Here is some advice obtained from a student who worked very hard to get a job. I recognize this advice won't help everyone: in particular he didn't have to worry about visa/immigration issues. He generated many interviews: eventually he accepted a position with a large international consulting firm with a relatively small Toronto office.
1. His most important advice is that too many students feel that the only employment possibilities are government or big banks. There are lots of other businesses that hire economists. His favourite approach was to go to www.yellowpages.ca and under "category" type phrases such as "economics", "economic consulting", "economic development", "management consultants", "market research", "market analysis" and "statistical analysis". He would ignore the "business name" field. He used province as his geographical area. You could enter a city name if desired but he cautions against this: you might be looking for a job in the Toronto area and miss a good possibility in Aurora or Whitby or Richmond Hill. Since he has done this I have developed my list of employers which includes some of these sorts of firms but there are still more out there. Besides you may be interested in a job in Winnipeg or Atlanta (or Manchester or Singapore).
2. He would then do a google search on potential businesses. He was surprised how many market research firms doing quantitative analysis there were, and many of them were outside of big cities.
3. If from the website it seemed as if they might possibly be interested in a person with his skills, he would send them a resumé and a cover letter, by either mail or email. He didn't worry about what the website said about whether they were hiring or not. His reasoning is that (a) websites are often out of date (b) openings could come up at any time and unexpectedly and (c) many junior positions are not advertised or even posted because it too difficult to go through the mounds of resumés they generate.
4. He said he also used "business directories" for specific cities he was interested in to find businesses not included in the yellow pages. I tried this a bit and thought http://www.finditintoronto.com was not bad for this purpose.
5. He thought general internet job sites were not that helpful except they possibly can give indications as to which firms are hiring. (If the firm is seeking senior positions, quite possibly it will also be thinking about junior positions which it might not necessarily advertise, given that an ad can bring in thousands of applications which need to be dealt with.)
6. Regarding resumés: "everyone has an opinion" but he thinks it doesn't matter that much as long as the resumé is easy to read and error-free. On balance he suggests a slightly more detailed resumé than the standard one or two pages (I agree with this) if it is fleshed out with brief three or four line descriptions of the research projects you did as an undergraduate or graduate student. Keep the cover letter brief and target it to the ad and the employer.
7. Following the above process, he notes he also had a couple of interviews with large retail chains who were looking for people as "data analysts" or "supply chain analysts".
8. He recommends any edition of the book "What Color is Your Parachute?" which you should be able to find either at the careers centre or at a library. (The McMaster University library has two copies.) Its site is http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/