Regulation 205(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides that a work permit may be issued to a foreign national without the employer needing to first obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment if the the employment of the foreign national in Canada would create or maintain reciprocal employment of Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada in other countries.
Some obvious examples of where such work permits are frequently issued include in sports leagues such as the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, as well as the Canada World Youth exchange. International Experience Canada, including its most popular program – the Working Holiday Program – also falls under this Labour Market Impact Assessment, as do reciprocal employment arrangements in academia.
What is less commonly known, however, is that multinational corporations can also take advantage of this Labour Market Impact Assessment exemption. To qualify, the employer must demonstrate that reciprocity exists. This can be demonstrated by a work contract (if it provides evidence of reciprocity), a Human Resources Global Mobility Policy that demonstrates a balance of bilateral flow, and/or other documents that show that Canadian foreign workers benefit from the ability to travel abroad within the company.
As the CIC website states, it is not necessary that there be exact reciprocity, but the general order of magnitude of exchanges should be reasonably similar on an annual basis.
When the entities involved have no history of conducting reciprocal exchanges with Canada, CIC will initially limit work permits to a small number of individuals and inform employers that subsequent work permits be issued only when reciprocity has been demonstrated. Officers can consider not only the number of individuals working in Canada and abroad, but also employment duration and job level.Read more ›
Last updated on September 20th, 2019
Does a professional ballet teacher require a work permit and a Labour Market Impact Assessment to give a 4 day seminar in Vancouver? The answer is.. it depends.
Section 186(j) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“) provides that:
Work Without a Work Permit
186. A foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit
(j) as a guest speaker for the sole purpose of making a speech or delivering a paper at a dinner, graduation, convention or similar function, or as a commercial speaker or seminar leader delivering a seminar that lasts no longer than five days;
No Work Permit Required
In accordance with IRPR 186(j), the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) website explicitly states that guest speakers for specific events, including as an academic speaker at a university or college function, and commercial speakers or seminar leaders, can enter Canada to work without a work permit provided the seminar to be given by the foreign speaker does not last longer than five days.
CIC defines a seminar as “a small class at a university, etc. for discussion and research, or a short intensive course of study, or a conference of specialists.”
CIC defines commercial speakers as “people who sell tickets or registrations to people who come to hear them speak on a particular topic.” CIC further states that commercial speakers have a vested interest in the event at which they are speaking. Typically, they rent commercial space in a hotel, advertise, charge admission, deliver the event and then leave Canada.
Where the speaker is speaking to multiple groups, then as long as the duration of the speaking events is in total no more than five days,Read more ›
Last updated on July 22nd, 2018
I was recently asked whether an opera singer working in Canada for three months requires a work permit and a Labour Market Impact Assessment. The answer is.. it depends.
Section 186(g) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“) provides that:
Work Without a Work Permit
186. A foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit
(g) as a performing artist appearing alone or in a group in an artistic performance — other than a performance that is primarily for a film production or a television or radio broadcast — or as a member of the staff of such a performing artist or group who is integral to the artistic performance, if
(i) they are part of a foreign production or group, or are a guest artist in a Canadian production or group, performing a time-limited engagement, and
(ii) they are not in an employment relationship with the organization or business in Canada that is contracting for their services.
No Work Permit Required
Examples of performing artists who do not need a work permit to work in Canada include:
- Foreign-based musical and theatrical individuals and groups and their essential crew;
- street performers (buskers), DJs;
- a foreign or traveling circus;
- guest artists (not employed) within a Canadian performance group for a time-limited engagement;
- wrestlers from the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE) (and similar groups);
- persons performing at a private event for a time-limited engagement, such as a wedding;
- air show performers;
- artists working at or attending a showcase or workshop;
Last updated on April 16th, 2020
Canada’s Post-Graduate Work Permit (“PGWP”) program allows international students who have completed certain Canadian post-secondary programs to obtain work permits after graduating. The work permits are open, meaning that the graduates can work for any employer(s) in any Canadian province(s). It is a fantastic program that enhances the competitiveness of Canadian post-secondary institutions internationally, and is normally an essential transitory step for international graduates looking to eventually obtain Canadian permanent residency.
However, every year there are many international students who mistakenly think that they will be eligible to participate in the program after graduating only to discover midway through their studies that they cannot. It is accordingly very important that all international students in Canada understand how the PGWP program works.
Basis in Law
Section 205 of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides the government with the authority to create programs to issue work permits to foreign nationals when it is satisfied that public policy objectives relating to the competiveness of Canada’s economy or academic institutions are met. The PGWP is one of these programs, and detailed information about it can be found on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“) website here.
As the Federal Court has noted in numerous decisions (such as Osahar v. Canada), immigration officers can determine these requirements to be binding.
Eligibility and Validity
Outside of Quebec, in order for an international graduate to obtain a PGWP after graduating, an international student must:
- have a valid study permit when applying for their PGWP;
- have continuously studied full time in Canada, except for the final academic session, where part-time studies are permitted;
Last updated on May 8th, 2019
International Experience Canada (“IEC“) provides young individuals the opportunity to travel and work in Canada. The program has grown considerably since it was introduced in 1951, and in 2016 IEC comprised 22% of International Mobility Program (“IMP“) work permits, making it the largest component of the IMP.
The IEC Programs
Participation in IEC is currently available to the citizens of 34 countries that have a bilateral youth mobility arrangement (a “YMA“) with Canada. The three most common IEC programs are the Working Holiday Program (the “WHP”), the Young Professionals Program (the “YPP“) and the International Co-op Internship (the “IEC Co-Op“). While eligibility requirements vary somewhat for each country, participation is typically open to young adults between the ages of 18 to 30 or 35.
Under the WHP, participating young adults obtain open work permits which allow them to work anywhere in Canada. This is the largest IEC stream, and comprises 81% of IEC.
Under the YPP, participating young adults can obtain employer-specific work permits if they have a job offer that contributes to their professional development related to their field of study and work for the same employer for the duration of their stay.
Under the IEC Co-Op, participating young adults can obtain an employer specific work permit if they are enrolled in a post-secondary institution, have a job offer that is related to their field of study and work for the same employer for the duration of their stay.Read more ›
On July 1, 2015, the Government of Canada published regulations in the Canada Gazette that introduce an Administrative Monetary Penalty (“AMP“) regime into the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP“) and the International Mobility Program (“IMP“). Both Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) and the Ministry of Employment and Social Development (“ESDC“) will administer the AMP. In addition, the regulations will replace the exiting two-year ban period for employer non-compliance with 1, 2, 5, 10 year, and permanent bans.
The amendments will take effect on December 1, 2015.
The Administrative Monetary Penalty Regime
Under the new AMP regime, employer non-compliance will be divided into three types of violations.
Type A violations will include where an employer:
- is unable to demonstrate that any information that it provided in respect of a work permit application was accurate during a period of six years beginning on the first day of the foreign national’s employment;
- did not retain document(s) that relates to employer compliance with cited conditions during a period of six years, beginning on the first day of the foreign national’s employment
- did not have sufficient resources to pay a live-in caregiver(s);
- could not demonstrate that any information that it provided for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“) application was accurate during a period of six years beginning on the first day of the foreign national’s employment;
- did not report at any time and place specified to answer questions and provide documents during an ESDC audit;
- did not produce required documents during an ESDC inspection; and
- did not attend any ESDC inspection, nor give all reasonable assistance to the ESDC officer conducting the inspection.
Type B violations will include where an employer:
- did not comply with federal and provincial laws that regulate employment;
Last updated on August 13th, 2019
“Flagpoling,” also known as “sidedooring,” are terms which describe the process of individuals who are inside Canada travelling briefly to the United States and then upon re-entry to Canada submitting an application at a Canadian port of entry (“POE“). For most individuals who are eligible to flag-pole it is the preferred method to obtain study permits, work permits, and to have their Confirmations of Permanent Residence signed. The reason is because it typically takes a Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA“) officer less than 30 minutes to process an application, whereas it can take Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“) weeks or months to either process an application or schedule a landing interview.
Who Can Flag-Pole (Work Permits)
In the work permit context, regulation 198 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”) provides that:
(1) Subject to subsection (2), a foreign national may apply for a work permit when entering Canada if the foreign national is exempt under Division 5 of Part 9 from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa.
(2) A foreign national may not apply for a work permit when entering Canada if
(a) a determination under section 203 is required, unless
(i) the Department of Employment and Social Development has provided an opinion under paragraph 203(2)(a) in respect of an offer of employment — other than seasonal agricultural employment or employment as a live-in caregiver — to the foreign national, or
(ii) the foreign national is a national or permanent resident of the United States or is a resident of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon;
(b) the foreign national does not hold a medical certificate that they are required to hold under subsection 30(4);Read more ›
On May 21, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) introduced a new Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) exemption for individuals who are coming to Canada to repair industrial or commercial equipment that is no longer under warranty or covered by an after-sales or lease agreement.
The LMIA exemption code is C13.Read more ›
The Ministry of Employment and Social Development (“ESDC”) has announced that there will be several changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”) that will take effect on April 30, 2015.
The changes are:
- Implementation of new High and Low-wage Streams
- Updating the Provincial / Territorial Median Hourly Wages
- Increasing Worker Protections
- Modifying the Method for Calculating the Cap on Low Wage Positions
- Implementing the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) system fully in Quebec
- Updating Regions of Refusal to Process
On February 11, 2015, the Government of Canada publicized amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations that affected most applicants in the International Mobility Program (the “IMP“).
The IMP includes all streams of work permit applications that are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“) process, including workers covered by free trade agreements, people participating in exchange programs like International Experience Canada (“IEC“), provincial nominees, intra-company transferees, post-graduate work permit holders, etc.
In reviewing the changes described below, it is important to understand the distinction between a closed work permit and an open work permit. A closed work permit limits a foreign worker to a particular employer. An open work permit allows the foreign worker to work for any employer.
- The changes consist of:
- Requiring that employers of prospective closed work permit holders in the IMP provide information to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) before their prospective employees apply for work permits;
- Requiring that employers of prospective closed work permit holders pay a $230.00 “employer compliance fee” per employee before their prospective employees apply for work permits; and
- Introducing a new $100.00 “privilege fee” on open work permit applicants.
The Government of Canada has announced that the above changes will all take effect on February 21, 2015.Read more ›
Please note that none of the information on this website should be construed as being legal advice. As well, you should not rely on any of the information contained in this website when determining whether and how to apply to a given program. Canadian immigration law is constantly changing, and the information above may be dated. If you have a question about the contents of this blog, or any question about Canadian immigration law, please contact the Author.
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