Moving to a new country has many challenges and many rewards. Newcomers to Canada bring a variety of stories and experiences to share; each of them unique. This section provides information and resource links about immigration status, language skills, credentials recognition and credit history. In 2010, about 5.8% of immigrants who had been in Canada for 10 to 30 years owned a private incorporated company with employees compared to 4.8% of Canadian-born. Also, about 10.8% of longer-term immigrants were self-employed and owned unincorporated businesses compared to 7.5% of Canadian-born. Source: Statistics Canada.
Your Language Skills
It is very important to be proficient in at least one of Canada’s official languages. If English or French is not your first language, taking language training can help improve your skills. In Saskatchewan, being proficient in English increases your chances at success. Having good English skills will help you communicate with your customers, employees, and suppliers, as well as arrange business deals or contracts.
There are several ways to assess language skills in Canada. The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) are one way to measure language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Permanent residents and Canadian citizens living in Saskatchewan can go to a Language Assessment and Referral Centre for an official CLB assessment.
Other language assessments include the TOEFL, IELTS and CELPIP. These exams may cost money.
Rate and Develop Your Language Skills
Find out your unofficial CLB score using the online CLB Assessment and write down your unofficial score: __ A score of 4 is recommended as a minimum for work in Saskatchewan. 7
Find resources and locations to upgrade your language skills on the Government of Saskatchewan’s Language Training webpage.
What kind of business do you wish to operate? Certain types of businesses must have a provincial license and meet professional standards. Professional services such as accounting, engineering, medicine, teaching, and law are provincially licensed and have professional standards. You may have to go through the foreign credentials recognition process if you want to start one of these types of businesses. Foreign credentials can show if you meet the minimum professional standards.
If you plan to offer a service that requires a professional license, it will be necessary to contact the professional association or regulatory body responsible for that profession. Depending on your occupation, you may need to meet certain requirements before going into that business.
Be sure to start the accreditation process as soon as possible! Depending on your profession, it could take quite some time to complete this step. You may want to contact the professional association that acts as a licensing body for your profession. A list of some of the most common professional associations can be found on this Saskatchewan Government website.
Determine if Your Occupation Requires a Special License
Use this Foreign Credential Recognition in Canada tool. If you do not have a professional license, you can still run a business if you employ licensed individuals to do the work. In this case, your role is limited to management.
Learn more about having your credentials assessed through the Government of Canada website. Contact the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Saskatchewan (ATIS) for help with document translation.
Establish a Credit History in Canada
You may have saved some cash to start your business, but at some point, you may need to purchase inventory from your suppliers, purchase equipment, host a website or lease space for your business. In many cases your credit will be checked, and you will need to use a Canadian credit card. Banks will review your personal credit history when you apply for small business loans. It is important to have a good personal credit history before you start your business.
Even if you had a very good credit history in your home country, you need to have a Canadian credit history. A Canadian credit history lets financial institutions and other lenders determine if you qualify for credit. Credit history from your home country will not be taken into consideration in Canada.
How You Can Start Building a Good Credit History
- Begin to build your credit history as soon as you arrive in Canada.
- Start small and build carefully.
- Apply to a bank or credit union for a credit card.
- Use the credit card to buy things that will build your credit history. It is best to pay the full monthly amount by the due date to avoid paying high interest fees and keep a good credit history.
- After getting the credit card, you can apply for overdraft protection on your bank accounts and small lines of credit. Be careful with credit. Borrowing fees and interest payments can be high.
Learn more about credit scores and credit reports from Equifax Canada.
Visit your bank and review your credit report with your banker. Your bank can help you get the right financial tools in place to keep a good credit score.