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Types of Employment

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is the nationally accepted reference on occupations in Canada. It organizes over 40,000 job titles into 500 occupational group descriptions. Jobs are classified into 9 professional groups that are each subdivided into 5 skill levels. You can conduct an alphabetical search of occupations in the NOC

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), in partnership with Statistics Canada, update the NOC according to 5-year Census cycles. Revisions are based on extensive occupational research and consultations conducted across the country, reflecting the evolution of the Canadian labour market. They provide descriptions of job duties and responsibilities for a wide variety of occupations.

For temporary foreign workers it is important to identify what skill level your job falls into. Only those in 0 Management, Skill level A, and Skill level B will qualify as Work Experience if you apply for Permanent Residency in the future.

Employment arrangement types

It is important to understand that different types of employment exist in Canada within any given field. When applying for a job, or accepting a job offer, be sure that you are clear into which type of employment you are entering. If you need further information or clarification, be sure to ask or research the position. Knowing your rights at work is an important step to protecting your rights. Workers’ Action Centre in Toronto provides helpful information on your rights at work.

Jobs are classified as:
  • Permanent (full time or part time)
  • Contract (full time or part time)
  • Freelance
  • Self-employed
  • Casual labour
  • Temporary employment (seasonal or interim)
  • Piece work
  • Independent contractor
  • Commission
Permanent Employment
You have been hired for an indeterminate time period to fill a position. Your job will be perpetual until you transition to a different role internally, to a different organization, or you are laid off or ‘fired’ from your role.

Full time employment
Characteristics of full time employment include:
  • Specific hours, typically 40 hours per week (8 hours/day and 5 days/week)
  • Generally a specific location
  • A specific job title with assigned duties and responsibilities
  • Regular payment periods (typically bi-weekly, but can be weekly or monthly as well)
  • Generally paid vacation time
  • Some full-time positions have benefits (health and dental care)
  • Compensation for business-related expenses
  • The employer makes deductions for income tax, employment insurance, etc.
Part time employment
Part time employment is similar to full-time employment. The main difference is that the amount of hours you typically work is less than 40 hours/ week, typically 20 or fewer hours/week. Characteristics of part-time employment can include:
  • Irregular hours, which may vary on a weekly basis
  • Generally a specific location
  • A specific job title with multiple responsibilities that may vary as per company need
  • Regular payment periods (typically bi-weekly)
  • Paid vacation time
  • The employer makes deductions for income tax, employment insurance, etc.
  • May or may not offer benefits
The main difference between contract and permanent employment is the length of period for which you have been hired. This can vary from a month to six months, or a year. Characteristics of both, full time and part time, contract employment are:
  • Specific hours
  • Generally a specific location
  • A specific job title with assigned duties and responsibilities
  • Regular payment periods (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly)
  • Taxes may or may not be deducted by the employer and, in some cases, you will have to pay your own taxes
  • There is no guarantee that a contract will be renewed, but it is a possibility
Freelancers typically work on projects smaller than people who are hired on contract, although this is not a rule. Characteristics of freelancing can include:
  • Working with multiple contracts/employers simultaneously
  • Working from home
  • Scheduling your own hours
  • Negotiating your pay rates
  • Payment is based on deliverables
  • Tax payments are your responsibility
It includes doing freelance, contract work, or owning your business. Characteristics of self-employment include:
  • Choosing the projects you work on
  • Irregular and unstable hours
  • Negotiating your pay rates
  • Tax payments are your responsibility
Casual labour / Independent Contractor / Temp Agency Worker / Consultant
Casual labour employment is a job you do on an irregular basis, as needed. Characteristics are:
Temporary Employment
Temporary Employment refers to a situation where the employee is expected to leave the employer within a certain period of time.
  • Seasonal employment 
    • Employers hire seasonal staff to fill a particular need that is generally not expected to last more than a few weeks or months. The timeline is usually set out at beginning. Students and others with structured obligations often enjoy the fixed time period of these jobs, as it allows them to earn money when their schedules permit without having to commit to year-round availability. Seasonal employment can be both full and part time. 
    • Examples of seasonal employment include retail jobs in December, hospitality, tourism, construction and agricultural jobs in the summer.
  • Interim 
    • Interim employment refers to positions that are available during a specific period of time to cover for the position of the permanent employee. The most common type of interim employment is when an employee takes maternity leave and the organization needs someone to fill in this position while the staff member is away. Characteristics of this type of job include: 
    • A detailed contract with duties and responsibilities 
    • Employment for a specific time period
Piece work / Homeworkers

Piece workers are employees who do paid work out of their own homes for an employer (such as online research, preparing food for resale, sewing, telephone soliciting, manufacturing, word processing). Independent contractors are not homeworkers under the Employment Standards Act.

This refers to jobs in which you get paid on commission, generally on top of a base salary or hourly wage (some exceptions may apply). The amount of money you earn depends ultimately on how much you are able to sell or how many clients you are able to sign up to a program. This is typically seen in the financial industry, auto or real estate sales.

*** Probation period Most jobs hire you under a conditional probation period. This means that for the first 3-6 months, the employer can legally terminate your employment without giving you notice and for any reason. When receiving a job offer you should inquire how long the probation period is.

Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

The Occupational Health & Safety Act sets out the rights and duties of workers, supervisors, employers and others for safe and healthy workplace.

As a worker, you have the right to:
•      Know about workplace hazards
•      Refuse unsafe work
•      Participate in addressing workplace health and safety issues
Some examples of employer duties are to:
•      Provide basic health and safety awareness training to workers and supervisors
•      Provide information, instruction and supervision to workers on how to work safely
•      Do everything reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers from being hurt or getting a work-related illness.
There are a series of training tools to help you learn how to work safely – several available in different languages at
For more information:, email:, or call: Health and Safety Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-202-0008
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