Who Can Work in Canada Without a Work Permit 2024?

Canada offers exciting work opportunities, attracting many foreign nationals.

Luckily, under specific circumstances, you may not need a work permit to work in Canada.

Here’s a breakdown of 22 situations where a work permit is not required:


Business Visitors

They focus on business activities without joining the Canadian job market. They do not receive pay from Canada but engage in international business activities. They must be employed by a foreign company with their main income and workplace outside Canada. Upon entry, proof of business visitor status like a support letter or invitation letter might be needed.

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Foreign Representatives & Family

Representatives need accreditation from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). A ‘No objection letter’ from DFAIT allows family members to work.

Military Personnel

This includes military and civilian personnel in Canada under the Visiting Forces Act. Families also benefit. Exemptions include passports, temporary resident visas, and medical exams, which might still be needed for civilians and families.

Foreign Government Officers

Canada has agreements with other countries for government employee exchange. Executives need a contract from Canada’s Public Service Commission (PSC), and others need a formal letter of agreement for assignments over 3 months. Family benefits include an open work permit or exemption.

American Cross-Border Law Enforcement

This applies to specific law enforcement vessels with joint US-Canada crews. American crew members can work in Canada without a permit.

In-Flight Security Officers (IFSOs)

IFSOs employed by a foreign government for aircraft safety can work without a permit as long as duties are limited to the foreign aircraft. A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) might be needed depending on the IFSO’s home country.

On-Campus Employment (Students)

Students with a valid study permit and enrolled full-time at a designated institution can work on campus. This applies to public post-secondary schools, CEGEPs, authorized private colleges in Quebec, and Canadian private institutions awarding degrees. Work is allowed throughout the study permit validity if full-time studies continue. Research/teaching assistants considered on-campus workers must be recommended by their academic department and their work must be directed by a department head or faculty member at a research institute or affiliated program. The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) allows full-time work while waiting for the permit as long as the study permit is valid.

Performing Artists

Certain performers can work without a permit, while others may need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and work permit. IRCC allows some performers to enter without a permit, including bands in bars, pubs, restaurants, etc., foreign-based musical/theatrical individuals and crews outside bars/restaurants, guest artists within a Canadian performance group for a limited time, and performers at private events like weddings. Additional categories not requiring a permit include film producers and film/recording studio users (as business visitors), guest speakers on Canadian TV/radio broadcasts, and more.

Athletes and Team Members

This includes professional and amateur athletes and their coaches, trainers, and essential team members for individual or team-based events. IRCC allows various participants to work without a permit, such as amateur players on Canadian teams, foreign pet owners entering their animals in shows, jockeys, race car drivers, individuals attending professional team tryouts, foreign team members in competitions, grooms or team support members, and full or part-time coaches and trainers. Spouses of professional athletes are eligible for a work permit exempt from LMIA.

News Reporters and Media Crews

This applies to news reporters and crews covering events in Canada, employed by a non-Canadian company. Managerial or clerical personnel might need a work permit unless covering special events under 6 months. Media crews producing travelogues, documentaries, etc., may require work permits, as decided by a visa officer.

Public Speakers

This includes presenters at events like guest speakers, commercial speakers, and seminar leaders without a vested interest in the event. If hired by a Canadian entity, an LMIA and work permit are required.

Convention Organizers

Individuals organizing events may need a work permit if the event is organized by a Canadian entity. Conference attendees are considered business visitors, exempt from work permits.


This applies to ordained ministers, laypeople, or members of a religious order for preaching, religious services, or spiritual counseling. Requirements include primary duties aligned with religious objectives and proof of employment offer and capacity to minister. Charitable/religious work requires a work permit exempt from LMIA.

Judges, Referees, and Similar Officials

This applies to those participating in international amateur events in sports, arts, agriculture, and culture, especially events coordinated by an international organization and hosted by a Canadian entity. Professionals require an LMIA and work permit.

Examiners and Evaluators

Foreign professors and researchers can judge theses/projects without a work permit.

Expert Witnesses and Investigators

Experts entering Canada for surveys/analyses as evidence or to testify are exempt from work permits.

Healthcare Students

Foreign healthcare students can engage in unpaid clinical clerkships or short-term practicums (max 4 months) in fields like medicine, nursing, medical technology, occupational/physical therapy. Paid work or stays exceeding 4 months require a work permit.

Civil Aviation Inspectors

Flight operations and cabin safety inspectors of commercial international flights, employed by a recognized aeronautical authority with valid documentation, are exempt from work permits.

Aviation Accident/Incident Inspectors

Accredited representatives aiding in investigations under the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act are exempt from work permits.

Crew Members

Crew on foreign-owned means of transportation primarily for international transportation are exempt.

Emergency Service Providers

Workers entering Canada for emergency services during natural disasters or commercial accidents are facilitated by Canada-US agreements.

Maintained Status

Individuals can continue to work under expired work permits while a renewal application is pending if they stay in Canada to maintain status. After the decision, they can continue working under the new permit or leave Canada.

Important Note:

This is a general guide and may not apply to all situations. Consulting a Canadian immigration professional for specific advice regarding eligibility to work in Canada without a work permit is advisable

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