Canadian work permits for athletes

Daniel Levy
Published: October 17, 2022

There are specific requirements for athletes and staff looking to work in Canada.

Work permit rules depend on whether your team is based in Canada or abroad.

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

Athletes and staff working for a non-Canadian employer

Although foreign athletes and coaches are technically foreign workers, some of the rules and regulations of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) do not apply to them. It would be overly burdensome to subject these individuals to the rules and procedures usually associated with the TFWP, and would prevent Canada from participating in international sporting events.

Therefore, as long these individuals are a member of a foreign-based team or an athlete representing a foreign country, a work permit is generally not required. The same goes for any of the foreign team or athlete’s essential personal and support staff.

Athletes and staff joining a Canadian employer

If a foreign national wants to join a Canada-based sports team or represent Canada as an individual athlete, they usually do need a work permit.

However, even in this scenario, much of the red tape usually associated with acquiring a work permit is removed from the process. This is because such athletes can be exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement, which is usually the most onerous aspect of getting a work permit.

The LMIA is usually necessary to demonstrate that there is a labour shortage and, as a result, the Canadian employer was unable to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position. As such, LMIA applications are scrutinized very closely—even a trivial error can jeopardize the success of these applications.

LMIA-exempt work permits are exempt from demonstrating this labour shortage. Consequently, it is important to ensure athletes are eligible for this type of work permit and have a well-prepared work permit application.

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit to discover your Canadian immigration options.

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Related articles
Report recommends that Canada phase out closed work permits
Two workers in a factory are talking and smiling
Which jobs received the most LMIAs in 2023?
A picture of a Canadian visa above an application for a Labour Market Impact Assesment.
Canada’s immigration system proposes changes to the PGWP
A picture of a number of new graduates at the graduation ceremony
More Canadian immigrants are being hired for jobs that fit their qualifications
Over shoulder view of man at computer screen with multinational group of successful business people.
Top Stories
Canada’s population grows by over one million in less than a year
Express Entry: IRCC invites 1,499 candidates in latest draw
Category-based Express Entry draws: A year in review
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Express Entry
Express Entry: IRCC invites 1,499 candidates in latest draw
Candidates have received ITAs in that latest Express Entry draw
Category-based Express Entry draws: A year in review
people in nature and smile with grandparents, parents and children bonding.
How some Express Entry candidates may benefit from category-based selection draws
Business people smiling and having a meeting in the office.
How do Express Entry draws in 2024 compare to 2023?
A man sitting at a table looking intently at his laptop.
Link copied to clipboard