Types of jobs in Canada that do not require a work permit

The following types of jobs may not require a work permit for foreign nationals to work in Canada. You must meet the additional exemption criteria for the specific job in order to be qualified for a work permit exemption.

1. Business Visitor

Business visitors are foreign nationals who travel to Canada to engage in business or trade activities. To be eligible for work permit exemption under this category, you must meet the following criteria:

  • There must be no intent to enter the Canadian labor market
  • The worker’s activity in Canada must be international in scope
  • For business visitors in Canada working for a foreign employer, the following criteria are assumed:
    • The primary source of the worker’s compensation is outside of Canada
    • The principal place of employment is located outside of Canada
    • The employer’s profits are accrued outside of Canada

The business visitors may fall into the following subcategories:

  • After-sales service
  • Boards of directors meetings
  • Employees of short term temporary residents
  • Employees of foreign companies contracting Canadian companies
2. Foreign representatives and their family members

Foreign representatives should be accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and the family members must receive a no objection letter from the protocol department of DFAIT to work in Canada without a work permit.

3. Military personnel

Under the Visiting Forces Act, military and civilian personnel in Canada may work and study without permits. Military personnel are also exempt from requirements for a passport, temporary resident visa and foreign national medical examinations.

4. Foreign government officers

You may qualify for a permit exemption if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • You are an employee of a foreign government working under an exchange agreement that allows officials to work in governments in your country and in Canada.
  • You are a foreign diplomat or official representative of another country.
  • You are a foreign diplomat or official representative of the United Nations.

Employees of other government must obtain an official letter if they will be employed in Canada for more than 3 months.

5. American Cross Border Maritime Law Enforcement Officers

Some cross-border officers are staffed by joint American and Canadian crew. When in Canadian territory, American crew members may fulfill their job duties without acquiring a work permit.

6. In-flight security officers

In-flight security officers (IFSOs) can work in Canada without a work permit as they are designated by foreign governments to enforce safety on foreign aircraft.

7. On-campus employment

If you are a full-time student and you have a valid study permit then you are eligible to work on campus without a work permit in Canada.

8. Performing artists

Many foreign performing artists may work in Canada without a work permit. However, you must meet several requirements:

  • You are the foreign artist or the artist’s key support staff.
  • You will perform in Canada for a limited period of time.
  • You will not be hired for ongoing Canadian employment by the group which contracted you.
  • You will not be involved in creating a broadcast for television, radio, or film.
9. Athletes and team members

According to IRCC, the following individuals may be eligible under this exemption:

  • Amateur players on Canadian teams
  • Foreign pet owners entering their own animals in a show
  • Jockeys racing horses from foreign-based stables
  • Racecar drivers
  • Individuals attending professional team tryouts
  • Foreign team members participating in a competition in Canada
  • Grooms or team support members
  • Full or part-time coaches and trainers
10. News reporters, media crews

News reporters and their crew can work in Canada without a work permit provided that they do not work for a Canadian company. However, the managerial or clerical personnel are eligible only if they are the member of an event that will last for six months or less.

11. Public speakers

A foreign national who is a guest speaker, a commercial speaker, or a seminar leader might qualify for a work permit exemption. Only speakers at events lasting no longer than 5 days are eligible for this exemption.

12. Convention organizers

Individuals who come to Canada to organize events like corporate meetings, trade shows, conferences, exhibitions etc are included in this category. Convention organizers who have been hired to perform work for a Canadian organization are not eligible to work without a work permit.

13. Judges, referees and similar officials

Judges, referees, etc may come to Canada to participate in international amateur sports, artistic, agricultural or cultural events and competitions. Amateur sports competitions should be organized by an international amateur sports organization and should be hosted by a Canadian organization.

14. Examiners and evaluators

Foreign professors and researchers can enter Canada without a work permit in order to evaluate projects and theses conducted by their students.

15. Expert witnesses or investigators

If you are working in Canada to provide evidence before a regulatory body, tribunal or court of law, you may be eligible for a work permit exemption.

16. Health care students

Foreign healthcare students studying at foreign institutes in courses such as medicine, nursing, medical technology and occupational and physical therapy can participate in clinical clerkships without obtaining a work permit. Their training period shouldn’t be more than 4 months.

17. Aviation accident or incident inspector

Accredited representatives and advisors who are assisting in the investigation of an aviation accident or incident may do so without obtaining a work permit. The investigation should be conducted under the authority of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act.

18. Emergency service providers

Workers who will enter Canada to provide services in times of emergency may do so without a work permit. The purpose of their work should be to preserve life and property in case of natural disasters or commercial accidents.

19. Implied status

Individuals can work in Canada if their work permit has expired, provided that they have applied for a new work permit before the expiry of the old one. While waiting for a response on their application, they must remain in Canada to ensure implied status.