Top 11 Survival Jobs in Canada

OCT 24, 2022



The most famous and richest people today have all had survival jobs in Canada at some point in their lives. Jim Carrey worked nights as a janitor cleaning an Ontario warehouse. Rachel McAdams worked at McDonald's in Ontario for three-years. Ryan Reynolds delivered newspapers for the Vancouver Sun. 

Survival jobs are especially popular among students, young people looking for work experience, and newcomers to Canada who didn’t secure a job prior to their arrival. It’s fairly easy to get hired and for many, it serves as a means to an end.  In this post, we reveal the top 11 survival jobs and their wages, the 5 benefits of working in a survival job for newcomers, and how they can apply for one! 

What is a Survival Job?

As the name suggests, it’s the type of job that allows you to pay your bills and get by without any fancy trimmings. Unlike career jobs, survival jobs typically pay minimum wage or slightly above and have an ongoing demand for workers due to high employee turnover. You don’t need higher education to secure a survival job but at the same time, it doesn’t offer a lot of advancement opportunities. For example, a restaurant server may be promoted to floor manager in some instances.  

Top 11 Survival Jobs in Canada

Uber eats_delivery on bicycle From the mouths of real newcomers to Canada, these are the best and easiest jobs to get if you need to start earning money and make a living quickly. You may need to invest in some survival jobs before you can apply. For example, Uber drivers need drivers licenses and cars.
Top 11 Survival Jobs in Canada
Survival Job Lowest to Highest Wage Per Hour (Source: Neuvoo)
1. Warehouse worker $16 - $20 
2. Server $50 - $100 per shift
3. Sales representative (promotions)  $24.38 - $42.11
4. Call centre agent $12.50 - $21.60 
5. Uber driver $19.50 - $20.50
6. Gas station clerk $12 - $18
7. Receptionist $14 - $25.64
8. Security guard $15-$18 
9. Dog walker $11.75 - $37.40
10. Gardener $14 - $32.30
11. Au-Pair / Child Caregiver  $23 -$31

5 Benefits of Survival Jobs for Newcomers in Canada

Waiter serving a group of girls

1. Adapting to Canadian culture

Think of a survival job as a gradual introduction to Canadian culture. Take the time to become familiar with the nuances, traditions, and habits of the locals. Not only will it help you make new friends and connections but it will help you build confidence and improve the way you communicate and present yourself in future interviews when you’re ready to move onto bigger things. 

 2. Gain Canadian work experience 

It’s a popular notion that employers in Canada prefer to hire foreign nationals with Canadian work experience. While this is not always the case, it does help to have local references that are easy to get a hold of when applying for jobs in Canada. It’s important that your references can attest to your work ethic and character. Volunteering and survival jobs are the easiest ways to gain work experience in Canada. 

3. Paying your bills while you're on the hunt

Not everyone finds the job of their dreams as soon as they arrive on Canadian soil. Good things take time. You may have to apply for a few jobs and sign-up for recruitment agencies for professional help. This process can take one, two, or even three months. But that doesn't mean you shouldn’t pay your bills while you're on the job hunt. Most survival jobs have flexible hours that allow you to earn a steady flow of income while attending interviews during the day and work night shifts, for example.  

4. Getting a foot in the door

A survival job is a great method to get your foot into the company. It’s easier for a company to recruit internally than outsourcing talent. For this reason, working in an entry-level job can increase your chances to prosper and develop into a better working individual and help you to achieve your ultimate goal through patience and hard work. 

5. Learning new skills

The survival job you are hired for may be light years apart from what you actually want to do but it can help you hone skills that will be useful when you find a job that’s a better fit. Even more, adding relevant soft skills such as adaptability and flexibility to your resume backed by real results will impress any hiring manager. 

How to Find a Survival Job in Canada?

Students: Online Courses in 2020 Counts Towards Your Post- Graduate Work Permit

 Friends and connections

Word-of-mouth is still a powerful method of finding a job. Reach out to your circle of friends and ask them about any opportunities they may know about such as employee referral programs or tips and advice that could point you in the right direction. 

 Job websites

Thousands of survival jobs are listed on major job websites such as and Monster Canada. It’s easy and free to create a profile, upload your resume, and apply for jobs. The only downside is that competition may be fierce, so prepare for a few rejections. 

Enquiring in-person 

Unless it clearly states on a poster board in a window that there are no jobs available, there’s nothing wrong with going to the company and enquiring about a job. For example, you can drop by a restaurant or construction site to ask if more help is needed. If luck is on your side, you get offered a job on the spot or you may walk-out with an email address to send your resume or be put on a waiting list. 

Reach out to ex-pat communities

Whether you’re from India, Ukraine, or China - there are ex-pat communities in Canada whose mission it is to help newcomers settle in the country. Let your community know that you’re looking for a job and they’ll be sure to utilize all their resources to help get you started. 

Not in Canada Yet? We Can Help

Visa application on a Ipad If you want to work in Canada you need to get authorization from the Canadian government, i.e work permit or earn permanent residency. There are over 100 immigration and visa programs available in Canada that you may qualify for.  Multidimensional-Consulting (MDC) is a certified visa and immigration agency situated in Vancouver, Canada. We specialize in assisting foreign nationals to navigate their way through the intricate Canadian visa and immigration system by handling the entire process on their behalf.  Our RCICs are registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and are legally permitted to assist you by evaluating your eligibility, reviewing all documentation, and submitting it to the Canadian government.  Don't risk your chances of living your Canadian dream. Let us make sure that all forms are completed correctly and sent in on time. Simply fill out our application form to receive your assessment today and take one step closer to a better life in Canada.