Terms and definitions related to temporary residents

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

Admissibility Determination

The process carried out by a delegated officer to determine whether a foreign national is admissible to enter Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

Adverse Information

Sometimes referred to as “derogatory information.” Information related to a previous negative determination made pursuant to immigration laws, or other information that may be relevant to an inadmissibility or ineligibility.


Affiliate means:

  • one of two subsidiaries, both of which are owned and controlled by the same parent or individual; or
  • one of two legal entities, owned and controlled by the same group of individuals, each individual owning and controlling approximately the same share or proportion of each company.
Asylum/Refugee Claimant

Foreign National seeking protection at an in-land office or at a Port of Entry.

Automated Decision Making

When there is no adverse information on the client, GCMS is able to approve the application with no manual/human intervention.

Biometric information
Biometric information consists of certain physical characteristics that uniquely distinguish one person from another and which can be used to establish a record of and confirm an individual’s identity with a high level of certainty.  Examples are fingerprints and facial features.
Bio Data / Passport data
Personal identifying information (e.g., name, date of birth), excluding biometric data, found inside a passport.
Branch is an operating division or office of the same organization housed in a different location.
Business enterprise means any entity constituted or organized under applicable law, and either privately owned or owned by the government, including any corporation, trust, partnership, sole proprietorship, joint venture or other associations.
Business person
Under NAFTA, business person means a citizen of a Party (a “Party” means the U.S., Mexico or Canada) who is engaged in trade in goods, the provision of services or the conduct of investment activities.
Business visitor
Someone who comes to Canada to engage in international business activities without directly entering the Canadian labour market. Business visitors do not need a work permit if they can prove that their main source of income and their main place of business are outside Canada. Business visitors can also entry under the NAFTA or other FTAs.
Case Processing Agent (CPA)
Level 1 decision maker responsible for non-complex approvals and refusals on eTA applications at the Operations Support Centre (OSC) in Ottawa.
Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ)
Quebec’s selection mechanism for foreign students. With a few exemptions, applicants for study permits destined to a Quebec educational institution must be in possession of a CAQ before being eligible for a study permit. This includes part-time courses or courses delivered by private institutions.
Charitable organization
A charitable organization has a mandate to relieve poverty, or benefit the community, educational, or religious institutions.
Charitable worker
The difference between a charitable worker (who needs a work permit) and a volunteer (who does not) centres on the definition of "work", and entry into the labour market. A charitable worker is usually taking a full-time position and may be engaging in; a competitive activity, an activity which meets the definition of "work" even though there may be nominal remuneration (e.g.: group home worker, camp counsellor, carpenter for "Habitat for Humanity"). A "volunteer" who is not entering the labour market nor doing an activity which meets the definition of "work" does not require a work permit.
In the federal context and according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child is a person under the age of 18.
Come to Canada (C2C) Wizard
A questionnaire on the IRCC website that navigates clients to the correct application for their intended purpose for coming to Canada.
Consular officer
In Canada, refers to a person accredited with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) as a member of a consular post. Consular posts are foreign government offices established outside of the NCR to provide service to nationals of their community and liaise with Canadian officials on common points of interest (e.g., education, tourism, trade, etc.). Persons holding the rank of Consul General, Deputy Consul General or Vice Consul General, Consul, Vice-Consul or Deputy Consul, Consular Agent
«  Certificat de sélection du Québec » Certificate issued under Quebec's skilled immigrant selection program
Deemed rehabilitated [A36(3)(c) and R18]
The Act and Regulations provide for a person convicted of relatively minor crimes to be considered rehabilitated without having to apply for rehabilitation after a certain period of time (five or ten years, depending on the level of the offence) has elapsed with no further offences. A person who is rehabilitated or deemed rehabilitated is no longer inadmissible.
Derogatory information
See “adverse information.”
Diplomatic agent
In Canada, refers to a person who is accredited with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD)as a member of a diplomatic mission. Diplomatic missions are the foreign government offices established in the National Capital region (NCR), accredited to the Canadian Government to conduct diplomatic relations.  The designations which the Canadian Government accepts are: Ambassador, High Commissioner and Nuncio, Chargé d'affaires en pied, chargé d'affaires, a.i. and Acting High Commissioner (in the absence of the Head of Mission), Minister Plenipotentiary, Minister, Minister-Counsellor, Counsellor, First Secretary, Second Secretary, Third Secretary, Attaché, Deputy High Commissioner (for High Commissions), Deputy Head of Mission (for Embassies), First Counsellor, Second Counsellor, Third Counsellor, Assistant Attaché
Disabled person
A person who is physically or mentally impaired, or is lacking one or more physical or mental capacities, as per the attestation of a medical doctor.
Doing business
Doing business means regularly, systematically, and continuously providing goods and/or services by a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate in Canada and the foreign country, as the case may be. It does not include the mere presence of an agent or office in Canada. For instance, a company with no employees which exists in name only and is established for the sole purpose of facilitating the entry of intra-company transferees would not qualify. (See intra-company transferees for an explanation of terminology.) Evidence of the fact that a company is actively doing business such as annual reports (for public companies), articles of incorporation, profit/loss statements, partnership agreements, licence to do business, business tax returns and registration with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency as an employer, may be useful. Both the Canadian and the foreign branches of the company must be doing business for the duration of the intended stay in Canada of the intra-company transferee. The foreign national employee must be able to transfer back to the foreign company at the end of their assignment in Canada.
Dual intent
Dual intent is present when a foreign national who has applied for permanent residence in Canada also applies to enter Canada for a temporary period as a visitor, worker or student. Dual intent on the part of the applicant is therefore not prima facie grounds for refusal of temporary resident status. (A22(2))
An employer can be defined as a person, firm, corporation, contractor, or other association or organization in Canada which:
  • Indicates the intention to have an employer-employee relationship with a person who is a temporary foreign worker, and,
  • Has an employer-employee relationship with respect to employees, as indicated by the fact that it may hire, fire, pay, supervise, or otherwise control and direct the employee in the material details of how their work is to be performed.

Under NAFTA, “enterprise” means any entity constituted or organized under applicable law, whether or not for profit, and whether privately-owned or owned by government, including any corporation, trust, partnership, sole proprietorship, joint venture or other association.

Enterprise of a Party means an enterprise constituted or organized under the law of a Party.

Existingrefers to, for Canada and the U.S., the date of entry into force of the FTA (January 1, 1989); while for Canada and Mexico and for the U.S. and Mexico it is the date of entry into force of the NAFTA (January 1, 1994).

Electronic facilitation counterfoil (eFoil)
An eFoil is created automatically in the Global Case Management System when an officer generates a temporary resident permit or a Confirmation of Permanent Residence for a visa-exempt foreign national. This virtual document is issued to ensure that visa-exempt foreign nationals are permitted to embark on their flight, following airline verification of their passport and travel documents, via the Canada Border Services Agency’s Interactive Advance Passenger Information system (it should be noted that this system is currently available in air mode only).
Electronic travel authorization (eTA)

An eTA is a paperless authorization that is electronically linked to a traveller’s passport. An eTA is required of all visa-exempt foreign nationals who are travelling by air to visit, transit through, study or work in Canada.

Certain low-risk foreign nationals from select visa-required countries may also be eligible to obtain an eTA to travel to Canada by air.

Executive capacity
“Executive capacity” refers to a position in which the employee primarily:
  • directs the management of the organization or a major component or function of the organization
  • establishes the goals and policies of the organization, component, or function
  • exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making
  • receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders of the organization
Family member
Per R1(3), the definition of “family member” in respect of a person means:
  • the spouse or common-law partner of the person;
  • a dependent child of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; and
  • a dependent child of a dependent child referred to above.
Farm, commercial
A commercial venture undertaken with an expectation of profit. Thus if the farm owner realistically expects to make a profit from the farming activities, this is considered a commercial farm. Commercial farms generally hire outside (steady) employees.
Farm, non-commercial
A non-commercial farm generally means a farm where the farm family provides much of the capital and labour for the farm and where the production of agricultural products is to provide for the basic needs of the family, with little extra to sell for the profit of the family. This form of farming is commonly known as ‘subsistence’, ‘hobby’ or ‘family’ farming.
If there is more than one UCI for the same client, this is a data integrity issue. As there is no way to delete a record from GCMS once it is promoted, the UCIs must be linked by performing a household. When a household is done, the multiple IDs will still exist but they will be linked together.
Immigration Appeal Division (IAD)
The Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) hears and decides appeals on immigration matters such as appeals from refused sponsorship applications and from removal orders.
IAPI – Interactive Advance Passenger Information System
Will allow the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to pre-screen all air travellers prior to a flight’s departure for Canada. The CBSA will be able to identify and prevent individuals who do not have the proper travel documents from boarding an aircraft bound for Canada.
International Air Transport Association
Labour certification tests
(For NAFTA purposes) In Canada, this means the HRSDC labour market opinion or LMO of a job offer for a temporary foreign worker. (R203)
Live-in caregiver
Per R2, a live-in caregiver is a person who resides in and provides child care, senior home support care or care of the disabled without supervision in the private household in Canada where the person being cared for resides.
Labour Market Opinion (LMO)
A Labour Market Opinion (LMO) is a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker. A positive Labour Market Opinion, issued by Employment and Social Development Canada, will show that there is a need for the foreign worker to fill a job and that there is no Canadian worker available to do the job.
Managerial capacity
Managerial capacity refers to a position in which the employee primarily:
  • manages the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization.
National Occupational Classification (NOC)
The National Occupation Classification is the official governmental system of classifying occupations in the Canadian economy. It describes duties, skills, aptitudes, and work settings for occupations in the Canadian labour market.
Open work permit
An open work permit enables the person to seek and accept employment, and to work for any employer for a specified period of time. An open permit may, however, restrict the occupation or location.
Operations Support Centre (OSC)
In-Canada processing office for eTA applications not automatically approved by the system.
Overseas refugee applicant
Foreign national seeking protection from outside Canada.
Parent company
Parent company means a firm, corporation or other legal entity which has subsidiaries.
Permanent Resident
Foreign national who has acquired permanent resident status and has not subsequently lost it.
Permit holder
A person who is in Canada on a valid temporary resident permit is referred to as a permit holder.
POE Information Report
A reporting system that gives visa offices abroad immediate feedback on their decisions for issuing temporary resident visas and helps to monitor the effectiveness of the program by providing full details on refusals to the issuing visa office abroad in anticipation of future representations being made. Reports are added to the original file and cross-indexed to the files of family members. For further details, refer to ENF 4, section 13.11 (PDF, 1.53MB).
Promotion agent (PA)
In the context of eTA, Promotion Agents are employees of the Operations Support Centre (OSC) and are responsible for the promotion of all eTA applications that drop out to OSC. Also known as program assistants.
A step taken to make an application “real” or “live” in GCMS. Prospective applications are found in the system and they need to be promoted in order to begin processing.
Prospective Application
Before the application is “real” or “live” in GCMS it is called a prospective application (a “draft” application). Once the application is promoted, it will no longer be prospective.
Protected temporary residents class

The protected temporary residents class is prescribed as a class of persons who may become permanent residents on the basis of specific requirements.

A foreign national is a protected temporary resident and a member of the protected temporary residents class if the foreign national holds a temporary resident permit and

  1. became a temporary resident under a temporary resident permit for protection reasons after making a claim for refugee protection outside Canada under section 99 of the Act; or
  2. was issued a Minister's permit under section 37 of the former Act after seeking admission to Canada under section 7 of the former Regulations or section 4 of the Humanitarian Designated Classes Regulations.
Refusal Code
Code corresponding to a statutory ground of inadmissibility or ineligibility.
Removal order enforced
A removal order is enforced when a foreign national confirms his departure from Canada, physically departs Canada, and is authorized to enter the country of destination.
In the context of eTA, a process where an already approved eTA is assigned to OSC for review due to new adverse information on the client, or random checks. The OSC may cancel an eTA if necessary.
Senior Service delivery specialist
A person 65 years of age or older.
Service Delivery Specialist (SDS)
In the context of eTA, Level 2 decision maker responsible for complex decision making and information gathering for overseas missions.
Specialized knowledge

Special knowledge an individual has of a company’s product or service and its application in international markets or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures. (Product, process and service can include research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests.)

Specialized knowledge is unusual and different from that generally found in a particular industry. The knowledge need not be proprietary or unique, but it should be uncommon.

Stakes race
A horse race in which part of the prize money comes from the owners of the horses through nomination and entry fees, hence owners having a stake in the race.
R1 defines "studies" as studies undertaken at a university or college, or any course of academic, professional, or vocational training.  Related definitions: Training.
Subsidiary refers to a firm, a corporation, or other legal entity of which a parent owns:
  • directly or indirectly, half or more than half of the entity and controls the entity; or
  • owns, directly or indirectly, 50% of a 50-50 joint venture and has equal control and veto power over the entity; or
  • owns, directly or indirectly, less than half of the entity, but ,in fact, controls the entity.
Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) [A24(1)]
A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is a discretionary document that may be issued to inadmissible persons or persons reported or who may be reported for violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act allowing them to enter or remain in Canada as a temporary resident, where justified by exceptional circumstances.
Temporary Resident Status
A foreign national has temporary resident status when they have been found to meet the requirements of the legislation to enter and/or remain in Canada as a visitor, student,  worker., or temporary resident permit holder.  Only foreign nationals physically in Canada hold temporary resident status.
Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) (IMM1346) is a counterfoil issued in a passport or travel document by an IRCC officer to allow for travel to Canada. The holder of a TRV is a person who, in an officer’s opinion, meets the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations [A22, R179] and may become a temporary resident upon admission to Canada.
Training, academic

"Academic training" refers to a temporary professional employment related to an academic program. It is a direct application of course-work or research to a professional position in the field of study of a student. Academic training is generally completed in conjunction with certificate, diploma, or degree granting post-secondary studies.

Example: Grade 12 studies, articling for law students, cooperative education placements, and medical internships.

Training, vocational

“Vocational training” is generally preparation for a specific vocation in industry, agriculture or trade. Vocational training generally includes technical skills training, organizational skills training, and basic skills training. Vocational training may be offered through on-the-job programs, by unions in conjunction with businesses, by community colleges or universities in conjunction with a specific industry, and by private career colleges.

Example: Quality control, mechanics, and new technology.

Training, professional

“Professional Training” programs are defined as “a type of additional education/training usually offered to professionals already in the field. Professional development is generally “accredited”; that is, it is recognized by an industry, association, or profession. Professional training is offered through community colleges, universities, CEGEPs, career colleges, professional associations, or unions”.

Example: Real estate appraisal, production and inventory control, food services management, specialty courses for lawyers, doctors, business administrators, engineers, dentists, teachers and counsellors.

Transportation operator
In the NAFTA, a “transportation operator” means a natural person [human being as opposed to a corporate “person” (company)], other than a tour bus operator, including relief personnel accompanying or following to join, necessary for the operation of a vehicle for the duration of a trip. (See the General Service provision for information on tour bus operators.)
TWOV (Transit Without Visa) and CTP (China Transit Program) are programs that IRCC offers for individuals who have already obtained a Visa from the United States who are transiting through Canada to get to their American destination. TWOV and CTP participants are exempt from the eTA requirement.
Unique Client Identifier (UCI)
The unique client identifier is a number associated to a client in GCMS. This identifier is assigned to the client and will follow them throughout their entire immigration history as all applications will be store under the UCI. Each client of IRCC should only have one UCI.
Visa Application Centre (VAC)
VACs are managed by private companies and are authorized to provide specific administrative services to visa applicants under the terms of a formal contract with the Government of Canada. All paper applications are electronically transmitted by VACs.  VACshelp clients by answering questions in local languages, ensuring that applications are complete, securely transmitting application documents and passports to the visa office, securely returning passport and decision documents to the applicant, offering a tracking service for applications and scheduling interviews.  They are equipped to collect biometric information and may also provide services such as application photographs and photocopies for additional fees. They do not play a role in the decision-making process and may not provide any visa-related advice to applicants. All decisions on applications are made by visa officers. VACs do not represent the Government of Canada.
Visa-Exempt Foreign National
An individual who is not a Citizen of Canada and who is not required to obtain a visa for the purpose of travel based on their country of nationality.
Wages or commission
This includes salary or wages paid by an employer to an employee, remuneration or commission received for fulfilling a service contract, or any other situation where a foreign national receives payment for performing a service.
“Work” is defined in the Regulations as an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market.  For guidance about applying this definition, visit the Temporary Foreign Workers section.
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