Improving Your CEC Chances
As we have explained in our page about the program, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a path to achieve permanent residence status when you already live and work in Canada on a temporary work permit. You must have worked in Canada for a total of 1 year of full-time employment, during the previous 3 years. This means you must have worked for:
- 30 hours per week for 12 months or
- the equivalent amount of hours (1,560 hours) gained in part-time employment (15 hours per week for 24 months or 30 hours per week at more than 1 job for 12 months, for example).
You also must be eligible to live in Canada which means your work was not under the table and you do not have any criminal record that would disqualify you from applying for permanent residence.
But while these are necessary conditions, they are not sufficient to ensure that your application under the Canadian Experience Class, or CEC, will be successful. This is because you will need to show you have the so-called soft skills to succeed in Canada. What do we mean by soft skills? Studies show that in-demand skills over the coming years in Canada (and in most developed countries) will emphasize skills like:
- Active Listening
- Critical Thinking
While this sounds very abstract, these are, in fact, practical skills because they will allow you to acquire the technical skills you need to gain well-paid employment in Canada.
Example: How to Improve Your Soft Skills as a Nurse
To illustrate this point, consider the occupation of Nursing, an in-demand career that will provide continuing opportunities as the baby boomer cohort ages and retires.
The National Occupation Classification (NOC) is a survey that classifies jobs in Canada according to the tasks, duties, and responsibilities involved with any given job. Similar jobs are grouped in occupations; then divided into major groups; next further divided into minor groups, and finally into units. This is how the NOC survey drills down into the data of the skills and responsibilities associated with different occupations in Canada. For example, a registered nurse has a NOC classification (or code) of 3012:
|Health Occupations||Professional groups in nursing||Professional groups in nursing||Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses|
|(Occupation Type)||(Major Group)||(Minor Group)||(Unit)|
In this case, registered nurses are the only minor group in the major group of the same name, so the major and minor group have the same description. Note how each digit of the 4-digit NOC code refers to a specific part of the NOC classification system, from occupation to major group to minor group and to unit.
Now consider the NOC classification of a Licensed Practical Nurse:
|Health occupations||Technical occupations in health||Other technical occupations in healthcare||Licensed Practical Nurse|
|(Occupation type)||(Major Group)||(Minor Group)||(Unit)|
Note that a Registered Nurse has a skill level of A and requires a university education while a Licensed Practical Nurse has a skill level of B, which involves jobs requiring college (technical school or specialized post-secondary institutions) or apprenticeship training. Occupations with skill level A pay more in general than skill level B, require higher levels of education, and involve more advanced responsibilities.
Let’s compare RNs and LPNs in terms of their responsibilities.
If you work temporarily as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada, for example, your job involves the following:
- You provide care under the direction of another healthcare professional, like a medical practitioner or a registered nurse.
- You take vital signs, apply aseptic techniques, monitor nutritional intake, and take specimen collection.
- You administer medication and document therapeutic effects.
- You provide pre-operative and post-operative comfort and care.
- You monitor respiratory and intravenous therapies.
- You monitor patients’ progress.
- You provide health education to patients and their families.
Now let’s see what your responsibilities would be if you managed to upgrade your education and training and obtain work as a Registered Nurse:
- You will assess patients to decide on appropriate nursing interventions.
- You will collaborate with members of an interdisciplinary health team to plan, implement, coordinate, and evaluate patient care.
- You will administer medications and treatments as prescribed by a physician or by following a recognized protocol.
- You will monitor, assess, address, and report symptoms of patients and changes in patient’s conditions.
- You will operate or monitor medical apparatus or equipment.
- You will assist in surgery and other medical procedures.
- You may supervise licensed practical nurses and other medical staff.
- You may develop and implement discharge planning processes when a patient is admitted.
- You will teach and counsel patients and families on health issues.
Look at the additional responsibilities that a registered nurse has compared to a licensed practical nurse. As a registered nurse, for example, your ability to read prescriptions and administer medications correctly based on your critical evaluation of the patient’s situation can be a life and death situation in more severe cases. Your ability to communicate effectively with everyone from doctors to ultrasound technicians is a fundamental skill you must possess. Your ability to write concise and clear-to-understand reports while dealing with a wide variety of situations is another fundamental skill. And we’ve just scratched the surface, as any experienced registered nurse will tell you.
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So, How do You Improve Your Skills for CEC?
Recall the top 4 in-demand skills for jobs over the coming years in Canada:
- Active Listening
- Critical Thinking
To move up the food chain in Canada’s labour market, you need to develop your so-called soft skills, precisely like the ones listed above. You will need them as you take university level courses; college-level courses; certification; or registration exams. Let’s now consider what specific steps you can take to go from a job like Licensed Practical Nurse to a Registered Nurse or a Registered Psychiatric Nurse.
So how do you get from a Licensed Practical Nurse who worked for a couple of years in Canada on a temporary work permit to your goal of being a fully-qualified registered nurse with job opportunities awaiting you not just in Canada, but in the United States as well?
- Upgrade your education. In Ontario, for example, the College of Nurses of Ontario will assess your education (as well as your work experience) to see whether you have the required competencies in order to write the registration exam and practice as a registered nurse in Ontario.
- Upgrade your language skills. Go here to see the scores you will need on your language tests to qualify.
- Apply directly to the regulatory body, (like the College of Nurses of Ontario), in the province(s) you wish to apply to.
- Finally, you will have to take the NCLEX – the National Council Licensure Examination – which is a standardized test created in the U.S. in 1994 and now also used in Canada since 2015. It is a very demanding exam and you will have to rigorously prepare, but it is your ticket to a nursing job not just in Canada, but perhaps in the U.S. should the opportunity arise. Once again, the soft skills listed above: being a good listener, reader, and speaker, as well as being able to think critically, is what will separate your application from others and ensure your success under the Canadian Experience Class – or most other skilled worker classes.
- When you’ve done all that, create a profile using Express Entry in order to apply under the Canadian Experience Class.
This is for nurses, but the same advice applies to anyone working in Canada. Upgrading your skills will increase your CRS score. And a higher CRS score means you’ll get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) that much quicker.