Job Hunting in Canada on a different level

I traveled via bus to the job placement agency for immigrants twice so far. My head exploded at the fact that I had to swallow my pride and ask for help from a government funded non-profit organization designed to help job hunters who aren’t fluent in English.


I was lucky that the agency did not turn me down, since in order to participate in their program, the applicant has to be either a permanent resident or have a work permit.  I was appointed a career coach and felt lucky in the sense that I never had one (something overpaid career consultants advise clients to get). The career coach (who has a PhD in Business Administration from his home country) was very helpful in trying to match my skills with the current Albertan job market, as well as giving pointers on how to make my resume more “Canadian”.

<I internally screamed>

After regaining my senses, my career coach complemented me on my English and asked me to consider volunteering to help immigrants pass their English exams. It seems that there are a lot of professionals (engineers, doctors, mechanics, etc) who arrive in Canada ready to share their knowledge only to find obstacles that prevent them from getting hired in the first place. I accepted since the homeless shelters I applied to volunteer for didn’t want me.

I attended a Canadian Workplace Workshop at the agency and witnessed the obstacles the immigrants encountered first-hand: Western culture shock, workplace etiquette they were baffled by : not being able to wear perfume at work,  the importance of being pro active in asking questions to your boss about the work and short work contracts. The sad part of all of this was the instructor kept asking me if these same things I’ve encountered while working in the US. The more I answered the instructor’s questions, the more I realized I am already prepared to enter this new workforce (and received a cold shoulder from the rest of the immigrants in the room).   The immigrants at the workshop voiced their complaints of their treatment while trying to do business with Canadians. I felt bad for them, but even Cutie and I had a hell of a time just trying to get settled here, regardless of English proficiency.

The only useful thing I got out of the workshop was a list of Canadian slang words based on the regions and provinces. Here’s a few examples:

Ginch: Northern British Colombian word for underwear.

Gotch: Southern Albertan word for underwear

A Social: A Manitoba social gathering for a large group of people usually held at a community centre

Toon Town: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The ‘Couv: Vancouver, B.C.

Caisse populaire: Co-operative banks or credit unions found mostly in Quebec

Rink Rat: Someone who spends too much time at a skating rink.

The Rock: Newfoundland

ByTown: Ottawa, Ontario

Hog Town: Toronto

EdmonChuck or Deadmonton: Edmonton, Alberta

Cow-Town: Calgary, Alberta

Run a message: Means to run an errand

Homo milk: Slang for homogenized milk or 3% milk. I have gotten strange stares in supermarkets every time I heard these words and started laughing.


Cannuk: Obvious reasons. I’ve encountered Canadians referring the US Citizens as “‘Muricans!” with horrible Southern accents. I don’t even bat an eye nor take offense when this happens, hence I don’t retaliate with this term no matter how angry I get.

Hoser: Word that describes the loosing hockey team who has to hose down the ice on the rink.

Newfie: Offensive to those from Newfoundland and Labrador

Frog, Pepsi, Pepper, Jean-Guy Pepper: Derogatory term for French Canadians by Western Canadians.

Square Head/ Tete carre: Derogatory term for Anglophone Canadians used in Quebec.

If I want to insult someone, the good-old fashioned insults will work just fine for me.  Calling someone a bitch, bastard, jerk, etc is universally derogatory, regardless of whom the person is from. So far I haven’t had to use any of them because hell, even the cops here are polite.  They aren’t even cops but “peace officers” because they don’t act like rejected yet suited up soldiers ready to spring into action.  Just keep this in mind should you ever cross the border.




  1. save. spend. splurge. · February 12, 2014

    Re: Workplace customs, I’m curious:

    “Not being able to wear perfume at work”

    Why does this baffle immigrants? Do they wear a lot of perfume at work normally? I find that stuff really strong for my nose and I can even get headaches from it.

    As for being proactive and so on.. I guess I can see that being a Western thing but I wouldn’t know, having grown up in this culture. It’s interesting to see what people consider “Western” or not.

    I did not know what Ginch or Gotch was however. All new to me.

    • arianaauburn12 · February 13, 2014

      It might be because in their home countries a lot of workers could not afford to drive to work in air conditioned cars. Driving without A/C in a warm climate forces you to wear perfume once you step foot in an office (that may or may not have A/C). I remember perfume as being part of hygiene requirements for all workers in the Tropics because it is considered an office taboo to stink, regardless of where you lived.
      The Gotch and Ginch term are new to me as well. Never heard anyone in a store mention or describe underwear using that word.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s