Work in Canada without a Work Permit
A number of situations may occur when an individual can perform work in Canada without needing to secure a Temporary Work Permit.
The following scenarios have been identified as instances where foreign nationals may perform work in Canada without a work permit:
When traveling to Canada, business visitors should be prepared to present immigration officials with documentation that attests to their desired status in Canada. This documentation will vary on a case-by-case basis. Often, items such as a letter of support from a parent company or letter of invitation from a Canadian company can help to bolster one’s likelihood of acceptance as a business visitor.
Business visitors may fall into the following sub-categories:
After Sales Service
After-sales service providers may come to Canada to repair, service, supervise installers, and set up and test commercial or industrial equipment. Such services must be detailed in the contract of sale for the equipment in Canada. Individuals coming to Canada to train prospective users or maintenance staff in the operation of specialized equipment may also fall under this category.
Board of Directors Meetings
Employees of Short-Term Temporary Residents
Individuals who are employed in a personal capacity, on a full-time basis, by temporary residents in Canada may be considered business visitors. An example of professions that may be eligible under this category include domestic servants, personal assistants or live-in caregivers. If the short-term temporary resident, and subsequently their employee(s), extends their stay past 6 months, a Labour Market Impact Assessment and Work Permit may need to be secured for the employee(s).
Employees of Foreign Companies Contracting Canadian Companies
Foreign Representatives and their Family Members
Foreign representatives, as well as their personal staff and family members, may work in Canada without a work permit. Foreign representatives should be accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Diplomatic representatives to United Nations offices in Canada are also covered by this exception.
Foreign Government Officers
Canada is party to agreements with other countries that call for international exchange of government employees. Through such agreements, foreign workers may be brought to Canada to work for a department or agency in either the federal or provincial government(s). These individuals do not work for a foreign mission or organization, and are not accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).
Officers working in this capacity at an executive level require a contract from Canada’s Public Service Commission (PSC). Officers working below an executive capacity do not require a contract, though assignments lasting longer than three months should include a formal letter of agreement between the officer and their Canadian employer.
American Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Officers
In-Flight Security Officers (IFSOs)
On-campus work authorization is valid for the duration of the study permit, provided the student remains in full-time studies. Employment may cover a range of standard jobs on campus. For institutions with multiple campuses, students may consider their work ‘on-campus’ if it takes place at a campus within the same municipality. An individual attending an institution with campuses in different cities is restricted to working on-campus in their city of residence.
Athletes and Team Members
1) Amateur players on Canadian teams 2)Foreign pet owners entering their own animals in a show 3) Jockeys racing horses from foreign-based stables 4) Race car drivers 5) Individuals attending professional team tryouts 6) Foreign team members participating in a competition in Canada 7) Grooms or team support members 8)Full or part-time coaches and trainers
News Reporters, Media Crews
News reporters and their crews who come to Canada in order to report on events in the country may do so without a work permit. These can include journalists, provided the company they work for is not Canadian. However, this does not include managerial or clerical personnel unless these individuals are covering special events that will last for six months or less.
Commercial speakers in this category will have a vested interest in the event in which they are speaking. Usually, this means that they will rent a commercial space, advertise for the event, charge admission, etc. Commercial speakers who are hired by a Canadian entity must secure a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and work permit for their time in Canada.
This category covers individuals who come to Canada to organize a convention or conference, as well as the administrative support staff of the organizing committee. These events may be corporate meetings, trade shows, exhibitions, etc. Hands-on service providers, such as audio-visual specialists, are not included in this category.
An individual who preaches, oversees religious services, or provides spiritual counselling as a profession may work in Canada without a work permit. Individuals may be ordained ministers, laypeople, or members of a religious order. It is not mandatory that the temporary worker be part of or share the beliefs of the particular religious community where they will work. The primary duties of the temporary worker should reflect a particular religious objective, such as providing religious instruction or promoting a particular faith.
Individuals seeking entry to Canada under this exemption should provide documentation attesting to the following:
Judges, Referees, and Similar Officials
Judges, referees, etc may come to Canada to participate in international amateur sports, artistic, agricultural or cultural events and competitions. Amateur sports competitions should be organized by an international amateur sport organization and should be hosted by a Canadian organization. In this case, amateur is defined as a competition in which athletes are not paid to compete. Judges, referees and similar officials who will participate in professional sports competitions must receive a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and work permit.
Examiners and Evaluators
Expert Witnesses or Investigators
Health Care Students
Foreign health care students studying at foreign institutions may participate in clinical clerkships or short-term practicums in Canada without obtaining work permits. Students may be studying in fields such as medicine, nursing, medical technology and occupational and physical therapy. Such practicums should be unpaid and last no more than four months. Foreign health care students who will be remunerated for their work, or who will spend more than four months in Canada, will require a work permit.
Civil Aviation Inspectors
Aviation Accident or Incident Inspector
Crew members do not need a work permit if they are working on a means of transportation that is foreign-owned, not registered in Canada, and engaged primarily in international transportation. They may work in an operation, maintenance, or passenger service capacity. Laws governing work conducted by crews on different modes of transportation vary greatly. As such, it is important to make sure that one’s work will in fact be eligible for a work permit exemption before coming to Canada.
Emergency Service Providers
Workers who will enter Canada to provide services in times of emergency may do so without a work permit. The purpose of their work should be preserving life and property in the face of natural disasters or commercial accidents. Canada has specifically entered into agreements with the United States to facilitate the movement of emergency aid workers across the border between the two countries. These workers may be doctors or medical teams as well as appraisers and foreign insurance adjusters.