Find out if you need a work permit to work in Canada

If your job category is listed below, you do not need a work permit. However, you may need to meet other rules. Read the information carefully.

If your job category is not listed below, you need a work permit. You should also find out if you need a labour market opinion.

Jobs that do not need a work permit


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Athletes and coaches

Foreign teams, athletes and coaches competing in Canada.

Aviation accident or incident investigators

Accredited agents or advisers working on an aviation accident or incident investigation being done under the Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act.

Business visitors

Business visitors who come to Canada to do business activities but are not part of the Canadian labour market.

Note:Business people” does not mean the same thing.

Civil aviation inspectors

Inspectors who check the flight operations or cabin safety of commercial airlines during international flights.

Clergy

People who work as ordained ministers, lay persons or members of a religious order. Their duties may include preaching doctrine, leading worship or giving spiritual counselling.

Convention organizers

People who organize or run international meetings or conventions.

Note: People who provide “hands-on” services at these events must have a work permit. These services include providing audio-visual services, doing show decorating, and building, setting up and taking down displays.

Crew members

Crew members, such as truck drivers, bus drivers, and shipping and airline workers, if:

  • they are working on foreign-owned and -registered vehicles that are used mainly to transport cargo and passengers internationally, and
  • their work is related to operating vehicles or serving passengers.

Emergency service providers

People who help out in an emergency, if they are here to help preserve life or property. Emergencies include natural disasters, such as floods or earthquakes, or industrial accidents that threaten the environment.

Examiners and evaluators

Professors and academic experts who evaluate or supervise academic projects, research proposals or university theses. They may work for Canadian research groups or schools.

Expert witnesses or investigators

Experts who give evidence before a regulatory body, tribunal or court of law.

Family members of foreign representatives

Spouses and children of foreign representatives.

  • They must be accredited (with a counterfoil in their passport) by the Department of Foreign Affairs,Trade and Development (DFATD). If they are not accredited, DFATD will refer them to an immigration officer to apply under the regular process.
  • They need a letter of no objection from DFATD (normally issued only if there is a reciprocal employment arrangement with the person’s home country). To find out how to get this letter, contact DFATD’s Office of Protocol.

Foreign government officers

Employees of other governments. Canada has exchange agreements with some countries that let officials work in each other’s government departments. Government officials coming to work in Canada must bring a formal letter if they will work here for more than three months.

Foreign representatives

Diplomats and official representatives of other countries or the United Nations and their staff.

Health care students

Foreign health care students doing clinical clerkships or working in Canada for a short period of time, if:

  • the main goal of the work is training,
  • the training lasts less than four months and  
  • they have written approval from the board that regulates their job (note that certain provinces do not need written approval).

For further details, please refer to section 5.17, “Work without a work permit R186(p): Health care students” in the Foreign Worker Manual (PDF, 1.25 MB).

Judges, referees and similar officials

Officials at international amateur competitions who will judge or be officials for artistic or cultural events, such as:

  • music and dance festivals,
  • animal shows and
  • agricultural contests.

Military personnel

Members of an armed force of another country, if they have movement orders stating that they are entering Canada under the terms of the Visiting Forces Act.

News reporters, film and media crews

People who are:

  • news reporters or members of their crews,
  • film or media crews who will not enter the Canadian labour market,
  • journalists who work for a print, broadcast or Internet news service (journal, newspaper, magazine, television show, etc.), if the company they work for is not Canadian,
  • resident correspondents or
  • managers and clerical staff, as long as the event is short term (six months or less).

Performing artists

Foreign artists and their key support staff (people vital to the performance), only if they:

  • will perform in Canada for a limited period of time,
  • will not perform in a bar or restaurant,
  • are not being hired for ongoing employment by the Canadian group that has contracted them and
  • are not involved in making a movie, television or radio broadcast.

Examples include:

  • a foreign-based band or theatre group and their key crew not performing in a bar or restaurant,
  • street performers (buskers),
  • disc jockeys,
  • members of a foreign or travelling circus,
  • guest artists working within a Canadian performance group for a limited time,
  • World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers (and members of similar groups),
  • people who will perform at a private event, such as a wedding,
  • air show performers,
  • rodeo contestants,
  • artists attending or working at a showcase,
  • film producers (business visitors),
  • film and recording studio users (limited to small groups renting studios who will not enter the labour market, and to business visitors) and
  • people doing guest spots on Canadian television and radio broadcasts (guest speakers), such as news programs.

Public speakers

Guest speakers, commercial speakers or seminar leaders who speak or give training, if the event is no longer than five days.

Students working on campus

Full-time foreign students working on the campus of the school where they study.

 
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