Work permit: Prepare for arrival

Prepare for arrival

There are a few things you should know before you arrive in Canada to work.

If you’re an International Experience Canada participant, there are special instructions for you.

When you arrive in Canada

When you arrive, tell the border services officer (BSO) that you have come here to work.

We’ll check your identity to make sure that you’re the same person who was approved to travel to Canada.

  • If you enter Canada at one of 10 major Canadian airports
    • your fingerprints will be checked automatically at a primary inspection kiosk
    • the system will check your identity against the information collected when your application was submitted
  • If you enter Canada at smaller airports and all land ports of entry
    • your fingerprints may be checked if we refer you to a secondary inspection, where a border services officer will use a fingerprint verification device to check your fingerprints

If you pass the identity check and meet the entry requirements, the BSO will stamp your passport or let you know how long you can stay in Canada. Ask questions if you’re not sure about something.

You won’t be allowed into Canada if you give false or incomplete information. You must convince the officer that you are eligible for entry into Canada. You’ll also have to convince the officer that you’ll leave Canada at the end of your approved stay.

Presenting your documents

You must show your Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction to the BSO, along with:

  • your passport
  • your visa (if you need one), and
  • any travel documents you’re carrying (such as airline tickets)

You should also have supporting documents, such as:

  • proof that you meet requirements of the job, such as proof of work experience and education,
  • a copy of your employer’s positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (if required), or
  • the offer of employment number your employer received when they submitted the offer of employment through the Employer Portal (if you are LMIA-exempt and coming to work for a specific employer).

Once the BSO has checked your documents and confirms that you can enter Canada, the officer will print the actual work permit for you. If you have questions or there’s a mistake on your work permit, ask the officer before you leave.

Medical and health insurance, and workers’ compensation in Canada

Your employer must make sure you’re covered by medical and health insurance, and workers’ compensation, when you arrive in Canada.

Getting a social insurance number

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you will need to work in Canada and to access government programs and benefits. You should apply for a SIN as soon as possible after you arrive in Canada.

To apply for your SIN, contact the nearest Service Canada office.

Your spouse working in Canada

If you have a spouse or common-law partner who wants to work in Canada, they must apply for their own work permit. Normally, they must meet the same rules as you do. This includes getting an LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada, if needed.

Your spouse or common-law partner may be able to apply for an open work permit that will let them accept any job with any employer.

Your children studying or working in Canada

Your dependent children may also apply to come with you to Canada, and if they wish, apply for a study or work permit.

Staying in Canada

Read your work permit carefully. It sets out all the conditions for working in Canada. If you do not meet those conditions, you could be asked to leave Canada.

You can also apply to change the conditions of your work permit or to renew it.

Changes to impaired driving and cannabis-related crime laws

New penalties for impaired driving and cannabis-related crimes may affect your immigration status in Canada. If you commit one of these crimes, you may not be able to come to or stay in Canada.

Employment and labour standards

Each province and territory has standards to protect employers and employees.

Labour standards include rules about:

  • minimum wage,
  • overtime,
  • holidays,
  • vacations,
  • hours of work,
  • rest periods, and
  • days of rest.

If you have any questions about labour standards or if you think your employer is not meeting them, contact the ministry in charge of labour or employment standards in the province or territory where you work.

To find out more about employment standards and your rights, see Understand your rights – temporary workers.

Labour standards organizations

Find out how to contact the provincial/territorial or federal office responsible for labour or employment standards in the province or territory where you work.

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