Summer Jobs 2016: Explore Your Possibilities

Summer JobsDo you have summer jobs on your mind? Whether you are a high school or post-secondary school student, it is likely that you are starting to wonder how you can earn a paycheque this summer while taking a break from your studies. The good news is that there are many job opportunities available across the country for students just like you.

Whether you want to put some money in the bank, begin gaining experience that could help you propel your future career, or simply want to find a fun job that gives you something to do, it is likely that you can find something that will suit your needs. Check out ten possible job options below ranging from tourism to horticulture (and many options in between). And take a look at some of the government-sponsored student-job programs. Find the motivation needed to make this a great summer!

1. Tourism or Hospitality Worker

The tourism and hospitality sector is often a hotbed for summer student jobs. Tourism activity typically increases significantly during the summer months. Plus, with the current economic conditions, more Canadians may opt for "staycations" this year, and more Americans may visit the country since the value of their dollar is considerably stronger than the Canadian dollar right now. As a result, there could be some great options for young adults who are seeking summer jobs in tourism and hospitality.

Some of the tourism or hospitality jobs that you could consider include:

  • Amusement park attendant—If you live close to an amusement park or similar attraction (like Playland in Vancouver or Canada's Wonderland outside of Toronto), then you may want to consider a summer job that gets you working in one of the most fun places you can probably think of.
  • Golf course worker—With the exception of Nunavut, every province and territory in Canada has golf courses; some provinces even have hundreds of them. And since golf is a summer game, that opens the door to a lot of summer job possibilities. From cart service to greens maintenance to pro shop sales, there could be a lot of options for you.
  • Hotel or resort worker—There could be summer job opportunities with hotels and resorts in almost every corner of the country. Whether you want to work at a posh luxury hotel in downtown Montreal, a rustic lodge in Banff National Park, a secluded fly-in resort on Vancouver Island, or any other kind of lodging establishment, you will likely find a job that lines up with your interests.
  • Tour guide—Many types of companies require friendly, outgoing tour guides to take groups through their facilities or on outdoor adventures. Museums, art galleries, breweries, hiking and mountain-biking companies, and white-water rafting outfitters are all examples of organizations that employ summer tour guides.
  • Visitor information agent—Most towns, cities, and resort areas are equipped with visitor information centres that require knowledgeable and friendly staff to assist tourists. You could help tourists discover area attractions, accommodations, and shopping and dining establishments.

According to 2013-14 job data, tour and travel guides earn median wages of $15.00 per hour. And entry-level hotel workers earn median wages ranging from $13.00 to $14.00 an hour.* So it is quite possible for you to find exciting summer job options that also pay more than minimum wage.

2. Horticulture or Landscaping Worker

With the approach of summer comes an abundance of landscaping and agriculture work in many areas of Canada. If you have a bit of a green thumb and enjoy working outside, then you should consider student summer jobs that get you working with the land. You could consider finding a position as a landscaping or grounds maintenance worker and spend your days tending to lawns, flower gardens, trees and bushes, and other green spaces.

You may also enjoy working on a farm or at a nursery or greenhouse. You could carry out tasks related to planting, caring for, and picking fresh fruits and vegetables. Or you could assist with raising flowers, plants, and trees that are going to be sold to the public. There are certainly a lot of options for individuals who would like to work outdoors. And the pay can be quite reasonable too. In fact, according to 2013-14 data, the median hourly pay is $15.00 for landscaping and grounds maintenance workers, $14.50 for farm workers, and $11.25 for nursery and greenhouse workers.*

3. Research Assistant

Universities, pharmaceutical companies, medical organizations, science labs, and research and development firms are a few of the many places that hire student research assistants. Depending on the types of research studies that they are conducting, you may need to have some education in a relevant field. And it is worth noting that if you are currently taking a science- or healthcare-related program, then you may want to check with your institution to see if it has any in-house research assistant opportunities.

Your responsibilities as a research assistant could include the following:

  • Collecting data
  • Reviewing and updating databases
  • Organizing and managing documents
  • Assisting with designing experiments and conducting research projects and fieldwork
  • Analyzing data
  • Monitoring and ordering supplies and equipment
  • Preparing reports and presentations

The hourly pay can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of research that is being conducted as well as your level of education and experience. However, a search of April 2016 research assistant job postings indicated that the typical hourly wage is in the range of $15.00 to $25.00.

4. Summer or Day Camp Leader or Instructor

Do you like the idea of spending your summer days making memories with a great group of kids? Then you may want to consider finding a position that involves working at a summer or day camp. And if you are working toward a career in human services or education, then this option ranks as one of the good summer jobs for university students because it can provide valuable experience that could help boost your career opportunities later on. And you can earn decent money too; summer and day camp workers earn a median wage of $14.00 per hour (based on 2013-14 data).*

As a camp worker, you could be responsible for setting schedules, organizing activities, and leading and instructing groups of kids. One day could be spent making macaroni art, and the next could involve day hikes or canoe trips. Working at a summer camp would likely require you to spend most of your summer away at the camp location. In contrast, day camps typically only run during weekdays, and the kids and instructors go home at the end of the day.

5. Event Assistant

Instead of spending your summer days just attending events, why not earn money while working behind the scenes? You could take part in setting up and running your favourite summer concerts, festivals, and other events. Concert halls, art and music venues, food and beverage establishments, and hotels and resorts are some of the places that you might be able to secure a summer job working as an event assistant.

Event assistants typically work alongside other event planners and managers and can be responsible for any of the following tasks:

  • Advertising upcoming events and functions
  • Answering phone calls and replying to emails
  • Performing general office responsibilities
  • Updating websites, online calendars, etc.
  • Tracking expenses and updating budgets
  • Developing emergency protocols
  • Preparing swag bags
  • Assisting, as needed, with other areas pertaining to setting up, executing, and tearing down

Based on job advertisements from April 2016, event assistants can expect to earn anywhere from $12.00 to $20.00 per hour or higher. If you have previous experience assisting with events, it is more likely that you could secure a higher-paying position.

6. Retail Salesperson

Imagine spending your summer days being paid to work at your favourite store. That could happen, especially if you consider that many retail stores hire additional summer staff to help them out during some of the busiest sales months of the year. Whether you are keen about electronics, clothing, or other retail items, you could put money in your pockets by taking on a sales position. And as an added bonus, many retail stores offer their staff members in-store discounts. So you could stock up on some sweet gear too. You might earn an hourly wage close to $12.00 since that is the median paid to retail salespersons across Canada (according to 2013-14 data).*

7. Winery Worker

If you live in one of the wine-producing regions of British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, or Nova Scotia, then you may want to consider going after a stimulating summer job at a winery. Many wineries are willing to train their summer staff, so you don't need to worry if you possess little knowledge or experience. And summer help is typically needed in the vineyard, production area, and sales shop, so there are lots of work settings for you to choose from. Here are a few positions that may interest you:

  • Vineyard worker—Help out in the vineyard and take care of things like installing posts and other supports, planting grapes, irrigating crops, trimming and pruning vines, and harvesting crops.
  • Cellar hand—Join the production team within the winery and you could find yourself working with fermentation tanks, performing barrel work, collecting samples, cleaning equipment, and operating grape presses, pumps, and filters.
  • Wine shop and tasting room sales associate—Put your friendly, outgoing nature to work within a wine shop and carry out responsibilities related to providing exceptional customer service, educating consumers and answering their questions, offering wine samples, assisting with special events, and receiving wine shop inventory and stocking shelves.
  • Winery tour guide—Take your natural conversational skills to the next level by becoming a winery tour guide, which involves leading groups of people through the winery's operations, from the vineyard to the tasting room.

Depending on the position that you secure and your level of previous experience, you could earn hourly pay in the range of $11.00 to $15.00 or higher (based on a search of advertised jobs in April 2016).

8. Barista

If you can picture yourself working at your favourite coffee shop, then take in a resume and apply for a barista position. Baristas are the smiling, friendly faces behind the counters that take and prepare your order. And you could join their ranks by learning the art of brewing a perfect cup of coffee. You will need to learn all of the different drink choices, ingredients, specifications, and modifications that the coffee shop offers. You may also be required to prepare food items.

In addition to preparing food and drink items, baristas can also be responsible for receiving inventory, stocking fridges and shelves, cleaning and maintaining equipment, and cleaning the public area of the coffee shop. Wage data collected from the 2013-14 period shows that the median hourly pay for baristas in Canada is $11.00.* However, some baristas also earn tips. So, in a busy coffee shop, you could have the potential to bring in additional earnings on top of your paycheque.

9. Server or Bartender

When it comes to summer jobs, Canada has a lot to offer to young adults that want to work as servers or bartenders. That's because there are countless food and beverage establishments across the country—from the smallest of towns to the largest of cities—that usually hire a lot of summer staff. And with some initiative and determination, you could find a business willing to train you— even if you don't have previous restaurant experience.

Although the 2013-14 median wage for servers and bartenders is $10.45 per hour, a lot of money can be made in the form of tips. That's the beauty of a server or bartender position. You can save your paycheque to pay your monthly bills, and your tips could cover your daily living and additional expenses. Servers and bartenders report daily tips ranging from $50 to $200 or more per shift, depending on the type of establishment where they work. And if you are considering signing up for, or are currently enrolled in, a culinary program, then a summer job at a restaurant can provide you with valuable experience that can help further your career in the future.

10. Childcare Provider

Do you love spending time with children and think that there is nothing better than watching their little minds explore the world? Why not consider a summer job that involves taking care of kids? Many parents require care for their school-aged children who are off for the summer holidays. Taking kids to the beach, having water fights, riding bikes, and doing countless other fun activities sounds like a good way to make some money. And the experience that you obtain could be especially beneficial if you are considering pursuing a career in childcare or education.

Before you get started, it is recommended that you check your province's or territory's regulations for unlicensed childcare since there are likely restrictions related to how many children you are allowed to care for at one time. For example, in BC, you can only care for two children at a time. Yet, in Ontario, you can care for up to five children at one time. So it is important to be aware of your legal obligations.

Childcare rates can be quite varied depending on the area where you live. Your experience and education, including whether you hold current first aid certifications, can also determine the rates that you charge. That being said, daily rates commonly range from $30.00 to $60.00 or more per day, per child.


Summer Jobs: 2016 Government-Sponsored Programs

Summer JobsThe Canadian government offers a number of sponsored programs in an effort to create summer jobs for students and young adults. Some of the jobs are within government departments, and others are subsidized to encourage private employers to create new jobs for students. This could be good news for you because, if you meet the eligibility criteria, you may be able to secure an amazing government-sponsored position. Take a look at the key programs below that could be of interest to you.

Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP)

The Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) is designed to provide full-time secondary and post-secondary students with meaningful job opportunities that help them build their knowledge and abilities. You are not required to have previous experience in your area of interest, and both part- and full-time positions could be available.

Check out the basic program eligibility criteria below to see if you meet the requirements:

  • You must be enrolled as a full-time student within an accredited secondary or post-secondary institution as well as be recognized as having "full-time student status."
  • You must be returning to your full-time studies in the next academic term.
  • You need to meet the minimum age requirement to work within the province or territory where the job is located.

Through the FSWEP, you could pursue positions like student border services officer, student security officer, Rideau Hall guide interpreter, or capital information officer and tour guide. Jobs can be found within the following government departments:

  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • Canadian Heritage
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Government of Canada Security Agencies
  • Health Canada
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Office of the Secretary to the Governor General
  • Veteran Affairs Canada

You can visit the FSWEP website to learn more, determine your eligibility, and even apply online.

Canada Summer Jobs 2016

The Canada Summer Jobs program was created to provide funding to eligible employers in order to help them create summer jobs for students. It supports the needs of local businesses, organizations, and communities while providing students like you with valuable work experience and on-the-job learning opportunities.

Job funding is provided to non-profit organizations, public-sector departments, and small businesses that have 50 or fewer employers. You can apply for any jobs that you are interested in as long as you are a full-time student, between 15 and 30 years old, who intends to return to your studies in the next school year. Employers will find out whether they have been approved for funding in May 2016, and available jobs will be posted after that point.

To find positions that are funded by the Canada Summer Jobs program, visit the Government of Canada Job Bank. Employers can also post non-sponsored jobs on the Job Bank, so you could find several interesting and relevant positions as you search for opportunities. (Note: If you conduct an advanced search, you can narrow your search results down to jobs that are linked to government funding.)

Young Canada Works (YCW)

The Young Canada Works (YCW) program offers subsidies to eligible employers in order to create approximately 2,300 job opportunities across Canada in the areas of heritage, arts, culture, and official languages. The program is targeted toward helping current students and recent graduates obtain purposeful jobs that help them develop their skills, build essential career experience, and earn money.

Note that, unlike the FSWEP program mentioned above, the Young Canada Works program does not hire students directly. Instead, YCW provides subsidies to eligible employers, and it is the employers' responsibility to post jobs and recruit and hire candidates. If you are currently a secondary or post-secondary student seeking a summer job, here is the basic eligibility criteria you will need to meet in order to apply:

  • You are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or have refugee status, and you are legally entitled to work in Canada.
  • You will be between 16 and 30 years old at the start of the job, and you are able to commit to the entire duration of the work assignment.
  • You will not have another full-time job (i.e., one that takes more than 30 hours per week) while working in your YCW job.
  • You have been a full-time student during the semester preceding the job, and you intend to return to full-time studies in the semester after the job.

Note that there are also internship positions available for recent graduates who do not intend on returning to school full-time. You can check out the Young Canada Works website to learn more about the program and to find and apply for jobs.


Make the Summer of 2016 One to Remember

Now that you have some great ideas related to what kinds of summer jobs you could pursue, it's time for you to take your next steps. You may need to create or update your resume, and it wouldn't hurt to spend some time reviewing job interview tips in order to learn what it takes to stand out from the competition. And if you have completed high school and are ready to obtain a post-secondary education, then enter your postal code below to explore the schools that are offering programs near you. This could be the summer when you make some big decisions that brighten your career outlook!



* Government of Canada, Job Bank, website last visited on April 14, 2016.