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Work Permit Rules for Athletes in Canada

Austin Campbell



Work Permit Rules

Canada manages to organize a wide range of sports activities. The country invites athletes and coaches from around the world who mark their presence in the “Great White North”.

The Canadian government encourages Canada’s sport system at large. They invest, promote, and provide funding for several sports initiatives for athletes. However, there are different requirements for athletes and staff to work in Canada.

Several provinces and cities in Canada participate in North American sports leagues as teams. In addition, there are a lot of worldwide games or sports events organized all over the country.

Therefore, work permit regulations depend on the factor of whether your team is Canada-based or not.

When Athletes and staff working for a non-Canadian employer

When many international athletes and staff immigrate to Canada to participate in sports competitions, they are looked at as potential workers in Canada. In technical terms, they are foreign workers. However, several rules under the program Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) do not apply to athletes and coaches.


It becomes difficult to subject these persons to such rules and regulations. Particularly, when these rules are associated with the TFWP and prohibit Canada from participating in international sporting events.

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So, as long as these athletes or individuals, or support staff are a part of an international team, a work permit is not required.

When Athletes and staff join a Canadian employer

Usually, a foreign national requires a work permit, when they want to play or join a Canada-based team as an individual athlete.

But in this case, several rules or red tape connected with getting a work permit are removed from the system. As a result, these athletes are exempted from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement.


The LMIA-exempt work permits are excluded from showing any type of labour shortage. This is why it is important to make sure that athletes are eligible for work permits. Moreover, it is also important to prepare the work-permit application properly. The only reason is that LMIA applications are reviewed and verified very closely. Any small error can stop the success of these applications.



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