ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 449 - July 13, 2012

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

This document has expired. Please refer to the appropriate Program Delivery Instructions for current information.

Work Permit applications for Temporary Foreign Workers for businesses in sectors where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation of some workers


This Operational Bulletin provides operational instructions to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) on the Ministerial Instruction of July 14, 2012, on processing work permit applications from temporary foreign workers seeking to work at a business that is in a sector where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation of some workers.


Authority for Ministerial Instructions is derived from section 87.3 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). The Instructions are being issued to ensure that the processing of applications and requests is conducted in a manner that, in the opinion of the Minister, will best support the attainment of the immigration goals established by the Government of Canada.

On July 14, 2012, Ministerial Instructions were established for Work Permit Applications submitted from both within and outside of Canada. The Instructions state that applications from foreign nationals seeking to work for an employer that is in a sector where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation of some workers are not to be processed.

Guidelines for not processing applications:

These Instructions apply to applications received by CIC on or after July 14, 2012.

New and extension applications received by CIC offices prior to July 14, 2012 shall be processed as per previously existing instructions.

These instructions apply to all work permit applications where the applicant is destined to work for a business as described below, or to perform contract work for the business or on its premises (including on a self-employed basis), irrespective of the specific occupation that the applicant is intended to fill at that business.

When in receipt of an application to work in a business that is in a category that is covered by the instructions (i.e. in a sector where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation for some workers), officers are instructed not to process these applications. Applicants affected by these instructions shall be informed that their application is not eligible for processing and their processing fee shall be returned.

For the purposes of these instructions, strip clubs, escort services and massage parlours are considered businesses where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation. These instructions should be applied to all businesses in these categories.

Officers should take care not to refuse applications involving businesses where employees have qualifications and credentials that are regulated and certified by provincial authorities, such as massage therapy clinics.

In addition, if a foreign national in the occupation of exotic dancer is destined to a bar or hotel that only has an exotic dance performance occasionally and would not normally be considered a ‘strip club,’ the establishment will be considered a ‘strip club’ for the duration of the Foreign National’s performance and the business would become ineligible as per the Ministerial Instructions.

Open Work Permits

As per subsection 185 (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, all open work permits shall have the following condition placed in the visible remarks section of the document:

Not valid for employment in businesses related to the sex trade such as strip clubs, massage parlours or escort services;

This condition informs the work permit holder that employment, self-employment, or contract services in this sector are not permissible. If an employer operating a business in any of these sectors did hire a holder of an open work permit, it would potentially be in violation of IRPA s.124 for employing “a foreign national in a capacity in which the foreign national is not authorized under this Act to be employed”. This could lead to the punishment of the employer by a fine of up to $50,000 or imprisonment for a term of up to two years.

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