Do I need a Work Permit?

27th Jan 2012 Comments Off on Do I need a Work Permit?

Last updated on August 14th, 2019

The issue of whether a foreign national needs a work permit is often confusing.  In January 2012, I wrote the following article for The Canadian Immigrant.

Do I Require a Work Permit

In October, the Vancouver Sun ran a story about an employer who was convicted of misrepresentation.  The individual had told his employees to falsely tell border officials that the employees were enteringCanadafor pleasure, as opposed to working briefly at a festival in Whistler. Presumably the employer’s objective in having his employees say this was to avoid having to apply for work permits.

There is no question that lying to border officials constitutes misrepresentation.  What is ironic about the employer’s situation is that from what I could tell (based on the Vancouver Sun article) his employees could have been honest about their intentions to work at the festival and still not required work permits.

The reason is simple: Canada’s immigration laws are clear that not all work requires a work permit.

What is Work?

Before getting into examples of work that do not require a work permit, it is necessary to review what work does.

The concept of work for immigration purposes is broader than many people realize.  “Work” is 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.

The second part of the definition is extremely important, because it implies that unpaid work can still count as work requiring a work permit.

Examples of work requiring a work permit thus include foreign technicians enteringCanadato repair equipment, self-employment, or volunteer employment undertaken for the purpose of obtaining work experience.

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