Prepare for arrival – Work in Canada

There are a few things you should know about before you arrive in Canada to work.

Presenting your documents

When you enter Canada, tell the border services officer (BSO) that you have come here to work.

If you have a Letter of Introduction (LOI) from a Canadian visa office that says you are approved to work in Canada, bring it with you. This letter is not a travel document and it is not your work permit, but you must show it when you arrive in Canada.

You should also have supporting documents, such as:

  • proof that you meet requirements of the job, such as proof of work experience and education,
  • a copy of your employer’s positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (if required), or
  • the offer of employment number your employer received when they submitted the offer of employment through the Employer Portal (if you are LMIA-exempt and coming to work for a specific employer).

Once the border services officer has checked your documents and confirms that you can enter Canada, the officer will print the actual work permit for you.

Medical and health insurance, and workers’ compensation in Canada

Your employer must make sure you are covered by medical and health insurance, and workers’ compensation, when you arrive in Canada.

Getting a social insurance number

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. You should apply for a SIN as soon as possible after you arrive in Canada.

To apply for your SIN, simply gather all the required original proof-of-identity documents and take them to the nearest Service Canada point of service. If everything is in order, you will get your SIN at the time of your visit.

Your SIN is confidential. There are a number of things that you can do to protect your SIN.

Contact Service Canada if:

  • you change your name,
  • your citizenship status changes,
  • information on your SIN record is incorrect or incomplete.
  • your SIN is lost or stolen, or
  • you suspect that your SIN is being wrongly used.

Your spouse working in Canada

If you have a spouse or common-law partner who wants to work in Canada, they must apply for their own work permit. Normally, they must meet the same rules as you do. This includes getting an LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada, if needed.

Your spouse or common-law partner may be able to apply for an open work permit that will let them accept any job with any employer.

Your children studying or working in Canada

Your dependent children may also apply to come with you to Canada, and if they wish, apply for a study or work permit.

Staying in Canada

Read your work permit carefully. It sets out all the conditions for working in Canada. If you do not meet those conditions, you could be asked to leave Canada.

You can also apply to change the conditions of your work permit or to renew it.

Employment and labour standards

Each province and territory has standards to protect employers and employees.

Labour standards include rules about:

  • minimum wages,
  • overtime,
  • holidays,
  • vacations,
  • hours of work,
  • rest periods and
  • days of rest.

If you have any questions about labour standards or if you think your employer is not meeting them, contact the ministry in charge of labour or employment standards in the province or territory where you work.

To find out more about employment standards and your rights, see Understand your rights – foreign workers.

Labour standards organizations

Find out how to contact the office in charge of labour or employment standards in the province or territory where you work:

You can also contact Labour Canada, the federal department that regulates employment and enforces standards such as hours of work, holidays, leave, pay, and more.

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