Many people who work for industries that involve the international transport of cargo and passengers frequently enter Canada. These include truck drivers, bus drivers, shipping and airline personnel. We often receive inquiries as to whether these individuals require work permits.
The determination of whether crew on a maritime vessel require a Work Permit to work in Canada depends on whether the vessel meets the definition of “coasting trade” as defined in Canada’s Coasting Trading Act, SC 1992, c 31. The Coasting Trade Act defines “Coasting Trade” as:
the carriage of goods or passengers by ship… from one place in Canada… to any other place in Canada… either directly or by way of a place outside Canada.
Subject to certain exceptions, when a vessel meets the above definition of “coasting trade”, then the vessel’s foreign crew will require a work permit to work in Canada. The reason is because the vessel is involved in cabotage (domestic transportation of goods and services) activities within Canada’s domestic labour market.
A helpful indicator of whether a foreign vessel meets the definition of “Coasting Trade” is whether the vessel is required to possess a coasting trade license. If it does, then it is very likely that the vessel meets the definition of “Coasting Trade.”
The following situations are examples of scenarios where a foreign crew on a vessel would require a Work Permit:
- Where a cruise ship embarks passengers at a Canadian port and disembarks any of these passengers permanently at another Canadian port. For example, a cruise ship which embarks in Vancouver, disembarks permanently some people in Victoria, and then disembarks the remainder in Anchorage would likely require a Work Permit.