Operational Bulletin 298 - April 13, 2011

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

Foreign Freelance Race Jockeys


Foreign freelance jockeys will now benefit from a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) exemption, when destined to work in the Western Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.


The purpose of this Operational Bulletin is to provide processing instructions to officers regarding freelance race jockeys destined to western Canada, specifically British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.


For occupational purposes, jockeys are categorized as Athletes (NOC 5251). Under the interpretation of R186(h), foreign jockeys working for foreign-based stables are allowed to compete in Canada without an LMO or work permit (WP). Freelance jockeys working for Canadian stables are not specifically considered under any interpretations of the regulations; therefore, these foreign national jockeys working in Canada (i.e. those employed or paid by a Canadian stable or racetrack) must obtain a WP, supported by a neutral or positive LMO issued by Service Canada.

WPs issued to jockeys are employer-specific and have mobility restrictions. In the western Canadian provinces, these restrictions have been problematic because the established industry practice necessitates the frequent mobility of jockeys between owners/employers and between Western provinces to enable the jockeys to compete in racing competitions.

Due to a shortage of Canadian jockeys available to ride in Western provinces, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has determined that the admission of foreign freelance race jockeys in western Canada will likely result in a positive or neutral labour market impact. In contrast, HRSDC has determined that there is a lower incidence of shortages of Canadian jockeys in other parts of Canada.

New Guidelines

Foreign freelance race jockeys destined for British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will be eligible for a LMO exemption under R205(a), to acknowledge that the entry of foreign jockeys involves a significant benefit to Canada by enabling the horseracing industry to remain in operation in western Canada, thereby facilitating job creation and supporting economic development in this region. With this exemption, the foreign jockeys would still be required to receive a WP from Citizenship and Immigration Canada before working in Canada.

In order to establish that a jockey possesses the appropriate credentials for issuance of a WP, jockeys wishing to work in one of the four western provinces should be in possession of:

  • a license, or letter confirming eligibility for licensing, from one of the provincial horse racing authorities that act as regulatory bodies for British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
  • an offer of employment from the first employer making the initial offer and located in one of the four western provinces.

These documents should be submitted with the WP application.

WPs issued under this LMO exemption will also be regionally restricted to the Western provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (i.e., the location of work for these WPs will encompass all the four Western provinces). The purpose of this regional restriction is to protect the employment opportunities of Canadian jockeys who primarily race in Ontario, while addressing the labour shortage in western Canada. The duration of the WPs should generally be restricted from February to November to cover the racing season, while allowing for additional time built in for related pre- and post-season training and related training activities.

Standard LMO and WP requirements will continue to prevail outside the four Western Canadian provinces.

Officers will use the exemption coding C-11 and the NOC code of 5251 – Athletes. The following visible remarks must be placed on the WP: Work location includes the four provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

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