What happens if I have a closed work permit and I lose my job?

Julia Hornstein
Published: March 19, 2023

Canada offers many distinct work permit options to global talent.

One category of Canada’s work permit options is called closed work permits, which require foreign skilled workers to work exclusively a single employer. In this case, that employer must have obtained a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before providing the foreign national with a job offer. An LMIA is used to ensure that the hiring of a foreign national with have a neutral or positive impact on the Canadian labour market.

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

A closed work permit, also known as an employer-specific work permit, allows you to work in Canada according to the conditions associated with the work permit, such as:

  • The name of the specific employer you can work for,
  • How long you can work,
  • The location of your work.

Losing your job with a valid closed work permit

If you lose your job while holding a valid closed work permit, you will no longer be able to work for your current employer or work another job for a different employer. However, for as long as the permit remains valid, you can legally stay in Canada without employment.

If you wish to continue working, you must change the conditions of your work permit. If you want to start a new job, you must qualify for and apply for a new work permit. You are not allowed to start working a new job for a new employer before you get a new work permit with new conditions of employment.

You may also apply to switch to an open work permit, if eligible. An open work permit is not tied to one employer or occupation. In other words, open work permits allow for freedom of movement between workplaces, employers, occupations, or locations (within Canada). You can apply for an open work permit from inside or outside Canada.

In addition, open work permits are exempt from some of the requirements associated with obtaining a closed permit in Canada. You do not need to have a job offer or a positive LMIA to be eligible for an open work permit.

I was abused/exploited at my job. What are my options?

If you are being abused or are at risk of being abused at your place of employment in Canada, you may be eligible for an open work permit for vulnerable workers.

The open work permit for vulnerable workers is designed to protect your rights as a worker in Canada by helping you leave an exploitative or abusive work situation and find a new job. However, it is a temporary solution, meaning it has an expiry date and it cannot be renewed.

Once you hold this type of permit, you are given time to find a new employer and apply for a new work permit.

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

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