Who can apply for a certificate of coverage?

An employer or a self-employed worker can apply for a certificate.

Employer

If you are an employer and you send an employee to work temporarily in a country that has a social security agreement with Canada, you can ask for a certificate of coverage for that employee. The length of time that a certificate of coverage can cover varies by country.

When you apply for coverage under a social security agreement for your employee, you should intend to resume their employment with you in Canada at the end of their temporary assignment.

Detachment

A detachment happens when an employee is temporarily assigned, posted, or seconded to another country for a specific period of time. A worker is not considered detached if they are permanently transferred or appointed to a position in another country.

Each social security agreement sets a limit to the duration of coverage for a detachment. As an example, for a detachment under Canada’s social security agreement with the United States, a certificate of coverage can be issued for maximum period of 60 months. To find out the limit for each country, go to Table of countries Canada has agreements.

Extension

An employer can ask for an extension when a detached employee’s presence in the other country is needed beyond the period on their certificate of coverage. To get an extension for a Canadian employee working in another country, fill out a new form for the country that applies to you and send it to the Canada Revenue Agency. You should file such a request before a previously issued certificate expires.

An employer can also ask for an extension beyond the limit set in the agreement in certain circumstances. The Canada Revenue Agency can approve such a request if both countries agree. If the total duration is longer than the limit set in the agreement, send a letter with your application form. Please include:

  • the name and date of birth of the worker
  • the name of the Canadian employer
  • the name and address of the business in the foreign country
  • the dates of previously approved certificates of coverage and any dates of extension
  • a short, detailed, explanation of why the extension is needed and why the worker couldn't be replaced by a local worker
  • the date that the worker is expected to return to Canada to work for the Canadian employer

CPP contributions and T4 slip

It is the Canadian employer’s responsibility to remit and report an employee's and the employer’s parts of CPP contributions. Pensionable earnings include all remuneration related to the detachment outside Canada. For information on how to fill out a T4 slip for a detached employee, see Employment outside Canada.

Self-employed worker

You can ask for a certificate of coverage if you are a self-employed worker, a resident of Canada, and will be temporarily working outside of Canada.

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