International Mobility Program: Unique work situations – foreign camp owner or director, and outfitters

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

For a camp owner, or equal share camp owners, directors or their spouse, a work permit is required, but they are exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) pursuant to R205(a) (exemption code C11).

Other members of the foreign owner’s family, should they wish to be employed by the camp, will be subject to the LMIA requirement as per the guidelines for R205(a) (exemption code C11) in Entrepreneurs/self-employed candidates seeking to operate a business in Canada.

The above guidelines apply whether the camp is a children's recreational facility or a hunting or fishing camp.

Fishing or Hunting Outfitters

  • A key step for officers is to identity the essential elements of the outfitting or fishing operation: ownership, share of ownership, other foreign nationals and Canadians involved with the operation (i.e., guides, employees), the services provided by the operation, fees charged, Canadian goods and services being used, etc. It is also necessary to determine whether “work” is occurring.
  • Foreign nationals involved with outfitting operations in which no fees are charged do not require work permits and may be admitted as tourist visitors.
  • Business visitors – foreign national owners of outfitting operations with paying clientele may be admitted as business visitors (tour operators or guides) if they are accompanying the clientele from outside Canada and if there is little in the way of services being provided to the clientele while in Canada. For example, the foreign national is not preparing meals nor providing guiding services but is assisting with any problems the clientele may encounter after arriving at the destination.
  • Requirements for fishing and hunting outfitters vary by province (e.g., there is a yearly license for commercial outfitters in Saskatchewan). In conducting their review of the outfitting or fishing operation, officers should request and review the relevant licenses or registration documents that the foreign national has obtained.
  • A foreign national owner of an outfitting operation in which fees are charged is eligible for an LMIA-exempt work permit if the business is able to satisfy the requirement of significant benefit to Canada.
  • Recognizing that many outfitting operations are owned jointly by individuals with equal shares of a fishing or hunting operation (e.g., five owners, each with 20% ownership), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is allowing the C11 exemption for each of these owners if the business is able to satisfy the requirement of significant benefit to Canada.
  • The spouses of foreign national owners whose application for an LMIA-exempt work permit are approved may also obtain such work permits if they are otherwise admissible to Canada.
  • Other owners (e.g., owners with a lesser share) within this category must apply for a work permit as employees and thus require an LMIA if they are conducting “work”.
  • For the assessment of foreign nationals entering Canada where the officer assesses that the foreign national does not qualify as either a tourist or a business visitor and is involved to some degree with any fishing or hunting outfitting operation or is working as an outfitter in the province, the information below may assist in decision-making.
    • Sole owner or majority owner (and spouses)
      Eligible for an LMIA-exempt work permit under C11 if the officer is satisfied that significant benefit (see Note below) to Canada is substantiated
    • Owner with equal share (and spouses)
      Eligible for LMIA exempt work permit under C11 if the officer is satisfied that significant benefit (see Note below) to Canada is substantiated
    • Other owner (i.e., is not a majority owner, nor an equal owner)
      Requires an LMIA and a work permit as an employee if carrying out “work”
    • Non-owner (including guides)
      See Fishing Guides

For information regarding the ESDC LMIA process, see Temporary Foreign Work Program.

Note: Significant benefit for these typically small, seasonal outfitting operations can be assessed based on the following:

  • amount of income brought into and remaining in Canada (i.e., any amounts charged to foreign ‘guests’ or clientele that directly cover the costs associated with the trip);
  • amount spent on goods and services in Canada or wages to Canadians or permanent residents;
    Note: Given the seasonal and part-time natures of these operations, their threshold of significant benefit tends to be lower than an assessment of significant benefit for other exemptions under R205(a).
  • assessment of general economic stimulus, i.e., development or job creation;
  • assessment of whether or not the outfitter is impinging on other Canadian service providers. For example, are other Canadian outfitters in the area losing business directly because of this outfitter’s operation? An officer could consult with the provincial or territorial tourism authority (or outfitting association, if applicable) for their opinion. An officer might also suggest that the outfitter obtain a letter from a local chamber of commerce attesting to their business’s economical benefit to the region, or advise them to obtain one for next entry.

Supporting documents may include income and expenditures, rental or lease agreements for the land and, for a newly formed partnership, a business plan and ownership documents.

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