Finding a job and working in Canada

Chapter 12: Freelancing in Canada

Published: 24-02-2020



Freelancing in Canada

Freelancing with a WHV
Web designers, copywriters, journalists, translators, etc. can work as freelancers during their WHV. The Canada Revenue Agency will consider you a self-employed individual. You just have to invoice your clients and get a GST/HST number if you make more than CAD$30,000 a year. The CRA has online services available for businesses and self-employed individuals. Make sure you save enough money to pay income tax at the end of the financial year. If you’re working with one main client, make sure to clarify your employment status, i.e. decide whether you’re an employee or a self-employed individual.

Freelancing with other work permits
Young Professionals work permit holders cannot work as freelancers. You cannot apply for a work permit if you find clients and would like to work as a freelancer—to get a work permit, you need a job offer from a Canadian employer.

Permanent resident in Canada can work as freelancers and self-employed individuals can consider applying for permanent residence under the Self-Employed Program.

How can I stay in Canada after a WHV?

There are several options to stay in Canada or come back to Canada after your WHV expires. While it’s no longer possible to apply for a Young Professionals work permit after a WHV, you may be eligible under other programs.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program
This type of work permit is a long process and it’s also the hardest to get. Your employers must prove that there is a need for a temporary worker and that no Canadians are available to do the job. As part of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), the position must be advertised for several weeks online on Job Bank and using two more methods national in scope. Interviews must be conducted with all applicants meeting the requirements. The LMIA can only be approved at the end of the process if no suitable permanent resident or Canadian citizen applicant can be hired. The employer must pay the CAD$1,000 processing fee.

If you’re working in Quebec, you also have to apply for a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) before applying for the work permit at the federal level.

The International Mobility Program (IMP)
The IMP lets employers hire temporary workers without an LMIA. Exemptions from the LMIA process are based on the broader economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada and the reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents.

However, your work permit will be tied to a specific employer, unlike the WHV, which is an open work permit.

For more information, you can study the comprehensive Functional guidance on temporary residents with all the policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff.

Chapter 12 of 12


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