Work permit: 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.

Mandatory quarantine, COVID-19 testing and other requirements

Before you travel to Canada, make sure you know the rules and what you need to do before and after you arrive. Use the checklist that applies to you:

ArriveCAN

You must use ArriveCAN before checking in at the airport or crossing the border to submit your

  • travel and contact information
  • quarantine plan
  • COVID-19 symptoms self-assessment

Please bring your ArriveCAN receipt (electronic or paper) with you to show the border services officer upon arrival.

When you arrive in Canada

We check your identity

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

  • If you enter Canada at certain 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

You talk to the border services officer

Tell the border services officer that you have come here to work.

You won’t be allowed into Canada if you give false or incomplete information.

You must also

  • convince the officer that
  • have valid immigration medical exam results (if you needed an exam)
    • Your exam is valid for 12 months from the day you get it.
    • It must be valid the day you enter Canada.
    • You need to get another medical exam if
      • your exam will expire before you enter Canada and
      • your letter of introduction is still valid

You present your documents

You may need to show proof that your work permit application was approved. One way to do this is to show the border services officer  your port of entry letter of introduction. You’ll get this letter if you

  • applied online or
  • gave us an email address in the work permit application form for communication 

You must also show the officer

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

You should also have supporting documents, such as

  • proof that you’re travelling for a non-discretionary purpose while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place
  • proof that the business that’s hiring you is open while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place
  • proof that you meet the requirements of the job, such as proof of work experience and education
  • a copy of your employer’s positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), if required
  • 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)

We print your work permit

Once the border services officer 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.

Staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19

While you’re working in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are steps you should take to stay safe.

Monitor your health

Keep monitoring your health for fever, cough or difficulty breathing. If you get sick, avoid contact with others and contact your local public health authority.

Download the COVID alert app

Help limit the spread of the virus and protect your safety and the health and safety of Canadians by downloading the Canadian COVID Alert exposure notification application. It will notify you when you’ve been near someone who later tests positive for COVID-19.

You can download it on your mobile device through the App Store or Google Play.

Access employment insurance and benefits if you need them

If you’re laid off or have to take sick leave while working in Canada, you may be eligible to receive employment insurance or other income support benefits from the federal government.

Understand your employer’s responsibilities

Your employer must

  • allow you to follow any
    • isolation or quarantine order you’ve received, or
    • provincial public health order related to COVID-19
  • pay your wages during the 14-day isolation or quarantine period when you first arrive in Canada

If your employer hasn’t followed the rules, you should contact the Tip Line at 1-866-602-9448 or report it online.

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.

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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