Canada work permit or work visa is a government-issued document and authorization to foreigners to take a job in any province or city within its territory. Canada work permit applications are submitted to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formally CIC) who then processes and issues authorization to work in Canada on behalf of the Canadian Government. No matter if you completed your work permit application online or by submitting hardcopy (paper) documents, Canada work permit processing time normally takes about 5 months. Again, depending on the country an applicant is applying from.

CIC work permit comes with a specified date, which serves as its expiration and renders it to become invalid to the holder. This is usually between 1 to 2 years; this is longer for students taking longer than 2 years programs in an authorized Designated learning institution. It is best to apply for your Canada work permit extension at least 30 days before it expires. Your international passport also needs to be valid before you commence the processing of your work permit application.

Temporary workers in Canada with expired permits are mandated to stop working immediately their work permits expire in Canada. Eligible persons (visitors and tourist) visiting Canada on a valid visitor visa may be allowed under IRCC regulations to convert their permit to a work permit. has made some changes in their policies. This allows temporary visitors and tourists to take available job offers in Canada.

How to apply for Canada Work Permit

Application Requirements

Not all foreign nationals are mandated to apply for a Canadian work permit before they can start working in Canada. Thus, it’s advisable that you first visit Canada’s immigration website to check if your occupation and country require a work permit to take up employment in Canada. Some job in Canada require that Labour Market Impact Assessment be carried out to determine eligibility of an applicant for a work permit in certain career field. Assuming all requirements are met, it is obligatory that you make a processing fee payment of $155 for your work permit application Canada. Hence, you need a valid credit/debit card (a special form of bank transfers in Canada known as interac and money order is also allowed) to make payments, as well as a scanner or digital camera  to help you in creating digital copies of your documents.

Apply for work permit at the Port of Entry (POE)

A Port of Entry (POE) is a place which is selected as an entry point into Canada by the Government of Canada. Usually the Port of Entry that you come through will be the first airport or land crossing that you stop at in Canada. Port of Entries are The following are some conditions that you need to comply with when applying for your work permit at POE.

  • At this moment, only foreigners that are entering Canada from USA are allowed to apply for work permit at the port of entry.
  • You must have a valid job offer.
  • Due to COVID-19 directives, you must be prepared for a quarantine of 14 days upon your arrival to Canada.

Online or paper application for Canada work permit

In order to apply online for Canadian work permit or through paper route, it is necessary that you undergo the following processes;

  • Create a new online account or sign in to your existing account on CIC website.
  • Complete all mandatory forms and accompanying documents.
  • Pay the required fees for your work permit application.
  • Then submit online or submit in person or by post to your nearest application centre.

After you have applied, ensure that you frequently sign in to your online account to confirm your application status to know if it has been approved or rejected. If you were fortunate to have an approved status of Canadian work permit, you’ll be given a Canada work permit number, which is also known as Unique Client Identifier (UCI). 

Types of Canadian work permits

There are 2 types of Canadian work permits, which are ideal to foreigners based on their specialization and qualification. CIC work permit processing time cannot be properly estimated right now because of COVI9-19 impacts, which makes them unable to process work permit applications as supposed. However, the following are the types of Canadian work permit.

Employer-specific work permit

This type of Canadian work permit allows you to work in Canada on the basis of some factors. Such factors include the amount of hours you can work for, the areas where you can work, as well as the name of the particular employer that you’re allowed to work with. Employer-specific work permit is mostly issued to researchers, visiting professors, etc.

For certain occupations, there are some requirements that must be met by the employer before you can forward your application for employer-specific work permit. The employer also needs to give you an offer of employment number to support your application or a copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Open work permit

Open work permit is one of the most common types of Canadian work permits. When approved, open work permit application grants authorization to foreigners who needs to work anywhere in Canada. It’s offered by the immigration office to foreign nationals who intend to work under any Canada’s employer for a stated period of time. You do not need to have a job offer before you can apply for an open work permit Canada. Besides, Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is also not necessary when applying for an open work permit.

Work permit application fees

Additional to a $100 application fee for Canadian work permit application, applicants of Canadian open work visa must make payments of $155, also known as open work permit holder fee.

Extending work permit in Canada

Your Canada work permit won’t last forever so you’ll need to renew it when it has almost reached its expiry period. When you apply for work permit extension online, you’ll receive a WP-EXT exempt PGWP letter, which serves as an authorization for you to continue working with your employer. It offers the same conditions as your current work permit. WP-EXT exempt PGWP letter has an expiration date of 120 days, which is stated on it. This indicates the normal processing times to extend work permit Canada. You can then access your online account to view the status of your request to renew work permit Canada.

Bridging open work permit (BOWP)

You need BOWP if you’re currently applying for Canada’s permanent residence. It’s a unique work permit that allows you to extend work permit while waiting for permanent residence. It’s a work permit that serves as a bridge, which links the period between when you applied for your permanent residence till when your current visa becomes invalid or expires.

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

“a foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit“.

The above is according to section 186 of IRPR. This also includes international students who have completed their studies in qualified Canadian Designated Learning Institutions (DLI’s). Post graduate work permit makes it possible for graduates of some Canadian DLI’s to seek and apply for jobs within Canada in order to earn more work experience. Post-graduation work permit is only available to holders of Canada’s study permit, and it avails them with an open work permit.

Moreover, in National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type 0 or skill level A or B, skilled work experience that are being acquired by an individual through PGWP is helpful to the person as it qualifies him/her for Canada’s permanent residence. To be issued a Canada post graduate work permit, you need to comply with the following criteria;

  • You should have/had a valid study permit.
  • You were a full-time student at a Canadian DLI.
  • You were authorized to work off-campus without a work permit.
  • You never exceeded the permissible work hours.

You should note that post graduate processing time takes Canada immigration about 4 to 5 months to finalize it’s application process. Applicants who got their post graduate work permit rejected will have to stop working as soon as they receive such update. It may also prompt you to leave Canada since you aren’t studying and your post graduate work permit application wasn’t approved.

More so, post graduate work permit extension is now possible as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently made a new policy that allows foreigners who have graduated from a Canada institution to be offered with a new open work permit.

Co-op work permit

This type of work permit is suitable for Canada’s international students that need to partake in internships or co-op work placements. When you apply for a co op work permit, you’ll be offered an open work permit that considers your institution as your employer.

Before you apply for a coop work permit, ensure;

  • You have a valid study permit
  • Your institution has made it essential for you to work before you can be allowed to graduate
  • Also, your institution must make provision of a letter, which proves that all the students in the same program with you must partake in an internship to meet their degree’s requirements
  • Your internship or co-op placement should not cost more than 50% of your study program

Spousal open work permit

If your spouse is an holder of an open work permit like post-graduation work permit, you can make use of your spouse’s work permit to facilitate your application.

You can do this by attaching;

  • a copy of your husband/wife’s work permit
  • a copy of your spouse’s recent pay slips
  • a copy of your spouse’s job, or a letter from your spouse’s employer to proof that him/her is an employee in the organization/establishment under NOC 0, A or B occupations.

Note: If the work you wish to apply for relates to welding, soldering and other flammable materials, it’s necessary that you apply for a Canada hot work permit. Moreover, this is one of the requirements of hot work management programs for foreign nationals.

Work permit processing time Canada

As a result of COVID-19 pandemic, there have been changes in the operations of Canada Immigration which has led to inaccurate prediction of Canada work permit processing time. Though, the work permit processing times Canada usually takes about 5 months.

Frequently Asked Questions about Canada’s Work Permit

What is a work permit?

Work permit authorizes a foreigner to request and accept job offers in a foreign country.

What is open work permit?
A open work permit allows a foreigner to work in any Canada’s establishment or organization for a certain period.
How much is work permit holder fee?
Work permit application fee is $100. While open work permit require additional $155.
Who can apply for work permit in Canada?
  • Traders, investors, intra-company transferee or professionals
  • People who possesses a valid study or work permit
  • People with a valid study permit, and are qualified for PGWP
  • Persons who have their parents, spouse or a common-law partner in Canada with a valid study or work permit
  • People who have made claims for refugee protection
  • Persons who hold a Canada’s temporary residence permit with a validity period of at least six months
  • The individual is acknowledged by IRCC as a conventional refugee or protected person
  • People who are already in Canada, and are anticipating response of their permanent residence application, among others.
How to apply for OHIP with a work permit?

Holders of valid open and closed work permits are eligible to apply for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

Requirements:

For more than 6 months, you have to be a full-time employee of an Ontario employer

You need to maintain the same main residential address in Ontario

In any 12 months interval, it’s necessary that you are physically in Ontario for a minimum of 153 days

After having a residence in Ontario, you need to be physically present in the province for 153 days of the first 183 days.

Application process:

You need to visit Service Ontario centre to submit your completed OHIP registration form by yourself. You also need to tender 3 separate copies of a document that proves that you reside in Ontario, credit card or passport, as well as a document that confirms your OHIP eligibility status.