ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 229 - November 24, 2010

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Pilot Project for Foreign Spouses and Dependent Children of High-Skilled Canadians or Permanent Residents Returning to Work in Ontario

This Operational Bulletin has expired.


The purpose of this Operational Bulletin is to advise officers of a pilot project to fulfill Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) commitment under section 4.3 of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Annex of the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement signed in August 2008.


Under article 4.3 the parties agreed as follows: Where a Canadian Permanent Resident or Citizen who has left Canada returns to Canada to re-establish their residence in Ontario and work in Ontario as a Skilled Worker, and he/she is accompanied by a foreign spouse or common law partner and/or dependents, Canada agrees to issue open work permits to that spouse or common law partner and those dependents upon application, provided the applicants are otherwise legally able to work in Ontario. These open work permits should have a validity period of two years.

Furthermore, article 4.4 of the Annex allows that dependents described above be exempt from the requirement to obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). The applicant must still meet all admissibility criteria in order to obtain status as a Temporary Resident in Canada. You may refer to the Agreement at Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement – TFW Annex 2008.

Pilot Parameters

The 18-month pilot will operate from November 24, 2010, to May 24, 2012, inclusively, with a review to take place after 12 months of operation. These dates refer only to the dates on which qualifying work permits can be issued, not to the duration of the work permits. The terms of the pilot will apply only to qualifying foreign nationals (as described below) destined to work in the Province of Ontario, and, for the purposes of this pilot, occupations for the Canadian or Permanent Resident re-establishing in Ontario are limited to health professionals and academics in post-secondary public institutions.

All relevant work permits must be coded as indicated below to support an effective evaluation of the pilot.

Pilot Procedures

All general eligibility criteria, conditions of the work permit and processing procedures, outlined in the Temporary Foreign Workers Guidelines (FW-1) will continue to apply in conjunction with the following procedures:

Eligible Participants

Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for an open work permit under this pilot:

  1. Applicant must be a spouse or common-law partner, or dependent child (see the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), section 2, Interpretation) of a Canadian Citizen/Permanent Resident who is:
    • returning to work in Ontario either as a health professional or as an academic for post-secondary public institutions, as per the occupations listed in Appendix A*.

      *the applicant must provide a letter from the Province of Ontario — Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Business Immigration Unit, 35th floor, 250 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, M7A 2H1, phone: 416-325-6777, fax: 416-325-5563, — confirming employment, location and occupation — on behalf of the returning Canadian/Permanent Resident.
  2. Applicant must be eligible to work in the Province of Ontario**; and

    ** for working-age dependents, the employer is responsible for ensuring the provincial minimum age employment standards are adhered to.

    Please refer to the following website for provincial guidelines:
  3. Applicant must be someone for whom an application by the returning Canadian/Permanent Resident for Family Class sponsorship has been approved by CIC – Case Processing Centre – Mississauga (CPC-M).

Open Work Permit Issuance

  • A non job-specific open or open/restricted (depending on medical examination requirements, if applicable) work permit may be issued upon application by the foreign spouse/common-law partner or dependent child (including payment of the appropriate fee) and without requiring an LMO from Service Canada.
  • For the purposes of the pilot, the permit is to allow the participant to work in Ontario only.
  • Applicants may apply for an open work permit under this pilot either overseas, or in Canada by mail or e-application to CPC-Vegreville. Nationals of visa exempt countries may also apply at a port of entry.

System Instructions

  • The LMO exemption code is T13 in conjunction with R204(c) of the IRPR, “an agreement entered into by the Minister with a province or group of provinces under subsection 8(1) of the Act”.
  • Special Program Code: Officers are requested to use the NEW Special Program Code  #160 ‘RCS’ (spouse/dependent of returning Canadian) in the Field Operations Support System (FOSS) or in the Computer-Assisted Immigration Processing System (CAIPS). This will assist immigration and border services officers when reviewing these applications. It is also important for statistical research, evaluation and policy development purposes.
  • The work permit should specify in the Province field and in the printed Conditions that it is only valid for work performed in the Province of Ontario.

Duration and Extensions

  • The duration of the work permit is two (2) years with no extensions.

Appendix A: National Occupation Code list of eligible occupations as part of the Ontario pilot for returning high-skilled Canadians or Permanent Residents of Canada

Health Professionals

Post-Secondary Education (Academics) for Public Institutions

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