Find a Survival Job - a Short-Term Solution

When you first come to Canada, you may need to take a survival job. We really, really don't advise you to keep such a job, or to try to build a career on it. But there's no doubt that a survival job can help pay the bills for a little while, until you get your career back on track. And it can also give you the chance to practice your English, learn about Canadian culture, meet new people - and get Canadian experience.

Here are some resources to help you find a survival job... a short-term, temporary stepping-stone to your career success.

Coffee Shops: These links go to the employment pages of the biggest chain coffee shops in Canada; they’re always in need of people.

Tim Hortons

Coffee Time

Robin's Donuts


Second Cup

Fast-Food Restaurants: Working at these chain restaurants is another classic survival job, which is why they are always hiring new people.




Burger King


Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Pizza Pizza

Pizzaville (Ontario)

Pizza Nova (Ontario)

Domino’s Pizza

Little Caesar’s Pizza

Pizza Hut

Firkin Pubs

Dairy Queen


Cara Food Services - Swiss Chalet/ Harvey’s/ Montana’s Cookhouse/ Kelsey’s/ Milestones Grill & Bar

Janitorial Services: This job, cleaning office buildings and institutions, is not a fun job, though it has the advantages of providing physical activity. There are too many janitorial companies in Canada to list here, so we’ve provided links to janitorial job listings on major Canadian job-hunting websites. Unfortunately, some janitorial companies have gained a reputation for not paying their newcomer employees fairly. Do some research before you take a janitorial job – find out what janitors are being paid in your area, and make sure the company you apply to pays fairly.

Simply Hired Canada



Job is Job Canada

Maid Services/ Home Cleaning Services: This job involves cleaning houses and apartments, rather than buildings. It’s still a dirty job, and one you won’t want to keep for very long. These links go to major maid-service chains across Canada.

Molly Maid

Premier Canada Maid Service

Merry Maids

Maid Brigade (Alberta, BC, Ontario)

Canada Best Cleaners

Window Cleaning: Hanging by ropes high in the air may be a thrill, but window-washing isn’t most people’s idea of a progressive career. Do some research on the internet and make sure the company you apply to has a good safety record.

Again, there are so many window cleaning companies in Canada that we can’t list them all. To find window cleaning services in your area online, go to the Yellow Pages and search for “Window Cleaning Service” in your city or town. Here are links to two of the largest window-cleaning companies in Canada:

College Pro Window Cleaning and Painting (employs students in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario)

Men In Kilts Window Cleaning (BC, Alberta)

Stock Clerk/ Cashier: Canada’s grocery and drugstore chains always need people for these positions – they’re typical survival jobs.

Loblaws/ Fortinos/ Valu-Mart/ Independent/ Zhers/ SaveEasy/ Maxi/ Extra Foods/ Superstore/ No Frills/ PRovigo/ Wholesale Club/ Club Entrepot/ Les Entrepots Presto/ T&T Supermarket/ Osaka Supermarket

Metro/ Super C/ Marche Richelieu/ Les 5 Saisons/ Food Basics/ Distagro/ Brunet/ Drug Basics Pharmacy (Ontario, Québec)

Sobeys/ IGA/ Foodland/FreshCo/ Price Chopper/ Lawtons Drugs

Shoppers Drug Mart

Rexall/ Rexall Pharma Plus