Self-Employment While On An IEC Working Holiday
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Self-Employment While On An IEC Working Holiday

Self-Employment While On An IEC Working Holiday is a possibility. Every year, thousands of young adults around the globe arrive in Canada on an International Experience Canada (IEC) Working Holiday work permit. While most working holidaymakers enter a formal employer-employee relationship after arriving in Canada and landing a job, some IEC participants desire to be self-employed in Canada. Fortunately, IEC Working Holiday self-employment is a possibility.

However, there are certain things you need to know before making moves to set up a business or work freelance in Canada while on an IEC work permit.

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), an open work permit may be obtained under IEC through the Working Holiday category that may allow the participant to register a new Canadian corporation for self-employment work. However, IRCC states that self-employment is not the main focus of the IEC Program, and a delegated migration officer makes the final decisions.

Participants with an employer-specific work permit, under either the Young Professionals category or the International Co-op (Internship) category, must always demonstrate that an employer-employee relationship exists. No self-employment may be accepted under these categories.

IEC Working Holiday self-employment

Power is given to provinces by the Canada’s federal framework with respect to starting and operating a business in Canada. If you are considering self-employment in Canada while on an IEC Working Holiday work permit, you should be aware of the numerous federal, provincial, and municipal legislative and regulatory requirements related to operating a business in Canada.


You hear people say ‘I don’t want to start a business in Canada, I just want to do a little freelance’,

Whether you are a writer, photographer, graphic designer, or dress up as a clown for children’s birthday parties — if you are rendering a service for payment or selling a good while in Canada on an IEC Working Holiday, and if the only person being paid is you, this likely fits the definition of freelancing. This means that you are liable to pay income tax on your earnings.

You can also see how to extend or renew a work permit in Canada

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