Open Work Permits

International Mobility Program: Open work permit

Who can apply for an open work permit?

Who can apply for an open work permit?

You may be eligible to apply for an open work permit if you are in one of the following situations:

  1. You are already working in Canada and your application for permanent residence has received a positive eligibility assessment under one of the following :
    • Federal Skilled Worker Program
    • Canadian Experience Class
    • Provincial Nominee Program
    • Federal Skilled Trades Program
    • humanitarian and compassionate grounds
    You may also be eligible if you are a family member of someone whose application for permanent residence has been approved under one of the above.
  2. You are already in Canada and have applied for permanent residence through the Family Class as a spouse/common-law partner.
  3. You have the needed work experience and applied for permanent residence through the Live-in Caregiver Program.
  4. Your spouse is
    • a skilled worker in an occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type 0, A or B or
    • a foreign student at a public post-secondary school, such as a college or university or collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec.
  5. You have a temporary resident permit valid for at least six months.
  6. You are participating in
  7. You have filed a claim for refugee protection in Canada and
    • you are waiting for the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada to decide on your claim; and
    • you cannot pay for your basic needs without working.
  8. The RPD has rejected your refugee claim
    • you cannot be removed from Canada for reasons beyond your control and
    • you cannot pay for your basic needs without working.
  9. You are a family member of a foreign representative.
  10. You are a family member of a foreign military member who is working in Canada.
  11. You are a professional athlete allowed to enter Canada and you need to do other work to support yourself while playing for a Canadian team.


Presenting your documents

When you first enter Canada, explain to the border services officer that you have come here to work.

If you have a Letter of Introduction from Citizenship and Immigration Canada saying that you are authorized to come to Canada to work, bring it with you when you come to Canada. This letter is not a travel document and it is not your work permit, but it can help support your entry to work in Canada.

Be prepared to show supporting documents, such as your letter of offer of employment. If you have the LMO confirmation number for your offer, give it to the border services officer.

Once the border services officer has checked your documents, the officer will print the actual permit for you.

Medical and health insurance and workers’ compensation in Canada

Your employer is responsible for making sure you are covered by medical and health insurance and workers’ compensation when you arrive in Canada.

Getting a social insurance number

You must have a social insurance number (SIN) to work in Canada.

To find out how to get a SIN, visit the Service Canada website. When you receive your SIN, give the number to your employer.

Your spouse working in Canada

Spouses or common-law partners who want to work while in Canada must apply for their own work permit. Normally, they must meet the same requirements as you, including obtaining (if required) a labour market opinion from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

However, your spouse or common-law partner may be eligible to apply for an “open” work permit that will allow her or him to accept any job with any employer if:

  1. You are authorized to work in Canada for six months or longer and the work you are doing while you live in Canada meets a minimum skill level (usually work that would require at least a college diploma). Specifically, your job must be listed in Skill Level 0, A or B in the National Occupational Classification.

    Note: If you are the holder of a Post-Graduation Work Permit, which is a type of open work permit, your spouse will need to attach a copy of your work permit to his or her application for an open work permit. Your spouse will also need to provide information about your employment by attaching supporting documents, including:

    • A letter from your current employer confirming employment or a copy of your employment offer or contract; AND
    • A copy of one of your pay slips.

    Or

  2. You are authorized to work in Canada and your spouse or common-law partner is eligible for a work permit through an active pilot project. Find out more.

In each case, your spouse's permit will be valid no longer than yours.

Your children working in Canada

Your dependent children may also apply for an “open” work permit in certain provinces. For more information, see Can my dependent children work in Canada?

Staying in Canada

Read your work permit carefully. It sets out all the conditions for working in Canada. If you do not follow those conditions, you could be asked to leave Canada.

You can apply to change the conditions of your work permit or to renew it. For more information, see Work permit: Extending your stay.

Employment and labour standards

Each province and territory has standards to protect employers and employees.

Labour standards include rules about minimum wages, overtime, holidays, vacations, hours of work, rest periods and days of rest.

If you have any questions about labour standards or if you think your employer is not meeting the standards, contact the ministry responsible for labour or employment standards in the province or territory where you work.

To find out more about employment standards and your rights, see Temporary foreign workers — Your rights and the law.

Contacting a provincial/territorial labour standards organization

To find out how to contact the office responsible for labour or employment standards in the province or territory where you work, select the appropriate link below.

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