How to Work in Canada Temporariliy

General Provisions for Temporary Workers

What do I need to work in Canada temporarily?

A valid employment authorization

Who may apply?

Non-Canadian citizens and non-permanent residents

How do I apply?

In general, applications for entry into Canada should be made several months in advance at a Canadian embassy or consulate. Citizens of the U.S., Greenland or St. Pierre de Miquelon may complete their applications at a port of entry (documentation is required).

What do I need?

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) requires proof of a job offer that is temporary in nature. Applicants must also provide evidence of their job skills/qualifications and may be required to satisfy specific medical and security requirements. In addition, the Canadian employer, in collaboration with Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) will need to conduct a job validation (i.e. a labour market analysis to determine the economic impact of hiring non-domestically). Once the job validation process is complete, the applicant is eligible to apply for an employment authorization.

Note: Not all cases will require a job validation. In addition, employers who wish to hire several foreign workers can collaborate with HRDC and CIC to set up a firm specific agreement or a sectoral agreement under one set of negotiations.

How do I work in Quebec?

Quebec workers must obtain a "Certificat d'acceptation du Quebec" prior to applying for an employment authorization.

Can I apply for an authorization on my visit to Canada?

Visitors to Canada cannot apply for employment authorizations.

How long is the employment authorization good for?

It will depend on the specific terms and conditions of the authorization.

For detailed information, visit

Special Programs

GATS-(General Agreement on Trade and Services)-Since 1995, more than 120 member countries have participated in individual agreements to facilitate access to their labour force. GATS applies to business visitors, inter-company transferees and certain categories of professionals (specific conditions exist). To determine if you qualify for temporary entry into Canada under GATS, you must belong to one of the aforementioned three categories, meet specified criteria for citizenship, work in one of eight service sectors and abide by the provisions of the Immigration Act and Regulations. Some advantages of entering the country under GATS include its speed and relative ease (job validations are not required). In addition, employment authorizations are not required for business visitors. For more information, contact a Canadian consulate or embassy, a Canadian port of entry, a local Canadian immigration office or visit the website

NAFTA-North American Free Trade Agreement - This agreement facilitates temporary entry into Canada for Mexican and American citizens (with certain exceptions) for the purpose of trade, service or investment. Four general requirements must be satisfied in order to enter Canada under NAFTA. These include proof of citizenship, temporary nature of entry, qualification in one of four business categories (business visitor, professional, inter-company transferee or trader/investor) and fulfillment of immigration requirements for temporary entry into Canada. The main advantages of entry under the NAFTA it is relatively quick and easy. For detailed information visit the website

Entry to Canada under the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement -In effect since July 1997, this agreement pertains solely to citizens of Canada and Chile and covers the trade of goods and services and investment. Entry must be temporary in nature and applicants must belong to one of four categories (business visitor, professional, inter-company transferee and trader/investor). For further details including specific guidelines visit the website

Facilitated Processing for Information Technology Workers - Operations Memorandum FW 99-03

In 1997, a pilot project was implemented to assist Canadian employers in gaining access to foreign software industry professionals. To facilitate their entry into Canada, a national job validation letter was created which eliminated the need for specific job validations. Currently, the pilot project is in the process of being replaced by a new Temporary Foreign Worker Program. However, until such time as the new program is complete, the provisions detailed in Operations Memorandum FW 99-03 must be adhered to. Directed at the high tech industry, Operations Memorandum FW 99-03 is based on this sector's record growth and corresponding demand for competent labour. The memo, which pertains exclusively to certain occupations, details a list of generic job descriptions which are considered to have been nationally validated by HRDC. Therefore, individuals with job offers that match these descriptions will be permitted to obtain their employment authorizations while forgoing the job validation process. For more specific information on Operations Memorandum FW-99-03 and to view a list of generic job descriptions visit the website

Becoming a Canadian Citizen- Complete details on immigrating to Canada and how to become a Canadian citizen can be found on the website or by phoning a call centre.

Call Centres:
Montreal -> 514-496-1010
Toronto -> 416-973-4444
Vancouver -> 604-666-2171
For all other areas within Canada, call 1-888-242-2100.
If you are calling from outside of Canada, contact the Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.

To obtain the address of a Citizenship office, please phone a call centre.