FAQ's for Hotels & Resort Placements in Canada
Where will I be placed?
In a hotel, resort or company in tourism communities throughout Canada. Some the resort communities in Western Canada that have hosted participants in the past are located within Banff, Jasper, Invermere, Lake Louise & Revelstoke. If you are interested in city placements, most opportunities will be within Vancouver.
What placements are available?
Placements are available in the Back of House, Kitchen, Food and Beverage, Maintenance, Guest Services, Retail and Front Office departments.
Can I specify a particular placement that I want to apply for?
You can tell us that you want to apply for a particular placement, however all placements have minimum requirements based on experience, education, the ability to undertake placement for a full season, personal grooming, additional languages spoken and general attitude. All candidates should expect to spend at least some time working in the house-keeping department even if you meet all the minimum requirements.
Please note: minimum requirements are for entry level positions within that department, even if you meet all the minimum requirements this does not guarantee that you will receive a placement in that department.
What are the key/peak seasons?
There are two key seasons, summer and winter. You have to be available to start at the beginning of the season and commit to stay the full season or longer. Winter runs from the start of December until mid/late April and the Summer Season runs anywhere from mid May – mid June and runs anywhere from late September to mid October.
What are the start dates
The start of the season is different for each company, so we ask that you are available to start anytime in the month of the start of the season. (see above)
What are the requirements for specific positions?
Back of house:
- Housekeeping, Laundry – Minimum Requirements: full season placement duration (about 5-6 months), experience preferred but not mandatory. Housekeeping experience required for 4 star hotels.
- Houseman – Minimum Requirements: 1 year placement, 6 months relevant work experience.
- Dishwasher; Minimum Requirements: full season (about 5-6 months), experience preferred but not mandatory.
- Kitchen helper, Food preparation; Minimum Requirements: minimum 6 month placement, at least 6 months relevant work experience and/or apprenticeship.
- Line cook – Minimum Requirements: 6 month placement, at least 1 year cook experience and/or apprenticeship.
- Third Chef, Sous Chef – Minimum Requirements: 1 year placement, at least 3-5 years relevant work experience including apprenticeship.
- Food and Beverage: Junior Server, Busser, Banquet Server – Minimum Requirements: minimum 5 month placement, 1 year relevant work experience and/or apprenticeship.
- Server, Hostess; Minimum Requirements: 1 year placement, at least 2 years relevant work experience.
- Fine Dining Server; Minimum Requirements: 1 year placement, at least 3 years relevant work experience
- General Maintenance, Grounds people, general trades, Common Area Cleaner: Minimum Requirements: 6 month placement, at least 6 months – 1 year relevant work experience.
- Ticket Checker, Ticket Seller, Boot & equipment fitter, Lift Attendant (advanced skier/ snowboarder), Spa and Pool Attendant (Must have lifeguard training), Information Desk – Minimum Requirements: minimum 5 month placement, must start at beginning of season, 2 years relevant or customer service experience, fluent French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese an asset.
- Retail: Travel Sales, Phone Sales, ski/snowboard/mountain bike/ golf equipment rentals, golf store sales, Cashier – Minimum Requirements: minimum 5 month placement, must start at beginning of season, 2 years relevant retail/ sales experience, fluent French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese an asset.
- Front of House: Reception, Front Desk Agent, Central Reservations, Night Audit – Minimum Requirements: 1 year placement, 2 years relevant hotel experience, fluent French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese an asset.
How can I increase my chances of not being placed in the back of house?
If you meet all the minimum requirements then the number one thing that employers are looking for is the length of your placement; the longer the better!
What hotels / resorts can I be placed at?
Our Canadian Partner works with over 40 hotels, resorts, or associated companies in more than 10 tourism communities. You can work at 3 and 4 star hotels, family owned hotels, ski resorts, mountain biking resorts and golf resorts. Note: Every property has individual minimum requirements, no matter what the position.
- 4 Star Properties: Minimum 6 month placements for any position (some 4 star properties will have minimum 9 month placements) – prefer 1 year placements.
- 3 Star and Family Owned Properties: Minimum Requirement 5 month placement – prefer 6 month minimum placement for anything in front of house.
How many hours per week will I work?
You are considered a seasonal full time employee which means that your hours are not guaranteed. Hours range from 10 – 50 hours per week however the average is approximately 30. You will be given a roster (that is subject to change) by your manager 1 or 2 weeks in advance of your shifts. You are expected to be available on the weekends and Public Holidays. Note: Our Canadian Partner and IWH are not responsible for hours because this industry sector is highly susceptible to seasonality and factors beyond its control such as exchange rates, snow conditions, airline traffic and so on. Although we try to ensure you will work for companies that support as many hours as possible this is still a risk taken on by every participant in the program.
How much money should I bring with me?
You should always have access to “start!up funds” during your first few weeks after you arrive. This is a regulation from Immigration as well since they don’t want you to end up in a bad situation and not be able to support yourself. This is also for your first weeks of accommodation, uniforms, mobile phone, etc, etc. before your first pay check. You should bring or have access to $2500.
How long am I expected to stay with the employer you place me in?
The minimum period is the full season (5-6 months) or as required by the company. The maximum is for as long as your work visa allows.
Can I ask for a promotion or advance in the company?
The first 3 months of your term with the host company are considered a probation period and you may not apply for any advancement or change of position. After 3 months you may apply for a change of position provided you meet the minimum requirements of the position you would like to apply for. Usually this is an additional 6 month commitment and you must receive a reference stating that you have not been late, absent or received any warnings for any reason from your current manager in order to be considered.
Can I go with a friend or partner?
Yes it is possible, but you also need to be sure you know this will be quite an intensive experience for your friendship; be sure you will get along.. We have a lot of success with friends/partners getting placements at the same hotel or in the same tourism community, however we can’t guarantee we will be able to place you together. Ultimately the decision is the interviewer’s and we cannot guarantee you will both receive a job offer. As we mentioned earlier, be flexible with your job options and we are confident we will be able to place you and your friends.
What if I am offered a placement I don't want?
Unfortunately if you are offered a valid placement and do not wish to accept it there are no refunds.
What if I accept the placement but do not like it?
You can write to our Canada partner office and explain the situation. If there is a valid reason for wanting to change locations that fall outside the scope of your contract (example; lack of safety in the work-place) then our Canada partner will follow up with the company to ensure that the reason for change is valid. If the reason is valid then placement search will begin. When a suitable placement has been found then our Canada partner will inform your current employer that you are giving two weeks notice. Only then can you move location. If the reason for the request for change is not valid then there will be no replacement.
What happens if I lose my placement or I am fired?
If you have an Open Working Holiday Permit you are free to stay in the country however our Canada partner or IWH holds no responsibility for finding you another position or any other support. If you have a visa where your job is tied to your visa then we are obliged to inform immigration.
What temperatures can I expect during the season?
a. Canada Summer 15 - 30 degrees Celsius but on average it is about 20 - 25 degrees
b. Canadian Winters can be very cold. Temperatures may reach –30 degrees Celsius but the average temperature is about 5 degrees Celsius in most resort locations.
When should I apply for the program?
The application deadline is 3 months before the season starts; you may have an interview via Skype or telephone any time after your application has been submitted.
Will I need to have insurance?
It is compulsory for all foreign applicants to purchase medical insurance covering them for the duration of their employment at the resorts, regardless of whether or not you think you may be eligible for company benefits.
What do I do when I arrive?
You will receive a detailed arrival package before you get on the plane; this will go over all the information you need to get started. If you have any questions in addition to this, please feel free to contact our Canada partner or IWH.
How far is it to the resort communities?
We have a range of resorts ranging from 2 hours to 15 hours away from where you arrive depending on if you take the bus or plane.
Can I choose which resort community I want to live in?
You can let us know which resort community you would like to live in however we cannot guarantee this until after your interview and after the search for available positions has been conducted. Let us determine the best fit for you.
How do I get to the resort?
When your resort has been decided you will be given a choice on how you want to get to the resort. You can catch the bus or fly depending on your budget and the location. You can also ask our Canada partner to arrange a tour to the location of your work.
How do I find accommodation when I’m working?
Some hotels offer staff accommodation however many do not. We will always inform you as to the situation with each property and normally focus on placements that will offer staff accommodation. However, if accommodation is not included we suggest you arrive at least 2 weeks before the start of their placement to find suitable accommodation. We do not make placements where it is impossible to find your own accommodation and we also give advise you how to secure your accommodation. When staff accommodation is available staff usually share with 1 or 2 others sharing the same room, 5-6 sharing the same bathroom and up to 15 sharing the same kitchen. Note: You will have to pay a damage deposit of 2 weeks rent as a deposit and your first 2 weeks rent in advance.
What is staff accommodation like?
If you have the chance to be placed in staff accommodation, remember this is NOT the hotel or resort the guests are staying in. Room quality can vary a lot between resorts, and the price usually reflects the quality and conditions of the accommodation. Rooms are usually shared and most residents are young people between the ages of 19 and 25 and are there to have a good time. You are responsible for your own cleaning, will share a kitchen and a bathroom/shower. Although no properties condone illegal activities, you should be prepared that under-age drinking and soft drug use can occur.
Do I need to bring toiletries and linens?
Staff accommodation and shared housing (where most people live if there is no staff accommodation) includes a bed and wardrobe for your clothes. You will share bathrooms and kitchens with staff from other rooms. You should anticipate needing bedding, towels, toiletries etc... Some may provide this and we will inform you as much as we know about the accommodation prior to your departure.
What uniform is required?
This depends on the position you are offered. It is advisable to bring black pants and work shoes (closed-toe) as well as a collared shirt in case there is any opportunity to meet any hotel representative prior to starting your placement. It is also advisable to have a pair of non-slip comfortable shoes if you are working in a back of house position. Some positions and some properties may ask you to purchase additional uniform components (up to $200) however most properties provide the majority of the uniform you will need. Some properties may ask for a deposit on your uniform and this is returned when the uniform is returned in good condition. Some placements require you to be outside so in winter you may need to purchase thermal clothing and snow boots. All uniform requirements will be specified with the placement offer.
Will I get time off work?
Yes, you will definitely get free-time, however you are not guaranteed any holidays during your placement period. Should you need time away from the placement then you can request this from your manager. All time off should be requested when the hotel/resort is quiet, i.e. during the off!season and not during weekends or public holidays.
Can I use the hotel facilities?
This depends on which tourism community you live in. The hotels in larger tourism communities do not let staff use facilities as there is more to do in the community; on the other hand, more remote resorts tend to offer staff use of the facilities such as the pool, tennis courts, resort spa, golf course, ski field and so on as there is less to do in the local community.
Do I pick the company that I work at?
You can tell us which company you would prefer but as properties have different requirements and availability we cannot guarantee any specific location and the final decision is up to our Canada partner.
What is the grooming policy of the companies?
Hair must be neat. For females, hair must be tied back when it is a safety issue. For males, hair must be above the collar and cut to mid!ear length at the sides. Jewellery should be worn in moderation. Women may wear one earring of the same size in each ear. Men may wear one small stud or ring. Other facial jewellery or exposed body piercings must be removed while at work, such as tongue rings or studs. Personal hygiene is important and aftershave and perfume should be kept to a minimum. Exposed tattoos must be covered by clothing or makeup.
Will I get any extra benefits, like a free ski pass?
Again, this depends on the hotel or resort you are placed at, however you should not expect a free ski pass as the possibilities of receiving one are limited. Please consider spending between $800 - $1,800 for a season ski pass (depending on the ski resort). Hotels and resort in more remote areas tend to offer more benefits than hotels in more popular tourism communities, these may or may not include staff parties, staff excursions, team building events, discounts at gymnasiums or health clubs etc.
Is food included?
If you are going to have Homestay during any study that you are undertaking prior to or following your placement then meals are included. At the host company meals are not included. Some hotels have staff cafeterias where you can receive discounted meals when you are on duty but this is not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to buy and cook food in your accommodation. You should anticipate spending about $50 per week on food however some people spend less and some spend a lot more.
What do things cost in Canada?
Canada is not a cheap country and you will not be earning a lot of money during your program so you should also have money saved for additional spending in case your salary does not cover all of your expenses. Following is an estimate of fees; these can change dramatically and differ according to location.
- Season ski Pass to a resort $800 - $1800 depending on the resort
- Bus Pass: $90 - $135 per month,
- Bus Pass to a resort: $150 - $250
- Damage Deposit for Staff Accommodation: Approximately $200 - $400
- Uniform: Up to $25
- Accommodation during course of employment: $350 - $600 per month
- Government courses needed for certain placements $40 - $200
- Groceries per week: Minimum $50 ($200 - $300 per month)
- Entrance to a club: $15
- Beer at a Pub / Club: $6 - $8
- A Big Mac Burger: $4.00
- A Starbucks Tall Café Latte: $3.50
- Skis / Snowboard $350, Ski Boots / Snowboard Boots $350, Trousers & Jacket $350, Gloves: $100, Goggles:$100, Helmet: $100, Thermal Underwear: $100
- A 15% tip or gratuity should be added to all purchases at a restaurant or pub
What tax should I pay and which can I get back home?
Income Tax is the percentage of your income that is collected by the government. Personal income tax is payable at the time the income is earned, and your employer should deduct tax at source at the required rate. If you have paid too much tax, or too little!! you should file an income tax return. For the year ended as at December 31 the deadline for filing a personal tax return is 30 April of the following year. When you work, you will receive an "information slip". This is prepared by your employer, and is usually sent to you in February/March of the following year. Tax advantages of being a non resident decrease after staying more than 183 days, more information can be obtained from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency at: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/nnrsdnts/ndvdls/nnrs-eng.html
There are a number of tax agents that can assist you in determining if you are eligible for any tax refund, and what refund may be due to you and arranging your filing. We have a Tax Refund Service you are welcome to use.
Will I get a certificate or reference letter if I am good at my work?
If you are good at work you may get a reference letter, but not all companies offer them to casual workers. You will also receive a certificate from our Canada partner.
What kind of people are we looking for?
Our Canadian resorts and partners love the Kiwi working attitude and that’s what we expect you to show while over there. As long as you are hardworking, outgoing, friendly, eager to be in Canada and are available for the whole season you should not have any problems. While some jobs require some certain skills and experience many provide full training on site. Cash handling experience if applying for ticket sales positions, bar/wait experience in hospitality positions would obviously be an asset and you can never go wrong with customer service skills in almost any position. The fact we speak English is a huge plus.
Where do I apply for a visa?
You must submit your application to the Canadian High Commission in Wellington.
More info on the NZ WHP can be found at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/iec/
I am a student, can I apply?
Yes of course, all students can apply for positions in Canada. However, as almost all positions (In Canada only) require you to be available from Nov/Dec-April this will not be feasible for many returning students. If you have recently finished high school, your degree or simply wish to differ for a semester then you will have no problems whatsoever!
Do I need to have experience at skiing / boarding to work in a ski resort?
In most positions you will not need to have skied in your life before. Some of our applicants have never even seen the snow before! Obviously Lift and instructor positions will need you to have experience in the slopes to be considered for a position.
How long are you expected to work?
Each position will usually have a different start date and every resort will usually have a different opening date. However you will be expected to work for the entire season, dependant on these factors you will usually be needed from Nov-April/May dependent on weather for Winter.
What is the average wage?
Wages vary according to job type and resort. In general, minimum wage rates are between $10.30CAD per hour to $12.50CAD an hour. You could expect up to $14CAD an hour for skilled jobs.
How many hours a week will I work?
Once again, it is dependent on the weather and the volumes of patrons visiting throughout the season which will ultimately determine your hours of work. At the start of the season you may only be required 15-30 hours per week while in the peak season you may be require to work 40-50 hrs. However as a general consensus your employer will try and give you between 32-40 hours per week.
What is the policy of the resorts towards piercings, dyed hair, dreadlocks, etc?
Hair must be neat. For females, hair must be tied back when it is a safety issue. For males, hair must be above the collar and cut to mid-ear length at the sides. Jewellery should be worn in moderation. Women may wear one earring of the same size in each ear while men may wear one small stud or ring. Other facial jewelry or exposed body piercings must be removed while at work, such as tongue rings or studs. Personal hygiene is important and aftershave and perfume should be kept to a minimum.
What temperatures can I expect during the season?
Very very cold; at times temperatures can get down to as little as minus 40 degrees Celsius. However not in all parts of Canada, south West is usually not as cold. If you prepare for the cold and make sure you wear lots of layers, including thermals, you will be fine. In winter it can even get as warm as 10-15 degrees throughout the day in some parts of Canada. Summer can get as hot as 40 degrees C.
Will I need to buy a car?
Some groups of people do – and it could be a wise investment if taking a road trip after the season but it is definitely not essential. Make friends with some locals and jump in with them
If I live in staff housing, what is provided and what will I need to bring?
What is provided?
Single bed with mattress cover, Pillow, Chair, Dresser
You will need to bring:
Bedding, Alarm Clock, Bath Towel, Toothpaste, razor - the usual toiletries
Will I get free-time?
Of course, work-to-live you don’t live-to-work! Most weeks you will be given 2 full days off which gives you plenty of time to hit the slopes and perfect your riding or skiing. If you work at nights then obviously this is your last concern, you may even have a mix between day and evening shifts.
Will I get a free ski pass?
Almost all of the jobs offered by the resorts include a free or discounted ski pass!
Should I buy ski or boarding equipment in NZ or Canada?
In Canada, unless you already have your gear it’s highly recommended purchasing your set-up over there. Not only will you not need to escort it with you across the world but you will find that snow gear is far cheaper in Canada that it is here in NZ. You will also be given staff discounts at your resort which will definitely take a chunk out of the retail price!
Getting Started When should I apply for the program ?
Now! Positions for the upcoming season are already filling fast and we do not accept applications once all the positions have been filled. We have the best ski resort partners in Canada and the market knows this so it is important you get in before it is too late.
Will I need to take out travel insurance?
It is compulsory that all foreign applicants have travel insurance covering them for their duration of employment with the ski resorts, regardless if you are skiing or not. We have a partner who will get you an amazing deal.