Since July 4, 2012, Minister Instructions have been in place that prohibit temporary foreign workers in Canada from working in a business that is in a sector where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation of some workers.  The Ministerial Instructions define the business sectors where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation as being strip clubs, escort services and massage parlours.

When receiving applications for work permits made by foreign nationals seeking to work in a business that is in a sector where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation, officers will not process the applications.

As well, all work permits advise temporary foreign workers of the restriction, as they typically state “not valid for employment in businesses related to the sex trade such as strip clubs, massage parlours or escort services.

Employment and Social Development Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program WIKI provides the following additional guidance.

Sex Industry: An employer that engages in striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massage on a regular basis (eg. daily, weekly or monthly).

  • Striptease and erotic dance: activities involving nudity. A business that engages in activities without nudity that may be interpreted as sexually suggestive (e.g. modelling) is not considered to be an employer offering striptease or erotic dance.
  • Escort Services: The provision of services that are sexual in nature or for romantic companionship.
  • Erotic Massage: The provision of massage services that are sexual in nature. This does not include massage activities undertaken for therapeutic reasons (e.g. performed by Registered Massage Therapists).

Examples: 

  • An LMIA application received from an employer that hosts weekly strip dance shows should not be processed. however, an LMIA application received from an employer that previously hosted a one-time strip dance event may be processed.
  • An LMIA application from an employer who operates a strip club should not be processed even if the request is for a bartender, waitress or accountant.
  • An LMIA application by the same owner for other businesses he/she may own that do not regularly offer services in the sex trade could be processed.