Canada has many different categories of work permits and many exemptions to the temporary work permit requirement.
In specific situations, such as Business Visitors, individuals performing a specific type of work may be permitted to enter Canada without a temporary work permit. Among jobs that do not require a work permit are clergy, crew members in the transportation industry, expert witnesses, performing artists, news reporters, film crews, and athletes and their coaches. A full list of the jobs that do not require a work permit can be found here.
Full time international students do not require a work permit in order to work in an on-campus job at their school.
Similarly, individuals who come to Canada for business but do not actually constitute a part of the labour market do not need a work permit for their business activities. Canada lists the following as examples of tasks that could qualify under the business visitor category:
- The purchase of Canadian services or products on behalf of a government or business
- Processing orders for the purchase of Canadian products and services
- The attending of conferences, conventions, business meetings or trade fairs
- The facilitating of an after-sales service agreement (mainly supervision, no labour)
- Receiving training from a Canadian branch of a parent company outside of Canada
- Employee training within the Canadian subsidiary of a foreign parent company
- On-site training from a Canadian company from which you have purchased products or services.
NOTE: One of the main elements to consider when determining whether a temporary work permit is required is the nature of the relationship between employer and employee. An employer-employee relationship usually prevents eligibility for this exemption.
Being able to perform work in Canada without a work permit is an exceptional matter and foreign workers should expect to be required to obtain a temporary work permit. Canada interprets these exemptions narrowly.