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Guide to Employ International Workers for Canadian Conventions

Ashley Shelton



Canadian Workers

International workers involved in any Canadian events need to have a work permit in order to perform a job, legally. The federal government considers every event Canadian if they are hosted by organizations that are doing business in Canada. Hosting organizations can be associations, corporations, or the government. Any event which is hosted by the Canadian branch of an international organization also falls under this category. So, if the event is hosted by any Canadian subsidiary, then every employee of the international branch would require a work permit to work on the event.

These regulations are not only applied to conventions and trade shows but associations, meetings, exhibitions, and other related shows. The work permit will totally depend upon the worker’s role in the event. The Canadian work permit is divided into two broad categories. Temporary Foreign Worker Program and International Mobility Program. The major difference between the two is the requirement of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

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LMIA signals the scarcity of qualified Canadian residents for a particular job to the federal government.  It also means there will be no negative consequences to the Canadian labour market by hiring international talent. International Mobility Program requires no LMIA because they have been offered a significant benefit to the country’s economic, social and cultural objectives.

Here, we will try to help with the information on what foreign employees need to work legally in Canada. The following roles mentioned are not to be considered as business visitors and therefore require work permits. Business visitors exclusively include board members, conference delegates, and attendees.



International exhibitors who are selling Canadian-made products need to have a work permit which is also supported by LMIA. The LMIA is important because according to the federal government of Canada if a product is made and sold in the country, there could be no reason a Canadian should not be the one to sell the product.

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In case the exhibitor is selling an international product to the general public, they can apply for a significant benefit work permit, which is LMIA exempt. It is considered to be a benefit because the foreign workers hire Canadian services and buy accommodations.

Display Set-Ups

International workers may require work permits to install and dismantle the display stall if it is larger than a portable pop-up. These work permits won’t require LMIA. The same is applied to contract service providers. Canadian event organizers will require a work permit for international contractors who install and dismantle the exhibits, works behind the scenes such as decorators, lighting. This work permit will require LMIA.

Exhibitors are always expected to hire Canadians for all the labour on the convention floor, otherwise, an LMIA-supported work permit will be required.

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