Have you ever met a Canadian you didn’t like? The warm, friendly locals are just one of the many reasons why people choose to live and work in this vast country. The second-largest country in the world, you might be surprised to know that Canada is actually 30% larger than Australia, though the temperature is a bit different! In winter, the average temperature in Ottawa is -14.4 C (6.1 F), but there are areas where it gets much, much colder. A large part of Canada is untouched by civilization, and so if you love getting out in the great outdoors and experiencing some true peace and quiet (and masses of snow), this is the location for you.
It’s not just jaw-dropping mountains and impressive vistas that Canada has to offer. Toronto is a big, cosmopolitan city, where around 50% of the population are immigrants (predominantly speaking Cantonese, Punjabi, Italian, Chinese, Tagalog, Spanish and Urdu). Vancouver is another vibrant city, where fewer than 50% of people living there speak English as a first language. In Montreal, 70% of people speak French at home, 17% speak another foreign language, and only 14% of people speak English as their first language. So as you can see, there are countless opportunities for teaching English in Canada, whether to the Francophone locals or the plentiful immigrants who make this beautiful country their home. If you so happen to speak a bit of French, you’ll have no trouble in finding work in Canada.
Teach English Online in Canada
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many language schools in Canada have shifted their lessons online, and some have decided to continue proving lessons in this way. This means that there are even more options when it comes to finding online teaching work in Canada, as you aren’t bound by your geographical location. There are a vast number of potential TEFL students in Canada, despite it being an English-speaking country, so if this is your current time zone, you’ll have plenty to choose from.
Picking up some online teaching is a great way to supplement your income if you can only find part-time or casual work in Canada, and you can fit in the online lessons around your regular commitments. Online teaching is a great way to make a bit of money if your primary reason for being in Canada is volunteering as an English teacher, or if you’re having a working holiday. Quite a lot of TEFL jobs in Canada are part-time or casual contracts, so looking into doing some teaching online is a great idea if you want a more stable income. Start your research before you travel and you can hit the ground running.
While there is a big market for TEFL teachers in Canada, if you’re teaching online, you don’t have to limit yourself to finding students in the same country as you. Supplement your income by finding work on a TEFL platform anywhere in the world to find students at a time of day to suit you. When teaching online, you can find students on a freelance basis (which usually pays more, but requires more work from you) or you can apply to work for an established school that will find students for you, and might even provide your lesson materials.
Volunteer in Canada
With a large immigrant population and parts of the country where people speak French as their first language, there are ample opportunities for volunteering as an English teacher in Canada. The beauty of this country and it’s fun, cosmopolitan vibe are an understandable lure for the backpacker in search of adventure, and if you’d like to gain some teaching experience while you’re there, you won’t struggle to find work.
The TESOL Ontario website has a volunteer job board where you can search for current positions. Some positions are for a regular commitment, such as one or two mornings a week for the length of a term. These positions will normally see you hosting conversation classes with new arrivals to Canada who want to improve their English. There are also more sporadic volunteering opportunities, such as working with the Hospitality Workers Training Centre to run mock interviews for those hoping to work in the sector.
Cuso International seeks volunteers for educational programs in Canada.
ELTOC volunteers in Ottawa must be at least 18 years old, fluent English speakers, and have availability for 2-3 hours per week for at least 10 months. Volunteers are matched with a student for one-to-one lessons, many of whom are migrants new to the country.
The City Volunteer Canada Program covers a range of volunteering activities, including education.
If you want to find out more about volunteering as a TEFL teacher, read our handy guide.
TEFL jobs in Canada
As an English-speaking country, there is competition for work from local English teachers, who of course already have the right to work in Canada. As a foreigner, it can be tricky to get a work visa for Canada, even if you’re experienced and highly qualified as a TEFL teacher. One way to get into the country might be to enter on a Working Holiday Visa, available to those aged 18-35 from a number of different countries. Once you’re in the country, it will be easier to find out about jobs and travel for in-person interviews, putting you on par with local applicants.
When looking for work, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal are usually the best places to find a multitude of TEFL opportunities, but any big city should be able to offer positions at most times of the year. Most jobs will pay by the hour and might only offer short term contracts. As such, to make ends meet, a lot of TEFL teachers take on private students in their free time. With such a large immigrant population, you won’t struggle to find private students. For more experienced TEFL teachers, or those who are skilled in another language (particularly French) there will be opportunities to apply to some of the best bilingual and international schools in Canada.
Access English caters for kids, teens, and adults, promoting small classes and great teachers. General English, Test Preparations classes and more.
Brentwood College School is one of Canada’s best boarding schools.
Birmingham International Collegiate of Canada promotes interactive, creative teaching. They teach IELTS, run summer camps, and a number of other programs.
Camp Canada looks for summer staff who are aged 19-30, who are current students or intend to study within one year of the Camp Canada experience. You don’t need any special qualifications or experience. Camp students are aged 6-16.
English Encounters is in Burlington, Ontario. Courses include Business English, Exam Preparation and Intensive English Courses.
ILAC operates in Vancouver and Toronto. They seek talented ESL teachers with experience in delivering in person and online classes. You need a BA degree, a TEFL certificate and teaching experience.
The Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) provides free English classes to immigrants and refugees in Canada. They have both paid positions and voluntary roles for native English speakers.
Find a job in Nova Scotia by searching on the Nova Scotia School Boards page.
The Odyssey Program seeks language assistants for bilingual, paid work experience. You work 25 hours per week and receive a taxable salary of $25,000 CAD for a nine-month work term. Available for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada with first language English or French.
Oxford House is a top-rated language school with branches in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. They offer courses in IELTS Examination Preparation, CELTA Cambridge Examination, English for Business Success, and more.
TESOL Ontario has a jobs board on their website (as well as listing voluntary positions) including both casual and full-time roles. There are often roles for IELTS examiners so if you have experience teaching IELTS, this would be a bonus.