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Work Permit



Each year, Canadawelcomes close to 100,000 foreign nationals who come to work in Canada.

Canadian citizens and Canadian Permanent Residents have the right to work in Canada. As a general rule, most other individuals require a Canadian Work Permit, issued by a Canadian immigration official, before beginning to work in Canada.

Work in Canada – Basic Facts

  • For Canadian immigration purposes, "work" is defined as an activity for which remuneration is earned or as an activity that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents in the Canadian labour market.
  • Canadian immigration authorities require a Work Permit for a limited number of work related activities in Canada.
  • A job offer from a Canadian employer is usually a prerequisite to receiving a Canadian Work Permit.
  • In some instances, Canadian immigration regulations allow for "Open" Work Permits, which are not employer specific.
  • Work Permits are always temporary in nature, but can often be extended from inside Canada.
  • Normally, Work Permits will only be granted by Canadian immigration authorities if supported by a positive "Labour Market Opinion" (LMO) letter issued by Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), indicating that the proposed employment will not adversely affect Canadian workers. However, certain occupations are considered "under pressure" and some provinces have made arrangements to ease the entry of workers in these occupations.
  • Work Permits may be issued by Canadian immigration officials, without HRSDC involvement, in a limited number of situations, as follows:
  • Under international agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);
  • Due to the significant economic, social or cultural benefits the work activity will bring to Canadians;
  • As part of reciprocal agreements Canada and its provinces/territories have entered into with other countries, such as youth and teacher exchange programs;
  • So that international students studying in Canada can fulfill academic requirements, known as co-op placements;
  • To allow the spouses/common-law partners of Work Permit and certain Study Permit holders in Canada to work in Canada;
  • Because the nature of the work is charitable or religious;
  • In recognition that certain persons in Canada for reasons other than the above-mentioned, such as the making of a refugee claim, need to support themselves.


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