International Mobility Program: Authorization to work without a work permit – Foreign government officers

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.

Canada has concluded agreements with other nations that provide for periods of employment in each other’s territory at the federal or provincial levels. Officers come to work for a department or agency of the Government of Canada or of a province. They do not work for a foreign mission or international organization and are not accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

Officers at the EX (executive) level of government should be in possession of a contract from the Public Service Commission (PSC) outlining the terms of the agreement, which may or may not be reciprocal. The PSC involvement is not required for positions below the EX level, however, for assignments of longer than three months, a formal letter of agreement should be signed by the deputy head of the department, an authority in the officer’s organization, and the officer coming to Canada.

On arrival at a port of entry they should be given temporary resident status, in accordance with R186(e), for the duration of the contract. Requests for extension, though not normally required, should be facilitated.

Family members

Family members of exchange officers who qualify for admission under R186(e) who have non-reciprocal contracts require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However, spouses may qualify for an exemption under R205(c)(ii), C41.

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Family members of exchange officers authorized to enter Canada under R186(e) who have a Public Service Commission contract which is reciprocal are exempted from requiring an LMIA under R205(b), C20. Fee exemption applies. Open work permits may be issued.

American Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Officers

Integrated maritime cross-border law enforcement operations entail vessels jointly crewed by specially trained and designated Canadian and U.S. law enforcement officers authorized to enforce the law on both sides of the international boundary line. Working together, they are able to transit back and forth across the border to deal with cross-border criminality in shared waterways. All operations are conducted under the operational control of law enforcement officers of the “host country”, assisted by the law enforcement officers of the “visiting country”. Examples of enforcement actions undertaken by designated cross-border maritime law enforcement officers (also known as “shipriders”) may include patrol operations, arrests and seizures of contraband.

American law enforcement officers do not require a work permit when working in their capacity as a designated cross-border law enforcement officers in Canadian territory. This work typically takes place in Canadian waterways but may include on-land work as well as work performed aerially for purposes including the aerial patrolling and/or pursuit of criminal activity in shared waterways.

In-Flight Security Officers (IFSOs)

Foreign IFSOs are specially selected and trained officers employed by foreign governments to support aviation safety on foreign aircraft. As officials of a foreign government they may work in Canadian territory without a work permit but their duties are restricted to providing security onboard certain aircraft flying to and from Canada, or within Canada. IFSOs are not considered to be members of the crew of the aircraft upon which they are working.

Note: IFSOs from visa-required countries must apply for and obtain a temporary resident visa in order to perform their duties while in Canadian airspace.

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