Best Advice for Newcomers to Canada

The Newcomers Centre of Peel and Taste Your Future + FoodGrads hosted a panel of Food & Beverage professionals a while ago now but the advice is still relevant today.

Each of the panelists had moved here from another country.

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Determined to work in the Food & Beverage industry, all of them have a story to share of hard work, determination and focus to reach their goals and forge a successful career in Food & Beverage.

Meet The Panelists

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it time and time again.  The people in this industry are amazing human beings!  When I called, they answered.

They all said that they remember how hard it was to move to a new country and find a job/career.  It was a no-brainer that they would want to join this panel so they could share their advice and experiences to help others.  So thank you…

Niharika Bhartiya, Chocolatier Avoca Chocolates

John Watterson, Director Commercial & Supply Chain BHJ Canada Meat Products

Ellen Gravi, Senior Quality Assurance Specialist Loblaws

Navjot Toor, R&D Specialist – Product Development, Localization Nutrabolt

Divakar Raju, Corporate Manager Culinary Services Delmanor

Yasir Mehdi, Human Resource Generalist Give and Go

Eliangel Bullones, Production Worker Brandt Meats

*This is where the panelists worked at the time of the event, some may have changed.

Some of the Questions We Asked Them

  • How is your work in Canada similar to what you did prior to coming here and how is it different?
  • What would you like other newcomers to know about working in the food industry in Canada?
  • How do you view opportunities for professional growth, advancement and development in food industry in Canada?
  • What’s one thing you have learned about working in Canada that you would like to share with other newcomers seeking jobs?
  • When employers ask for Canadian experience, why do you think they want this?
  • For those in management, what advice would you give other newcomers seeking management positions in Canada?
  • How did you get started with work in Canada?  How did you get your current job?

The BEST Advice for Newcomers

  • Never give up!  Even when it feels like there is no hope usually the ‘yes’ comes right after the moment you are about to give up.  Perseverance pays off.
  • Network as much as possible.  Attend free events related to food to learn about companies, products and meet the people in the industry.

Start in a summer job.  Work hard, show your work ethic and they are going to keep you because it’s so hard to recruit good people – Ellen Gravi

  • Ask for help.  You will be amazed just how many people are on your side and want to help.  All you need to do is ask the question.
  • Be specific about what it is you are looking for.  The more focused you are the better people can help you get there.
  • Volunteer, accept internships or coop opportunities.  Anything that gives you relevant hands-on work experience.
  • Know yourself.  Its as important to know what you don’t like and are unwilling to do as it is to know what you do like.  Don’t waste time focusing on a job that you know you will not last in, put your energies into what makes sense for you long term.

There are always jobs in food, it’s recession proof because people always need to eat.  The opportunities are there.  The food industry is so broad, so many different sectors from meat to veg to dry goods etc.  Restaurants, retail, food processing etc. – John Watterson

  • Starting in a position that is lower on the hierarchy can be better.  It may be less than you were doing before (and less than you are capable of) but it gives you time to learn, before you take on too much responsibility.

If you are new to Canada and looking for a career in Food & Beverage visit The Newcomers Centre of Peel, follow Taste Your Future and without hesitation create your free account on

Click here to listen to the entire panel discussion.

Do you have a question?  Are you an immigrant who works in Food & Beverage and has some additional advice to offer?  Please leave your comments.

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