Working in Canada with an eTA

Working with an eTA: allowed or not?

In certain cases, it is permitted to work in Canada with an eTA. If you want to travel to Canada to do physical work or manual labour, you will often need a visa or Work Permit, even if you are staying for less than 6 months.

Work that is permitted with an eTA

Working in Canada with an eTA is permitted in the following situations:

  • Visiting a business partner or potential business partner, such as a customer or supplier
  • Attending or organizing business meetings, trade shows or conferences
  • Taking a tour of a company
  • Purchasing or selling products or services
  • Providing after-sales service
  • Taking part in an education or training
  • Providing training courses (provided it is at the Canadian branch of your own employer)
  • Performing physical work or manual labour at university or management level (once for up to 15 consecutive days per semester or once for up to 30 consecutive days per year)

The following professions are also permitted:

  • Guest speaker (for events lasting up to five days)
  • Academic (for evaluation or examination of a research project)
  • Artist/performing artist
  • Athlete (or their coach)
  • Journalist/film crew
  • Judge/arbitrator
Apply for an eTA now

Work that is not permitted with an eTA

If you plan to do any of the following work-related activities in Canada, you cannot apply for an eTA:

  • Doing physical or manual labour (provided it is not at university or management level)
  • Establishing a new business in Canada
  • Performing an assignment for a Canadian organization
  • Entering into employment with a Canadian employer

With an eTA, you may represent your company at a trade show in Canada, but you are not allowed to set up and tear down the booth, which qualifies as physical work.

Visa, eTA or Work Permit?

Do you not meet the requirements to work in Canada with an eTA? Then you must - depending on the work to be performed - apply for a visa, Work Permit or a specific regional residence permit (which also entitles you to do certain work). If you applied for a Work Permit, you will always receive a visa or an eTA at the same time. In that case, you do not have to submit a separate application for a visa or an eTA and pay additional costs for this.

It is important that you meet all the requirements of the eTA when travelling to Canada. This will be checked on arrival by a member of staff of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). To prove that you meet the requirements for a business trip to Canada, you may want to bring a letter of invitation from the potential business partner you will be visiting in Canada and a statement from your employer. This also applies to business trips with a visa or Work Permit. Make sure the following items are included in the invitation letter:

  • Your first name, last name and date of birth
  • Your home address and telephone number, and busines address
  • Your job title and the name of your employer
  • Name and address of the head office, as well as locations of the company you will be visiting
  • Website, date of incorporation and a brief description of the company to be visited
  • Name, (email) address, job description and phone number (reachable 24/7) of the person you will be visiting
  • Address of your residence in Canada and an agreement about the distribution of the costs of the business trip
  • Description of the relationship between your employer and the Canadian organization you will be visiting
  • Description of the relationship between you and the person you will be visiting

Working Holiday Canada

Travellers between the ages of 18 and 30 who wish to fund their trip through Canada with temporary work should apply for a Working Holiday visa. If this visa is granted, an Open Work Permit will also be issued. This mainly applies to the following situations:

  • You have not been offered a job yet
  • You want to work for more than one employer in Canada
  • You want to work in more than one location in Canada
  • You want to work and travel at the same time

This Open Work Permit for a Working Holiday in Canada gives you permission to do almost any job.

Young professionals or students who have been offered an internship or job in Canada should apply for an employer-specific Work Permit. This work permit allows you to work for a single employer at the same location during your entire stay in Canada.