Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states that a foreign national may not work or study in Canada unless authorized to do so.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations define work as “an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, or that is in direct competition with the activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market.”
Wages and Commission
Wages includes salary or wages paid by an employer to an employee, remuneration or commission received for fulfilling a service contract, or any other situation where a foreign national receives payment for performing a service. It is clear that an individual who receives payment for services would be working under Canadian immigration law.
Activities that Compete Directly
The IRCC Guidelines states that for unpaid work officers must consider whether there is entry into the labour market. The two relevant factors that officers are to assess are:
- Will they be doing an activity that a Canadian or permanent resident should really have an opportunity to do?
- Will they be engaging in a business activity that is competitive in the marketplace?
The IRCC Guidelines further states that the following are examples of activities that constitute work.
- a foreign technician coming to repair a machine, or otherwise fulfill a contract, even when they will not be paid directly by the Canadian company for whom they are doing the work;
- self-employment, which could constitute a competitive economic activity such as opening a dry- cleaning shop or fast-food franchise. (A self-employed person may also be considered to be working if they receive a commission or payment for services);
- unpaid employment undertaken for the purpose of obtaining work experience,