Work in Canada

A non-Canadian who intends to work in Canada is generally required to possess a work permit or other permission to legally do so. Such authorization may come in various forms, and usually requires advanced approval prior to eligibility to enter Canada for work.


"Work" comprises any task for which there is remuneration by a Canadian source (direct or indirect), or any work that may compete with Canadians in the labour market.


Free Eligibility Evaluation


If you or an employee are seeking temporary eligibility to work in Canada, please complete a Canadian work permit eligibility assessment at no cost to determine which strategy is the best approach in your case. You may also contact us at 1 (800) 686-0483.


Canadian work permits


There are numerous categories or provisions by which a foreign worker can seek a work permit in Canada. However, these usually fall within one of several general classifications that can be used to better understand the procedures. These are:



The selection of the proper classification under which an application is submitted will affect your eligibility for a Canadian work visa. However, it can also have a significant bearing on the requirements of an application, and on the work permit processing delays.


Work Visa Processing


The work permit process varies by case, but there are some general steps that must be followed:

  1. There must typically be arranged work in Canada (with some limited exceptions). Arranged work can take the form of a direct offer of employment from a Canadian company, or a contract with an organization by which an individual is assigned to work in Canada (without being a direct employee of a Canadian company).

  2. If applicable, a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) should be obtained in advance of applying. However, in some circumstances, a case may be exempt from this requirement. In other circumstances, the work in Canada could be subject to an exemption from a work permit under business visitor or other provisions.

  3. In all cases, the application materials must be presented in a thorough and clear manner.

  4. The work permit application must be submitted to the appropriate venue for processing. This may include a visa office abroad, a port of entry (depending on nationality and the nature of the case), or centralized processing offices responsible for pre-screening of port of entry applications (depending on nationality and the nature of the case).

There are multiple methods by which to submit and process many applications. Differences in these methods can have a significant impact on the requirements and, possibly, the outcome of the application. As a general rule a case is processed at a Canadian visa office prior to arrival in Canada. In some cases, however, an application for a work permit can be submitted at a Canadian port of entry (i.e., airport, border crossing, etc.). In the latter approach, advanced decisionmaking on the application is possible in certain situations, which does affect the time needed to conclude the application.


Some applicants for a Canadian work permit will be required to undergo medical examinations prior to issuance of a Canadian visa, which can also effect the duration of the application process. Situtations in which this is necessary depend on the duration of the work permit being sought, the residence of the applicant in the 12 months prior to the submission of a case, and the nature of the occupation (e.g., some occupations involving direct contact with the public for greater than three hours per day may always require medical examinations).



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