Temporary Foreign Worker Overview During COVID-19

This is a summary of a earlier outline on the foreign worker landscape during COVID-19. See article here.

Because of the ongoing challenges surrounding COVID-19, the application of the general rules on entry to Canada as a temporary resident have been changed due to the Canadian Government Orders in Council originally issued in March 2020.  Foreign nationals seeking entry to Canada are effectively denied entry for recreational or tourism purposes. Merely visiting is not an option at this time.

If you are a Canadian-based employer seeking to bring in a foreign worker using the Labour Market Impact Assessment  process or the International Mobility Program for LMIA-exempt work permits we advise the employer  and the employee to be mindful of  the following:

  1. Apply online for the work permit even, in the case where entering from the United States, notwithstanding where the worker legally entitled to apply at the Port of Entry, as opposed to appearing at the Port of Entry with the work permit application in hand.
  2. Is the sector of the economy in which the worker s is to be employed a critical industry? Check the guidance on Essential Services and function in Canada during COVID 19 at
  3. Emphasize in the submission letter the work is neither optional or discretionary
  4. Be prepared to assert an essential purpose for the work permit.
  5. Ensure the employee has a current letter from the employer that  the job offer for which the work permit is to be issued is still open.
  6. Have a quarantine plan in place unless a specific exemption from quarantine applies.

If the employer has these elements in place, the process for entry of the temporary foreign worker should proceed far more smoothly. We encourage businesses to consult their legal counsel or connect with our team directly to clarify their unique situation.