Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations define work as “an activity for which wages are paid, or commission is earned or that competes directly with activities of Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents in the Canadian Labour Market.”
In most cases, the first step to obtaining a Canadian work permit is to receive a job offer from a Canadian employer. Once you have a qualifying job offer in place, you can begin the process of applying for your Canadian work permit. When seeking to work in Canada or send workers into Canada, you need to be aware of the applicable requirements. Some workers may be work permit-exempt depending on the type of work they will be doing in Canada and the duration that they will be working in Canada. Other workers may require a work permit and a Labour Market Impact Assessment from the Canadian government confirming the need for a foreign worker to enter the Canadian workforce. In some cases, workers are exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment requirement due to government directives and international trade agreements.
Individuals of a certain age whose countries have an agreement in place with Canada can
apply for an open work permit for up to two years in duration without a job offer through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, which includes working
Canada offers two types of work permits: open work permits and employer-specific work permits. Open work permits allow you to work for almost any employer in Canada, in any part of Canada. Employer-specific work permits only will enable you to work for the employer named on your work permit at the location listed on your work permit.
Apply for a work permit
Once you have received a job offer from a Canadian employer, in most cases, the next step is for the employer to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment to allow them to hire a foreign national. You will also be required to submit a copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment with your work permit application if applicable.
Once you have the approved Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in place, you can then proceed to submit your work permit application. Canadian work permit applications can be submitted online through the Government of Canada website.
When applying for a Canadian work permit, you may be able to obtain permits for your spouse and dependent children to accompany you to Canada. Also, depending on the level of the position being offered to you, your spouse may be eligible for an Open Work Permit. For any children who wish to accompany you to Canada, you need to remember that only children under the age of 22 can be included with your application.
Who is exempt from requiring a work permit?
Those entering Canada to perform certain activities may be exempt from requiring a Work Permit. Below is a list of those exemptions with a brief description. Certain other restrictions may apply:
Who is exempt from requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?
Certain individuals seeking to work in Canada may require a Canadian work permit but may be exempt from requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). If the Canadian employer is exempt from obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), in some cases they will need to register your job offer through an online portal and pay a Canadian Employer Compliance Fee of $230.00.
Click here to view a simplified list of those who would be exempt from requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).