There are exceptions to every general rule; the same applies to the request for work permit before a foreign national can legitimately work in Canada. Foreign nationals may seek employment to work legitimately in Canada without work permit if they are employed to work in one of the following jobs:
Canada Jobs without Work Permit
- Public Speakers: These are guest speakers for precise events, commercial speakers and seminar leaders. The speaking engagements must not exceed five days. There may be some circumstance where a speaker would require a work permit and LMIA, they are:
- Commercial speakers who are hired by a Canadian business to provide training services.
- Guest athletics instructors coming to teach weekend seminars.
- Convention Organizers: These are persons (individuals, committee, support staffs) responsible for organizing convention or conference in Canada such as Corporate Meetings, Association Meetings, Trade Shows or Exhibition, Consumer Shows or Exhibition. This exempt from work permit for Convention Organizers does not include “hands-on” workers who provide installation and dismantling services, audio-visual services, decoration service or exhibit building services.
Nevertheless, a convention organizer will have to obtain a work permit if they are organizing an event for an organization under the under-listed circumstance:
- actively doing business in Canada
- centered in Canada
- has a subsidiary branch in Canada
- Clergy: A person preaching doctrine, presiding at religious events or providing spiritual guidance will be exempt from the work permit requirement. Peoples who do not perform the work above although are engaged in religiously based community service activities will have to obtain work permit but do not need to get a LMIA.
Persons seeking entry to Canada under the Clergy category must be able to provide evidence concerning:
- The genuineness of their religious employment offer
- The authenticity of the religious group that is offering the job
- The ability of the clergyman to perform clerical duties for a congregation of the relevant religious group (e.g. ordination certificate)
- Sports Judges, Referees and Similar Officials: Judges, referees and similar officials may work in Canada without a work permit if they are involved in any of the under-listed:
- An international amateur sports contest
- organized by an international amateur sporting association and hosted by a Canadian organization.
- international cultural or artistic event or contest
- an animal or agricultural contest
Referees for professional sporting leagues are normally required to obtain a work permit and a LMIA.
- Examiners and Evaluators: Successful academics that direct students and review their work will be allowed to enter Canada and work without a work permit in order to review their students’ thesis and papers
6. Expert Witnesses or Investigators: This refers to persons:
- entering Canada to conduct surveys or analyses that will be used as evidence before a regulatory body, tribunal or court of law
- entering Canada to serve as an expert witness before a regulatory body, tribunal or court of law
- Civil Aviation Inspectors: This refers to flight operations inspectors and cabin safety inspectors who enter Canada temporarily while inspecting the safety procedures on commercial international flights. They are exempt from the work permit requirement.
8. Aviation Accident or Incident Inspectors: These are accredited representatives or advisors that aid in the investigation of aviation accidents or incidents under the authority of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act, theyare exempt from the work permit requirement.
- Emergency Service Providers: These are persons who come to Canada for the purpose of rendering services in times of emergency such as:
- Medical teams
They are exempt from work permit requirement. The emergency may be due to medical, industrial or natural disaster.
- Implied Status: A worker whose work permit is expired may continue working in Canada under the conditions of an expired work permit in as much as such worker have applied for a new permit before the initial work permit expired.
- Farm Work: A person may work on a farm without a work permit under the following circumstances:
- The farm work is on a volunteer basis
- The person’s primary reason for coming to Canada was something other than the farm work (such as tourism or visiting family/friends)
- The farm work is non-commercial.
- Business Visitor: A business visitor is a foreign worker who requests to enter Canada to carry out international business activities for their employer without directly entering the Canadian labor market.
13. Foreign Representatives and Their Family Members: Foreign Representatives and Their Family Members are persons enter Canada as foreign representatives. They are allowed to work without a work permit if they are is employed as a foreign representative to work under the category listed below:
- Accredited foreign representative by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).
- Persons entering Canada to carry out official duties under the following circumstances:
- Diplomatic agent
- Consular officer
- Representative or official of a country other than Canada
- Representative or official of the United Nations
- Representative or official of a United Nations agency
- Representative or official of an international organization of which Canada is a member
Family members of the foreign representatives as stated above will as a rule be able to work in Canada without a work permit provided they are issued a “no-objection letter” by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (DFATD).
- Military Personnel: Military Personnel: Military personnel who ordered to work in Canada do not need a work permit in as much as they are serving a country that is designated under the Visiting Forces Act. For This work permit exemption applies to military personnel and not “military attachés”, who are employed by diplomatic missions.
- Foreign Government Officers: Foreign Government Officers are usually allowed to work in Canada by virtue of an agreement which allows the foreign nation to send an officer to work in a department or agency of the Canadian Federal government or a Canadian Provincial Government.
16. On-Campus Work: Post-secondary students who are on a full-time program may work without a work permit on the campus of the school at which they study. They are exempted from work permit to the extent that the student continues to hold a valid study permit and continues to study at the school. The permit exemption also applies to students who are working as teaching assistants or research assistants.
For the avoidance of doubt, “On-campus work” is defined as work at a location within the boundaries of a post-secondary institution or school campus.
- Performing Artists: Performing artists are also allowed into Canada without a work permit. A list of persons regarded as performing artists are as follows:
- Foreign-based musical and theatrical performers or groups and their indispensable crew
- Street performers
- Disc Jockey (DJs)
- Traveling festival performers
- Guest artists who are performing with a Canadian performance group for a limited time engagement. In order for a guest artist to be exempted from the work permit prerequisite, it must be apparent that the guest artist will cease their work with the Canadian group after a certain period of time.
- Wrestlers from the World Wrestling Entertainment Incorporated and similar groups
- Persons performing for a limited time at a private event, for instance a wedding
- Air show performers
- Artists attending a workshop and this entry are only allowed for five days or less
- Athletes and Team Members: Professionals or amateur athletes born in foreign countries may participate individually or as a team in Canadian sporting events without having to obtain a work permit. Coaches, trainers and other significant team members are also exempt from the work permit prerequisite. Spouses of professional athletes working in Canada must obtain a work permit but are excused from the Labor Impact Market Assessment (LMIA) requirement.
A Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that an employer in Canada may obtain as a condition precedent before hiring a foreign worker. A positive LMIA will demonstrate that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker is available to do the job.
19. News Reporters and Media Crews: News reporters and their crews traveling to Canada for the purpose of reporting on events in Canada are not required to obtain a work permit. Journalists working for print broadcast or Internet news service providers are also exempt from obtaining work permit provided the new company is not Canadian.
Employees of foreign news companies who work as correspondents in Canada are also exempt from work permit provided they are not managerial or clerical workers. Nevertheless, managerial and clerical workers will be exempt from work permit if they are covering a special event that is six months or less in duration. Individuals who operate blimps that assist in media coverage of major sporting events are also exempt from the work permit requirement.
- Crew: A crewmember who works on any means of international transport does not require work permit to work in Canada. The transport vehicle must be foreign-owned and not registered in Canada. The duties of the crewmember must be related to the operation or maintenance of the transport vehicle or the provision of services to passengers.
- Off-Campus Work: Some foreign students are allowed to work off campus without a work permit in Canada for up to 20 hours a week during a regular academic semester. Such students may also work full time during scheduled breaks or holidays such as summer/winter holidays and reading week. This exception only applies in cases where:
- The student must be a valid study permit holder.
- The student’s academic program is a full time and enrolled at a designated learning institution.
- The program in which the student is enrolled is a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program, or a vocational training program at the secondary level offered in Quebec.
- The program of study is at least six months or more in duration and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate.
- The student continues to fulfill the terms and conditions of their study permit.
- The student works no more than 20 hours a week during a regular academic semester.
Foreign students are ineligible for this exception if they:
- Are a visiting or exchange student.
- Are registered in a general interest program.
- Are registered in an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program.
- Foreign Health Care Student: These are foreign students who are registered at a foreign university who may work in a clinical clerkship or short-term practicum without a work permit in as much as they are studying in one of the following fields:
- Occupational and physical therapy
- Medical Technology
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