Explore Options

Equipping clients with insight and knowledge to begin a meaningful job search, create their own job, or focus on building new capabilities.

It is also important that you discuss with the client their current career objectives. Are they looking for any job, which may be seen as a short-term solution (for example, to save money to go back to school), or are they focused on finding a job that matches their broader, long-term career objectives?

Even if their goal is to get a job now, you can help them explore their career interests to ensure that they take the most appropriate available job to help them get on the path to a longer-term rewarding and in-demand career.  It is even possible that they may decide, at this point, to veer off the job search path to create their own job or focus on learning to acquire new skills.

Identifying capabilities

A key component of exploring where a client wants to go next in their job search is to help them assess their current skills, knowledge and experience.  You can suggest that your client undertake self-assessments and point them to resources and tools that can help them identify their current capabilities.


YMCA-YWCA Language Assessment and Referral Centre (LARC) – Provides immigrants with English or French language assessments for government-funded programs. Our services are offered at no cost to eligible clients. Eligibility Criteria: 18 years of age and older; born outside Canada.


CPSC Essential Skills – Register for free online assessments specific to plastics and manufacturing, personalized results reports and learning plans, targeted learning materials and detailed occupational descriptions, developed by the Canadian Plastics Sector Council.

CSC’s Essential Skills for Ontario’s Trades People – Sign up for free online assessments measure three Essential Skills using Ontario-specific materials, developed by the College Sector Committee for Adult Upgrading.

ESDC Needs Assessment Tools – Includes self-assessments for all essential skills and for the trades, from the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills.

ITA Essential Skills Assessment – Free online assessments for each trade covering reading, math and document use; website developed to help people succeed during their apprenticeship, targeted to women, immigrants and Aboriginal people, developed by BC’s Industry Training Authority (ITA).

Ontario Skills Passport Self-Assessments – Self-assessments to get information on Essential Skills and work habits and compare results to occupation(s) of interest.


Government of Canada Skills Inventory – Guide to constructing an inventory of one’s transferable skills.

Service Canada Employability Skills 2000+ – User ranks their comfort in several skill levels to produce a self-assessment of employability skills.


Manitoba Career Development: A Guide to Recognizing Your Prior Learning – A comprehensive guide to help job seekers to recognize prior learning.

Please also see Prior Learning Assessments under Building New Capabilities.


Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials – Links to a variety of information about credential assessment tools and organizations.

Foreign Credentials Referral Office – Information from the Government of Canada on preparing to work in Canada by attaining credential assessments.

International Credential Assessment Service of Canada – Provides Assessment Reports that describe the education completed outside Canada and provide the comparable level of education here.

World Education Services – A non-profit organization that offers credential assessment services for newcomers and those looking to work abroad.


Canadian Language Benchmarks: Resources for Employers, Counselors and Workers – A variety of resources for those working with people with English as a second language.

Manitoba Career Development: A Practitioner’s Guide to Recognizing Your Prior Learning – A guide for practitioners to assist job seekers in recognizing their prior learning; site also provides a powerpoint presentationthat can be used with job seekers.

Exploring aptitude & capability

Some clients may not be sure on what careers they want to focus and will want to explore what options may be the best “fit” for them in terms of apititude and interest. You can suggest that your client undertake self-assessments and point them to resources and tools that can help them further explore occupations.


Getting Started with Career Interest – Includes numerous personality and aptitude tests, as well as other tips and resources (Government of Manitoba).

Holland Code Quiz – Take the quiz to determine your Holland Code; Holland Codes is a system to classify jobs into job categories, interest clusters, or work personality environments representing work personalities.

HumanMetrics Jung Typology Test – Free online personality test using Jungian personality definitions.

Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS-II) – Widely-used 70 question personality test with a free report e-mailed to user based on basic assessment; cost for more in-depth assessments.

Myers & Briggs Foundation – Where to take the MBTI – Information on how to take the official Myers Briggs test (most charge a fee); may be available at some employment centres.

NetDoctor Self Esteem Test – Online test to evaluate one’s self-esteem, maintained by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.

PersonalityType.com – Free short online personality test.

Prioritizing Life Values – A free online career test that looks at your life values.

Risk-Taking and Career Decisions – Tip Sheet developed by ALIS on how to take your risk-taking preferences into account when exploring careers.

The Career Values Test – An American online questionnaire and pdf worksheet to complete based on the results to identify the things you value most in a career Stewart, Cooper & Coon, Inc.

TypeFocus Personality Type Assessment – Register to take a personality type test.

Refer to the Considering Entrepreneurship page for assessments around suitability for entrepreneurship.


ALIS Career Planning Tip Sheets  – Explore the ALIS tip sheets around Career Planning.

Inside Career Info – A US site with reviews from insiders currently working in careers on education and degree requirements, tips for those considering the career, best and worst aspects of the career, job tasks and everyday responsibilities, and help getting the job.

Job Bank – Job Seekers can create an account in order to use the tools available on this site: Job Match, Job Alert, Résumé Builder and the Career Navigator.

Manitoba Career Development: A Guide to Planning Your Career – Information and activities to help job seekers work through the career planning process.


Alberta OCCinfo – Provides up-to-date information about occupations (types of work) for more than 500 occupational profiles; some information is Alberta-focused, but a lot of general information; including a section on Emerging Occupations.

Ontario Job Futures – A publication which provides information on the current trends and future outlook for 190 occupations common to Ontario; a joint effort of MTCU and Service Canada – Ontario Region.

Working in Canada – Explore Careers section of this ESDC website contains information on a variety of occupations and career paths.


Aboriginal Human Resources Council – Career resources are included on their website.

ALIS Career Information Hotline – 1.800.661.3753 – By phone or email, get advice and referrals about your career, education and employment options in Alberta from Career Advisors, based in Alberta, but available to anyone in Canada; website also includes other career-related tools and resources.

Career Cruising – Variety of tools to help identify careers of interest and outline career paths; some offered free of charge while many require a fee.

CAREERinsite – Career planning tool, provided by ALIS, that helps identify interests and outline possible options (free log-in required).

Manitoba Career Development – Decision Making Model – A tool to assist with lifelong career development planning, whether you are just starting to plan for your future, changing jobs or looking to advance your career.

Ontario WorkinfoNet – Career Development Process – Links to Career Development resources in Ontario and Canada.

VECTOR – A career exploration and planning tool; a primary feature of VECTOR is the Career Video Library, which provides over 100 video vignettes profiling a wide variety of career options.


Apparel Manufacturing

Apparel Connexion


Canadian Apprenticeship Forum


Council for Automotive Human Resources

Aviation and Aerospace

Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace


BioTalent Canada

Environmental Careers Organization of Canada


BuildForce Canada


Cultural Human Resources Council


Engineers Canada

Food Processing

The Food Processing Human Resources Council

Information and Communications Technology


Natural Resources and Utilities

Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council

Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters

Canadian Skills Training and Employment Coalition

Mining Industry Human Resources Council

Electricity Human Resources Canada

Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada


HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector


Police Sector Council

Supply Chain

Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council


Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council


Trucking HR Canada

Wood products

Wood Manufacturing Council

The Forest Products Association of Canada


Easy Reading Help: Career Advisors – Materials for career advisors working with adults with low literacy or English as a second language; occupational and career planning information for adults reading at a Grade 2 to 3 level (while some of these Government of Alberta materials are available to order at a low cost; many are free to download).

Guidance Counsellor Resource Page – Saint Paul University – This one-stop information centre is designed to assist guidance counsellors in discovering what Saint Paul University has to offer its students.

Manitoba Career Development: A Practitioner’s Guide to Planning Your Career – A guide for practitioners to assist job seekers in career planning; site also provides a powerpoint presentation that can be used with job seekers.

Looking at the current job market

In exploring careers, it is also important to find out where the jobs are likely to be. Labour market information can provide you with an idea of emerging occupations, trends for current occupations and sectors, and other information that can guide your job search and education decisions.

You should also go to Exploring Occupations on the Exploring Aptitude & Interest page to see what the outlooks are for specific occupations.


ALIS: Making Sense of the Labour Market – This comprehensive guide focuses on how to gather labour market information and how this fits into your job search; focused on Alberta, but a lot of the information is generic.

Careers Nova Scotia: Guide to Understanding Labour Market Information – This guide is designed to help readers learn how to find and use LMI to make good decisions about your education, your career, your workplace, your community, and your life.

Guide to Using Labour Market Information in Ontario – 2005 publication from MTCU, designed to make the concepts around LMI more understandable and accessible (also available in French).


Labour Market Ottawa (LMO) – LMI – Labour Market Information section offers a variety of information, including sector specific reports on the labour market at the local level and links to broader sector reports; also links to Ontario Labour Market information.

Working in Canada Job Market Trends and News – Ottawa Region – Highlights news stories and developments in the labour market with a focus on Ottawa and surrounds.


ESDC – Ontario Labour Market Bulletins – Monthly bulletins highlighting important trends in the provincial labour markets which also include a section focusing on a different region each month.

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Labour Market Information – Information and reports on trends in the labour market, both at provincial and regional levels; specific data on employment trends, as well as information on 190 common occupations in the Ontario Job Futures section; access to monthly reports on the provincial labour market.



BuildForce Canada  Highlight reports

Information and Communications Technology

ICTC  Research and Policy

Natural Resources and Utilities

Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council  AgriLMI

Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters  LibraryandLMI study

Canadian Skills Training and Employment Coalition  LMI (Manufacturing)

Mining Industry Human Resources Council  LMI, Research and Publications

Electricity Human Resources Canada  Labour Market Intelligence

Petroleum Services Association of Canada  PetroLMI

Wood products

Wood Manufacturing Council  Reports

Thegreenestworkforce.ca  Labour Market Information (Forest products industry)


BioTalent Canada  Labour Market Research

Environmental Careers Organization of Canada  Labour Supply Issues


Canadian Apprenticeship Forum  Research and Reports

Aviation and Aerospace

Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace  Labour Market Intelligence

Supply Chain

Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council  LMI Toolkit


Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council  Labour Market Information

Ottawa Tourism  Publications


TruckingHR Canada  Job Board


Cultural Human Resources Council  Research

Apparel Manufacturing

Apparel Connexion  Labour Market Information study

Food processing

Food Processing HR Council  Industry Information


HR Council  Labour Market Information

Understanding apprenticeship

An apprentice is someone who learns a skilled trade on the job, under the direction of more experienced workers. Apprentices also complete classroom instruction as a part of their training.  Becoming an apprentice can be an important first step to learning new skills and building a rewarding career. Jobs in the skilled trades pay well, and are interesting and challenging. Plus, you earn while you learn.


Co-Op Diploma Apprenticeship Programs – Co-Op Diploma Apprenticeship programs allow you to get apprenticeship training while earning a college diploma.

Employment Ontario – Work in the trades – Employment Ontario has services right across Ontario that can help you become an apprentice.

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) – OYAP allows high school students to learn about apprenticeship training and have an opportunity to begin apprenticeship training while they are still in high school.

Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program – This program helps unemployed individuals upgrade and develop the job skills which can lead to an apprenticeship.


Ontario College of Trades – Find out which trades require certification in Ontario from the Ontario College of Trades.


Apprenticeship Completion Employer Bonus – A taxable $1000 maximum cash grant to Employers for each apprentice they hire and train that has completed his or her apprenticeship and received a Certificate of Apprenticeship and, where applicable, a Certificate of Qualification.

Apprenticeship Completion Bonus in Non-Red Seal Trades – A taxable cash grant of $2,000 available to registered apprentices after they successfully complete their apprenticeship training and obtain their Certificate of Apprenticeship and, where available, their Certificate of Qualification in any Ontario non-Red Seal trade, on or after April 1, 2009.

Apprenticeship Scholarship – You may qualify for a $1,000 scholarship to help pay for your training.

Co-Op Diploma Apprenticeship Programs – Allows students to get apprenticeship training while earning a college diploma.

Loans for tools – The Loans for Tools program can help you buy the equipment you need to get started to work in your new trade.

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) – Allows students to begin their apprenticeship training while they are still in high school.

Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program – Helps students develop the job skills they will need before beginning an apprenticeship.

Support to Non-Employment Insurance Eligible Apprentices During In-School Training – This initiative will provide up to $1,500 of taxable financial supports for apprentices who are not eligible for federal Employment Insurance (EI) who attend full time in-school training at a Delivery Agency approved by the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities.

Service Canada – The federal government’s Apprenticeship Incentive Grant(AIG) is a taxable cash grant of $1,000 per year for registered apprentices once they have successfully completed their first or second year/level (or equivalent) of an apprenticeship program in one of the Red Seal trades. The AIG is meant to encourage apprentices to complete their apprenticeship program and achieve their Red Seal by helping them cover some of their expenses for tuition, travel and tools.


Power of Trades – Pre-employment bridge-training program designed to help internationally-trained tradespeople and immigrants access jobs and pathways to Ontario certification in skilled trades.


Apprenticesearch: Apprenticeship information – Information to help employment counselors working with clients interested in apprenticeships.

Power of Trades: List of Apprenticeable trades – Quick reference list of apprenticeable trades chart that reflects recent changes brought on by the implementation of the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT).

What is an Apprentice? The ROI On Apprenticeship – Rogers TV video with information about what it means to be an apprentice.

Considering entrepreneurship

If you are working with a client who is considering entrepreneurship, you can point them to some of the self-assessments below to help them to determine their suitability.

Entrepreneurial Potential Self-Assessment – Online questionnaire developed by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

Entrepreneurship Quiz – Developed by the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre to determine strengths and weaknesses as a potential entrepreneur (pdf file).

Exploring One’s Suitability for Entrepreneurship – Information on the WorkInk website, geared toward persons with disabilities who are considering entrepreneurship.

Manitoba Career Development – Entrepreneur – Information to determine whether self-employment is the right option links to tools and resources.

Self-Employment: A Career Option for You? – A tip sheet with many tips and links to additional resources and tools for those considering self-employment.

Should You Become an Entrepreneur – A handbook prepared by DECA, a US-based organization, that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.

Starting and Growing a Business: Entrepreneurial Assessment Checklist – Assessment prepared by the Government of Alberta.

Please also see the Entrepreneurship page for information for those who are interested in taking the entrepreneurship route.

Taking the entrepreneurship route

If you are working with a client who is considering entrepreneurship, you can point them to some of the self-assessments below to help them to determine their suitability on the Considering Entrepreneurship page.

If a client decides that they want to pursue entrepreneurship, there is a wide variety of programs and support in Ottawa and online resources to which you can point them.


Aboriginal Business Canada – Helps Aboriginal entrepreneurs and organizations achieve their business goals.

Canada Business Ontario  1.888.745.8888 – Free telephone research and information service with requests answered in five business days; multilingual Info-Guides and How to Guides that provide valuable information on many aspects of starting a business.

City of Ottawa Business Portal – Information on starting, running and expanding a business with a focus on municipal resources and requirements.

Fresh Founders Ottawa – Source for connecting with local entrepreneurship resources.

Hope Ventures (Bethany Hope Centre) – A ten-week, 15 hours/week Entrepreneurship Training Program including: First Aid/CPR, Food Handlers Course, WHMIS, Leadership, Financial Literacy, Computer Technology, Customer Service and Business Development. Participants will have the opportunity to be placed with a business mentor and apply for a $1,500.00 START UP GRANT for their very own business idea!

Innovation Works – Part of the “Ready.Set.Work.” initiative, provides an opportunity for at-risk youth ages 16-29 to explore, replicate, start-up and receive supports to start businesses in Ottawa.

Invest Ottawa – Starting a Business Basics – Provides several resources for entrepreneurs looking to start their own business, ranging from FAQs, an accelerator program, business workshops and seminars, and one-on-one meetings with experienced mentors.

Launch! (Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre) – A 12-week program to inspire and prepare youth to start their own business.

Ottawa Public Library Business Service – Helps local businesses find the information they need to be successful and stay competitive. Clients include existing businesses, new start-ups, and business students. Online resourcesinclude a business directory and business plans handbooks.  Free business consultation.

Ottawa Public Library Directory of Business Services – List of local services for entrepreneurs and businesses.

Parent Enterprise Program (Bethany Hope Centre) – Teaches young parents how to choose, develop and market a hand-crafted item. Learn about managing funds, developing a budget and how to set competitive prices for your products and services. Coaching is provided throughout the process.

Public Library list of Government Services for Entrepreneurs – Links to different government programs for entrepreneurs.


Aboriginal Capital Corporations – Network of Aboriginal Financial Institutions dedicated to supporting Aboriginal business development.

Business Development Bank of Canada – Financing for businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as advice and other resources.

Capital Angel Network – Entrepreneurs can submit an application for consideration to the Capital Angel Network. The Capital Angel Network can also facilitate introductions to other potential investors.

ODSP Employment Support – Provides support to people with disabilities to start their own business.

Ottawa Community Loan Fund – Loans and other financing packages for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Ontario Self Employment Benefit Program (OSEB) – Support for job-seekers looking at starting their own business.


Code Factory – Shared office space where entrepreneurs can work and connect.

Exploriem – Office space and other resources for those looking to start their own business.

HUB Ottawa – Forum for networking and collaboration between entrepreneurs as well as a shared workspace.

Invest Ottawa Entrepreneurship Centre – Resources for aspiring entrepreneurs and information about seminars and events on entrepreneurship.

Invest Ottawa Mentorship & Business Advice – Mentors work with a company from inception to the first rounds of investment and beyond. This includes a service plan for all portfolio clients.

Mercury Grove – Startup accelerator in Ottawa that helps build the entrepreneurial community.

Ontario Works: Self Employment – An Ontario Works employment activity that supports participants, who have a realistic business idea, to successfully develop their business (generally full-time but part-time may be approved).

Ottawa Young Entrepreneurs – Collaborative project between the four Ottawa post-secondary institutions designed to provide resources, mentorship and other programs to help young entrepreneurs succeed.

Startup Canada – Network for entrepreneurs to share information, resources, and engage in the entrepreneurial community.