Can I work in Canada with an expired work permit?

Most foreign nationals who intend to work in Canada must hold valid work permits. Nonetheless, some may work in Canada with an expired work permit or even without a work permit. The focus of this article is on expired work permits. However, you may read my other article that focuses on working without a permit.

What is a work permit?

Before explaining an expired work permit, let’s define the work permit. A work permit is a piece of paper that allows you to work in Canada. A typical work permit consists of the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • The document number, application number, and UCI
  • Your personal information (name, passport number, …)
  • The specifics of the work permit (employer, location, start date, work permit expiry date, …)
  • Conditions attached to the work permit

I have enclosed a sample work permit here. However, I deliberately chose an old work permit to prevent cheating. Of course, you can see that I have redacted some portions of it.

Remember that a work permit does not authorize re-entry to Canada. Please consider reading the following articles for more information:

Work permit expiry

You may only work in Canada until the expiry date of the work permit. However, if you meet the conditions, you may request a new work permit before the permit’s expiry date. Assuming you have submitted a complete package before the expiry date of the work permit, you may continue working in Canada. Nonetheless, your work conditions must follow the old work permit, not the new one. There are two reasons you may remain and work in Canada:

  1. Under the maintained status, you may remain in Canada, subject to subsection 183(5) of IRPR.
  2. Subsection 186(u) allows continuing working in Canada. However,  you must obey the terms and conditions of your previous work permit.

IRCC usually issues a transitional work permit to assist you in maintaining your status in Canada. Regardless, you may remain and work in Canada according to the aforementioned sections. In other words, you don’t need a valid transitional work permit to work in Canada. Also, they sometimes could issue public policies to ease up the requirements. For example, a couple of public policies during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed workers to switch employers immediately. However, these are exceptions, not the norm.

What if I apply after the expiry of my work permit?

You have to apply for a new work permit, study permit or visitor record before the expiry of your work permit. Unfortunately, if you do not apply in a timely fashion, you will lose your status in Canada. Nevertheless, you may consider the following:

Keep in mind that while you are applying for restoration of status, you do not have any status in Canada. Consequently, you may not work in Canada.

Can I lose my work permit before the expiry date?

An enforceable removal order cancels your work permit even before the expiry date. However, there are some other reasons for work permit revocation. Here are some examples based on a public policy:

  1. Revocation of the LMIA
  2. An LMIA-exempt work permit hurts the labour market.
  3. The employer has enclosed inaccurate, false or misleading information.
  4. The employer is now on the ineligible list.
  5. The foreign national has received their work permit because of a relative (e.g., IMP C41 ). However, the authorities have revoked the principal applicant’s permit.

Subsection 30(1.41) of IRPA allows an officer to revoke your work permit based on this public policy. However, this section does not prohibit them from other revocation options.

Let us help!

If you are approaching the expiry date of your work permit, book a consultation session with me to explore your options. Alternatively, fill out the following form if you face any immigration or visa issues. Of course, you may fill out our assessment form for immigration to Canada.

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.