Work in Canada

Generally, a foreign national who wishes to work in Canada must receive permission to do so by applying for a work permit. In some situations, a work permit is tied to a specific employer; in other cases, the work permit may be “open,” and some workers do not require a work permit at all.

There are two distinguished programs for worker class in Canada called Temporary Foreign Worker Program and International Mobility program.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

 The objective of TFWP is to assist employers who have demonstrated a need to fill jobs for which there are no qualified Canadians. Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), foreign workers are generally required to have a genuine job offer from a Canadian employer who has obtained an LMIA and a work permit

  • Under the TFWP, employers must be actively engaged in the business where the temporary foreign worker (TFW) will be employed, and must have an operating/ functioning business, providing either a good or a service related to the job offer made to the TFW.
  • Employers must obtain an LMIA and demonstrate that they have made extensive efforts to find suitable Canadian or permanent resident candidates and that none are available to fill the position in question.
  • Employers must pay $1,000 for each position requested to cover the cost of processing the LMIA application.

International Mobility Program (IMP):

International Mobility Program (IMP):

The program objective is to advance and enhance Canada’s broad economic and cultural national interests.

  • Temporary workers under the International Mobility Program (IMP), for example business workers, may (or may not) require a work permit  depending on the reason and type of work to be performed, and
  • There is generally an exemption for the employer from having to obtain an LMIA

The IMP includes all streams of work permit applications that are LMIA-exempt under one umbrella, including exemptions under NAFTA and other free trade agreements. Despite being exempt from the LMIA provision, a foreign national may obtain a work permit only after the prospective employer has submitted a job offer and other relevant information to IRCC.

The next step is to secure a work permit based on the LMIA supported Job Offer.  Generally speaking, the following requirements shall be included in the application:

  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (if applicable)
  • Temporary resident visa / eTA (if applicable)
  • Job offer / contract
  • Proof of financial support
  • Police certificate and medical examination

Work Without a Permit

Despite everything about the requirements for work permits, not everyone is required to obtain one. The rule here is that the foreign worker is not participating in an activity that is in direct competition with the activities of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Their entry is temporary and for a limited duration. The following persons may work without a work permit:

  • a business visitor;
  • a diplomat;
  • a visiting member of a foreign armed forces;
  • an in-flight security officer of commercial passenger aircraft security;
  • a full-time student for work on the campus of the university or college at which they are a full-time student;
  • a performing artist;
  • an athlete as a participant of a foreign-based team or Canadian amateur team;
  • an employee of a foreign news company reporting on events in Canada;
  • a member of the clergy;
  • a judge, referee, or similar official at an international amateur sports competition, an international cultural or artistic event or competition, or an animal or agricultural competition;
  • an examiner or evaluator of research proposals or university projects, programs, or theses;
  • an expert witness before a tribunal or court of law;
  • a medical student or clinical clerk at a medical teaching institution in Canada to acquire training;
  • a civil aviation inspector or cabin safety of a commercial air carrier operating international flights;
  • an accredited representative or adviser participating in an aviation accident or incident investigation;
  • a member of a crew;
  • an emergency medical service provider; and
  • an applicant with implied status who has remained in Canada after the expiry of their work permit or study permit and who has continued to comply with the conditions set out on the expired permit, other than the expiry date.
  • a guest speaker;
  • a member of the executive or administrative support staff of a committee that is organizing a convention or meeting in Canada;

Open Work Permit

An open work permit has the advantage of not being job-specific; thus, a foreign national with an open work permit may work for any Canadian employer without first having an employment contract with a positive LMIA.

An officer may issue one of two types of open work permits, with or without occupational restrictions, depending on the applicant’s medical status:

  • Unrestricted. It is generally issued to a foreign national who has passed a medical examination; it allows the applicant to work in any occupation, for any employer, at any location.
  • Restricted. It is issued to a foreign national and allows the applicant to work for an unspecified employer, but the occupation is restricted for public health reasons because the applicant has not passed a medical examination, or the occupation is restricted owing to the applicant’s medical condition.