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Can my spouse or common-law partner work in Canada?

Perhaps. If your spouse or common-law partner wants to work in Canada, they must apply for their own work permit. Normally, they must meet the same requirements that you do.

In most cases, your spouse or common-law partner must apply for a work permit for a specific job. The employer may have to get a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Employment and Social Development Canada. An LMO allows a particular employer to hire someone for a specific job.

However, your spouse or common-law partner may be able to apply for an "open" work permit—allowing him or her to accept any job with any employer—if you meet one of these conditions:

  • you are
    • allowed to work in Canada for at least six months,
    • doing work in Canada that meets a minimum skill level (usually work that requires at least a college diploma) and
    • doing a job listed in Skill Level 0, A or B in the National Occupational Classification, or
  • you are
    • allowed to work in Canada and
    • doing work in Canada that is on a list of eligible occupations in participating provinces.

If your spouse or common-law partner gets an open work permit, it is normally valid for the same period as yours.

In some cases, your spouse or common-law partner will need a medical exam.

Some provinces and territories also have pilot projects for spouses or common-law partners to get open work permits in some cases.


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