Jobs That Do Not Require a Work Permit in Canada

Military Personnel:

All military personnel who have been given orders to come to Canada do not need a work permit as long as they are serving a country that is designated under the Visiting Forces Act.

Note: this work permit exemption applies to military personnel and not “military attachés”, who are employed by diplomatic missions.

Athletes and Team Members:

Foreign-born professional or amateur athletes may participate individually or as a team in Canadian sporting events without having to get a work permit. Coaches, trainers and other important team members are also exempt from the work permit requirement.

Spouses of professional athletes working in Canada must have a work permit but are exempt from the LMIA requirement.

Public Speakers

This category includes: guest speakers for specific events, commercial speakers and seminar leaders. The speaking engagements for all of the above must not last for more than 5 days. The following public speakers, however, must get a work permit and LMIA before entering Canada:

  • Commercial speakers who are hired by a Canadian business to provide training services.
  • Guest athletics instructors coming to teach weekend seminars.

Convention Organizers

Individuals, committees and support staff who are organizing a convention or conference do not need a work permit to work in Canada. Events covered by this exemption include:

  • Association meetings
  • Corporate meetings
  • Trade shows or exhibitions
  • Consumer shows or exhibitions

Note: This exemption does not apply to “hands-on” workers such as those who provide audio-visual services, installation and dismantling services, show decorating services, or exhibit building services.

Further, a convention organizer will have to obtain a work permit if he/she is organizing an event for an organization that:

  • Is actively doing business in Canada
  • Is centered in Canada
  • Has a subsidiary branch in Canada


A person will be exempt from the work permit requirement if his/her work consists mainly of: preaching doctrine, presiding at religious events or providing spiritual guidance.

Peoples who do not perform the work above but are engaged in religiously based community service activities must have a work permit but do not need to get a LMIA.

Persons seeking entry to Canada under this category must be able to provide evidence concerning:

  • The genuineness of their offer of religious employment
  • The genuineness of the religious group that is offering the job
  • The ability of the clergyman to perform clerical duties for a congregation of the relevant religious group

Note: In some cases, visa officers may require further evidence in order to assess the genuineness of the religious job being offered.

Judges, Referees and Similar Officials

Judges, referees and similar officials may work in Canada without a work permit if they are involved in:

  • An international amateur sports contest
    • The contest should be organized by an international amateur sporting association and hosted by a Canadian organization.
    • An international cultural or artistic event or contest
    • An animal or agricultural contest

Note: Referees for professional sporting leagues are normally required to obtain a work permit and a LMIA. However, referees in certain professional sports leagues such as the NHL, MLB and NBA are exempt from this requirement due to specific reciprocal agreements between Canada and the USA.

Examiners and Evaluators

Under this category, successful academics that guide students and review their work will be allowed to enter Canada without a work permit in order to review their students’ theses and papers. This group also includes professors and researchers who are entering Canada in order to evaluate academic university programs or research proposals.

Expert Witnesses or Investigators

A worker does not need to obtain a work permit to enter Canada if he/she:

  • Is entering Canada to conduct surveys or analyses that will be used as evidence before a regulatory body, tribunal or court of law
  • Is entering Canada to serve as an expert witness before a regulatory body, tribunal or court of law

Civil Aviation Inspectors

Flight operations inspectors and cabin safety inspectors who enter Canada temporarily while inspecting the safety procedures on commercial international flights are exempt from the work permit requirement. Workers under this group must be employed by a recognized aeronautics safety authority and must have valid documentation establishing that they are aviation inspectors.

Aviation Accident or Incident Inspectors

Accredited representatives or advisors that aid in the investigation of aviation accidents or incidents under the authority of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act are exempt from the work permit requirement.

Emergency Service Providers

Persons who come to Canada for the purpose of rendering services in times of emergency are exempt from the work permit requirement. These persons may be:

  • Doctors
  • Medical teams
  • Appraisers
  • Provincially licensed insurance adjusters

The emergencies may be medical, industrial, environmental or the result of a natural disaster.

Foreign insurance adjusters must be able to prove that they meet all relevant provincial regulatory requirements in order to be admitted to Canada without a work permit.

Implied Status

Workers may continue working in Canada under the conditions of an expired work permit as long as they have applied for a new permit before the initial work permit expired and still live in Canada. If the new application for a work permit is rejected, the worker will have to leave Canada.

Farm Work

A person may work on a farm without a work permit as long as:

  • The farm work is on a volunteer basis
  • The person’s primary reason for coming to Canada was something other than the farm work (such as tourism or visiting family/friends)00
  • The farm is non-commercial. Non-commercial farms are generally defined as: farms where the owner provides much of the capital and labour for the farm and where the farm produce is used to provide for the basic needs of the owner’s family, with little extra to sell for profit.