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  • Writer's pictureCalver Immigration Consulting Inc.


Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Most people require a work permit to work in Canada. However, there are a number of situations when an individual can perform temporary work in Canada without a permit.

An individual who is eligible to work without a work permit may still require a Temporary Resident Visa to enter Canada on a temporary basis.

Who can work in Canada without a Work Permit?

Athletes or Coaches - You are a foreign athlete, coach or member of a foreign team competing in Canada.

Aviation Accident or Incident Investigator - You are an accredited agent or adviser working on an aviation accident or incident investigation being done under the Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act.

Business Visitor - You’re coming to Canada to do business activities, but you will not be part of the Canadian labour market.

Civil Aviation Inspector - You check the flight operations or cabin safety of commercial airlines during international flights.

Convention Organizer - You organize or run international meetings, conferences, or conventions.

Crew Member - You may be a truck driver, bus driver, or shipping or airline worker. You must work on foreign-owned and registered vehicles that are used mainly to transport cargo and passengers internationally, and your work must be related to operating vehicles or serving passengers.

Emergency Service Provider - You will help out in an emergency. You will be in Canada to help preserve life or property. Emergencies include natural disasters, such as floods or earthquakes, or industrial accidents that threaten the environment.

Examiner and Evaluator - You’re a professor or academic expert who evaluates or supervises academic projects, research proposals or university theses. You may work for Canadian research groups or schools.

Expert Witness or Investigator - You will give evidence before a regulatory body, tribunal or court of law.

Family member of foreign representative - You do not need a work permit if you meet these three requirements:

  • You’re the spouse or child of a foreign representative.

  • You’re accredited (with a counterfoil in your passport) by Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

  • You have a letter of no objection from GAC (normally issued only if there is a reciprocal employment arrangement with your home country).

Foreign Government Officer or Representative - You do not need a work permit if you’re:

  • an employee of another government who is working under an exchange agreement that lets officials work in government departments in Canada and your country,

  • a diplomat or official representative of another country, or

  • a diplomat or official representative of the United Nations and its staff.

Health Care Student - You do not need a work permit if you meet the following conditions:

  • you’re doing clinical clerkships;

  • the main goal of your work is training;

  • you have written approval from the board that regulates your job (note that certain provinces do not need written approval); and

  • your training will last less than four months.

If your training will last more than four months, or if you do not meet the other conditions listed above, you need a work permit.

Judge, Referee or Similar Official - You’re an official at an international amateur competition who will judge or be an official for an artistic or cultural event, such as:

  • a music and dance festival,

  • an animal show, or

  • an agricultural contest.

Military Personnel - You’re a member of an armed force of another country. You have movement orders stating that you’re entering Canada under the terms of the Visiting Forces Act.

News Reporter or Film and Media Crew - You’re:

  • a news reporter or member of a reporter’s crew,

  • a member of a film or media crew who will not enter the Canadian labour market,

  • a journalist who works for a print, broadcast or Internet news service (journal, newspaper, magazine, television show, etc.) and your company is not Canadian,

  • a resident correspondent, or

  • a manager and or member of clerical staff, as long as the event is short term (six months or less).

Producer or Staff Member Working on Advertisements - You do not need a work permit if you’re working on a foreign-financed commercial/advertising shoot for television, magazines or other media and you’re:

  • a film producer,

  • an actor,

  • a director,

  • a technician, or

  • other essential personnel.

Performing Artist - You do not need a work permit if:

  • you’re a foreign artist or the artist’s key support staff (people vital to the performance),

  • you will perform in Canada for a limited period of time,

  • you’re not being hired for ongoing employment by the Canadian group that has contracted you, and

  • you’re not involved in making a movie, television or radio broadcast.

Public Speaker - You do not need a work permit if you’re a guest speaker, commercial speaker or seminar leader who is speaking at specific events, provided the event is no longer than five days.

Religious Leader - You don’t need a work permit as a religious leader if your duties include

  • assisting your congregations to reach spiritual goals

  • preaching doctrine

  • leading worship, or

  • providing spiritual counselling

Examples of religious leaders include

  • missionaries

  • monks

  • pastoral animators

  • archbishops

  • bishops

Short-term Highly-skilled Worker - You do not need a work permit if you will come to Canada as a high-skilled worker and

  • your job is under the NOC skill type 0 (managerial) or A (professional)

  • you will only work for

    • up to 15 consecutive days once every six months or

    • up to 30 consecutive days once every year

Short-term Researcher - You do not need a work permit if you will come to Canada as a researcher

  • at a public degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution

  • who will work for 120 or fewer consecutive days

  • who has not worked in Canada under this exemption in the last 12 months

Student Working Off-Campus - Full-time international students can work off-campus without a work permit:

  • up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and

  • full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break.

To qualify, you must:

  • have a valid study permit,

  • be a full-time student,

  • be enrolled at a designated learning institution at the post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at the secondary level, and

  • be studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration.

You must stop working on the day you no longer meet the eligibility requirements listed above (e.g., if you’re no longer a full-time student during an academic session).

student working on-campus - If you’re a full-time international student, you do not need a work permit to work on the campus of the university or college where you study.


Individuals may continue working under the conditions of an expired work permit (without an interim work permit), provided that they applied for a new work permit before the original expired. While waiting for a response on their application, they must remain in Canada to ensure implied status. Once a decision has been made, the applicant may either continue working under the conditions of their new permit, or they must leave Canada.


Our Services

Calver and Associates is a leading provider of Canadian Immigration services in Durham Region. We serve clients in Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, and beyond. Our Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant has over 10 years of experience in Canadian Immigration law and over four years of experience serving those in the Oshawa area.

We can provide assistance with applications for both temporary and permanent residency in Canada. We handle applications for study permits, permanent residency, family class sponsorship, visitor visas, work permits, and Canadian citizenship. We also handle criminal inadmissibility cases by developing remedies for refusal.

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