Today’s global interconnectedness means that individuals from around the world can come together to carry out a creative project. If such projects are taking place within Canada, the following information is of relevance for models and other creatives coming from abroad.


Do You Need a Work Permit to Work in Canada

Some creatives do not need a work permit to work in Canada. For example, if you’re a member of a film or media crew who will not enter the Canadian labor market, you don’t need a work permit to work in Canada. You also don’t need a work permit if you’re working on a foreign-financed commercial or shoot for television, magazines, or other media and you’re a: i) producer, ii) actor, iii) director, iv) technician, or v) other essential personnel. Various kinds of performing artists can also work in Canada without a work permit.


Immigration and Citizenship Canada informs us that one usually needs a work permit to work in Canada. While we saw above that some creatives can work in Canada without a work permit, many creatives do need a work permit. These creatives would include models, photographers, and makeup artists, to name a few.


Finding Out if You’re Eligible to Work in Canada

Not everyone who needs a work permit is granted one. Whether or not you’re eligible for a work permit depends on a few things, including where you plan to apply for your work permit. No matter where you apply, you must:


  • Prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires,
  • Show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home
  • Obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (you may be asked to provide a police clearance certificate)
  • Not be a danger to Canada’s security
  • Be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed,
  • Not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible”
  • Not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages, and
  • Give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country.


Important to note is that while the above are general eligibility requirements, the process of obtaining a work permit to work in Canada can be further nuanced by factors including: i) if you are applying for a work permit from outside Canada, ii) if you are applying for a work permit from inside Canada, and iii) if you are applying for a work permit when you enter Canada.


Specifically, fashion models seeking to qualify for a work permit would also need proof of a job offer from their employer and an approved Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), also from the employer. If you’ve been contracted by an agency which is serving as a middle man, this may not be enough to qualify for a work permit. If you have a contract which doesn’t guarantee any work, this also may not be enough to qualify for a work permit.


In Conclusion

With hundreds of thousands of temporary foreign workers in Canada, it would not be surprising to find that many of these workers are creatives. While both Canada and incoming foreign workers have much to benefit from foreign talent coming from abroad to work in Canada, the relevant immigration issues and procedures can get rather involved. Whether you’re a foreign creative interested in working in Canada, or a Canadian employer interested in recruiting foreign creatives, seeking legal advice can help with all of your immigration needs.



As with all Fashion By Law Posts, this information does not constitute legal advice. For legal inquiries, please contact

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