In British Columbia & Alberta Canada, there are numerous opportunities for immigrants who want to build a career in the trades. While the price of oil in Canada has been effected by numerous factors, certified trades people are nonetheless expected to be in high demand.

Demand in British Columbia

According to the British Columbia government, there is a forecast of 'high demand' for workers in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) sector. Northern BC, in particular, will need to recruit many skilled workers to meet the construction and operations demands of several new projects slated through the next 10 years.

Demand in Alberta

In Alberta's most recent downturn,  more than 60,000 people in the oil and gas industry lost their jobs. While Alberta's energy sector once again exists in a precarious balance, according to the most recent stats employment in this industry is expected to grow at an average rate of 1.9% from 2017 to 2021 with plenty of jobs in Alberta still available.


B.C.’s developing LNG and related construction/energy industry is projected to create up to 100,000 jobs over the next 10 years. Northern BC, in particular, will need to recruit numerous workers to meet construction and operations requirements. It’s important to note that this number does not include newer initiatives such as the Site C project in Northern BC that will need to recruit numerous workers to meet construction and operations requirements. Immigrants are seen as a key source of talent as oil and gas companies seek to meet their hiring needs in the years ahead.

Programs for Immigrants

The industry has responded by developing a number of programs to attract newcomers. These include initiatives to attract newcomers to remote locations of the province, corporate efforts to encourage diversity in the workplace, and strategies for streamlining foreign-credential recognition. In fact, the energy sector has responded by developing a number of programs to attract newcomers and those interested in pursuing a career in Oil & Gas in Canada. Some of these programs include:

  • Initiatives intended to attract newcomers to remote locations of Alberta & BC
  • Efforts at the corporate level to encourage workplace diversity
  • Plans to streamline foreign-credential recognition

In British Columbia, one initiative is the Equity Seeking Groups in Trades program which sponsors a number of community service providers, training providers, and Indigenous communities across BC to deliver trades training and employment programs focused to meeting the needs of vulnerable and under-represented groups in trades occupations, including Women, Indigenous people, and other Equity Seeking groups through funds from the Government of Canada and British Columbia. The programs provide a range of individualized and group services and supports, hands-on trades exploration training, entry level (pre-apprenticeship) technical training, industry certification training, mentorship, job coaching and employment placement services. 

It is also important to note that in Alberta, a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) may be denied for certain high-wage and low-wage occupations in trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations. Some of these applications that will be denied include Pipefitters, Ironworkers, Industrial Electricians, Plumbers, Carpenters, Insulators, Crane Operators and related. Of note, specialized positions less than 6 months may be accepted for Scaffolders and Insulators.

Information for immigrating to & working in Alberta can be found here.

In Demand Jobs:

The following is a list of those jobs considered most 'in-demand' through the coming years (BC): 

Occupation Demand
Construction trades, Helpers, & Labourers 11800
Steamfitters & Pipefitters 3800
Welders 2200
Concrete Finishers 1500
Transport truck Drivers 1500
Carpenters 1400
Heavy Equipment Operators 1100
Gas Fitters 1100
Purchasing Agents & Officers 875
Crane Operators 800


Tips On Getting Hired for Oil Rig work

According to, Rigs are busiest in the winter. In the spring, thawing roads and soft fields make it difficult to move equipment.  As such, this is when Rigs shut down and oil activity slows while the industry waits for the ground to dry out.  This is called spring break-up. Because of the way energy companies time oil and gas exploration in British Columbia, rig activity typically remains low through the summer but becomes active again as the fall approaches and the ground becomes frozen. Accordingly, recruitment and hiring for winter operations reaches its peak in November and December.  This period is known as ramp up.

Best time to apply

The best time to inquire about Canadian Oil & Gas jobs is subsequently immediately preceding peak rig activity (November and December).  However, fall is also a good time to begin your inquiries about Oil & Gas employment.

Resources & references: