Two Roads to Work Permits
A foreign national who wishes to work in Canada generally requires a work permit. Work permits allow people to quickly begin working in Canada and can be a stepping stone toward Canadian permanent resident visas.
A work permit is generally required for a foreign national who intends to "work" in Canada. For Canadian immigration purposes, work is defined as an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labor market. Any activity that does not take an opportunity from a Canadian to be employed or gain work experience is not considered work eg: volunteer work or work done by phone/internet where the person is employed by a company outside Canada.