund.
Are a CV and references required?
Yes you will be required to provide an up to date CV, contact details of at least 2 references and 2 written references. The CV will need to be organised before the interview so that the employers can review your application. IEP will help out with templates and a CV review before the interviews.
What should I expect from the interview?
Canadian employment interviews are similar to interviews you may have had in NZ. You should be prepared to answer questions about yourself, your skills, experience and also your strengths and weaknesses. The interviews are formal and you should act professionally throughout. While ski resorts may be more casual workplaces than your average office you will still need to make an effort to dress nicely and show off your best manners!
Do I need to bring anything to the interview?
An extra copy or two of your CV and references are good to bring just in case! We will let you know if there are any extra requirements for your chosen employers closer to the interview.
Do I have to come to Auckland if I live elsewhere in NZ?
The employers are here to interview you in person so it will be necessary to come to Auckland to meet them.
Will I have the opportunity to meet other people on the program before we arrive at the resort?
Yes definitely! We recognise that it is much easier to arrive in a new country with a familiar face or two so we do organise ways for you to meet other participants.
First of all, the Job Fair is a great time to meet other participants for the first time. We find that people are eager to meet others interviewing for the same resort. This year we’ll be organising a social event at a nearby Auckland pub on the Saturday night of Job Fair. If it is anything like last year then it will be a big night – just don’t come too thirsty if you end up with an interview on the Sunday morning! If you are coming up from out of Auckland for the interviews then make sure you are here for this as it may be your easiest opportunity to meet everyone before departure.
Group flights are also on offer through the friendly Katrina at STA Travel. She negotiates the rates for peak flight dates in advance so the fares are great deals even if you are booking closer to departure. On the group flights you’ll be travelling with a bunch of other participants who are starting work at a similar time to you. In conjunction with the group arrival dates we also have fun transport package run by Moose Travel. This is a great opportunity to ride with the rest of the IEP group to your resort over a few days, seeing some sights and having a bit of a party on the way!
LIFE IN CANADA
What happens when I first get to Canada?
As part of the IEP Winter Jobs program you get two free nights at a central Vancouver hostel conveniently located close to your SWAP support office. Your first stop the next morning will be to SWAP for your orientation! In your orientation you’ll learn all that you need to know in order to have a successful working holiday and get help applying for your Canadian SIN (tax) number and bank account. After orientation the next step is up to you! You’ll probably find yourself sightseeing in Vancouver, jumping on the Moose Transfer, making your way to your resort or sitting in the SWAP office asking lots of questions and using their internet to update Facebook and make all your friends jealous!
How long will I be working at my resort and how many hours will I work?
This is negotiated between you and the employer, however the usual minimum term is 5 months, or the duration of the ski season. These positions are seasonal so, to some degree, your hours depend on the snow. The majority of our positions are full time seasonal roles, working 30-40 hours per week.
Your hours will be made clear to you when you are offered a job so it won’t be a surprise. You will probably find that if the snow isn’t falling then work will be slow and you can expect to work fewer hours. On the flipside, during busy times and on holidays there may be the opportunity for overtime! We recommend having some back up savings for emergencies and to put aside some wages from the super busy weeks to tide you over if you have some slow weeks.
Are there any special uniform/grooming requirements on the job?
Once you accept your job you’ll be informed of any special uniform requirements by your employer. In general it is a good idea to make sure you can bring black shoes, pants and a white shirt for indoor positions as a base for the uniform. For outdoor positions you will usually be provided with the outer layers you need to survive in the snow, but it is a very good idea to bring plenty of warm layers to wear underneath.
Each resort is a little bit different but they all expect tidy and wholesome grooming. You may need to cut off dreads or dye your hair a natural colour if you have a more alternative style. Piercings may or may not be suitable for their policies depending on how visible they are. At the interview they will let you know if there are any special requirements that you need to know about
How will I get to work?
This depends on your resort and accommodation situation. Common ways of getting to work are catching public transport or walking/catching a shuttle from your staff or private accommodation. You should not need to buy a car while you are over there as many of the resort staff will be temporarily living in the area like you and there is infrastructure in place for staff without personal transport.
Where will I live?
Many of the resorts we work with offer accommodation for staff. This type of accommodation is usually close to the workplace with shared apartments or houses. The price for this is generally cheaper than renting privately and it will be deducted from your wages automatically. The price of the accommodation depends on the location and other factors like whether or not you share your bedroom.
Another popular option is to band together with other staff, or IEP patricipants to rent a house for the season. Your employer will give you information about where to start in finding local properties. There is also no reason why you can’t find a room in an already established flat with other staff or even locals!
Will I get any benefits around the resort?
All of our employers offer benefits to their employees above and beyond your wage. The benefits differ from employer to employer but all offer a free or discounted season ski pass. It is also common to get discounts on lessons, gear and rentals and food around the resort. Some even offer free snacks or hot drinks while you are on your shift! Social events and staff parties are part of the resort experience and you will probably find your mountain has agreements with other nearby mountains so that you can ski there for free as well!
What happens after the winter season ends?
With IEP you get support for the full 23 months of your visa so there is no reason to finish your OE just yet! Our Canadian partner organisation SWAP have offices in Vancouver and Toronto. If you are thinking of heading to a different part of Canada to work out the summer then consider hitting the SWAP office on your way. They have job resources and listings that will help you to find work. They are only a phone call or email away if you can’t make it to an office.
There may also be opportunities for summer work at your resort if you prove yourself to be a fantastic worker and express your interest in staying on. It is common in Canada for the ski mountains to turn into summer activity playgrounds once the snow melts so if there are opportunities available it can be a fun job for outdoorsy types.