Losing a work permit in Canada: cancellation or revocation
Alina is a Paraguayan citizen with a valid employer-based work permit in Canada. Unfortunately, she recently lost her job. Alina wonders if losing her job means she has lost her work permit. Furthermore, she needs to know what causes losing a work permit in Canada, or rather what results in cancellation or revocation of work permits.
Table of contents
Losing a work permit by reaching the expiry date
The most obvious way to lose a work permit is by expiration. All work permits include an expiry date. You can locate the date in the middle of the work permit document.
Reaching this date means you have lost this permit. However, you may consider one of the following to remain in Canada.
- Apply to extend your stay in Canada as a worker, student, or visitor while the current permit is still valid.
- Become a permanent resident in Canada.
- Overstay in Canada.
- File a refugee application in Canada.
You lose legal status in Canada if you choose the last two options. Moreover, they could make you subject to a removal order. However, you could submit a Restoration application if you overstay less than 90 days. I have another article that discusses overstaying for more than 90 days.
Non-compliance and losing a work permit
As a foreign national, you must comply with the requirements of the Immigration Act. If you don’t, you lose your temporary status [practitioners see A47(b)]. Consequently, you also lose your work permit. Here are some examples of non-compliance.
- Working outside the scope of your work permit: If your work permit is employer-based, you may not work for another employer. Furthermore, some work permits limit you to a specific region in Canada. Therefore, you may not work outside that region. Other conditions may also exist for the work permit that you have to obey.
- The adult industry: Paragraph 183(1)(b.1) of the Immigration Regulations prohibits foreign workers from working for the adult industry in Canada.
- Non-compliant employers: Sometimes, immigration authorities blacklist employers for not complying with immigration regulations. Consequently, you may not work for those employers [practitioners see R183(1)(b.2)].
- Studying with a work permit: Unless authorized, you may not study with a work permit.
- Becoming inadmissible to Canada: Inadmissibility is a gateway for losing a work permit.
You usually have to deal with a removal order to lose a work permit because of non-compliance.
Losing a work permit because of an officer
Subsection 185(a) of IRPR allows immigration officers to change the duration of your work permit. Therefore, they may technically cancel your work permit by bringing the expiration date close to today. However, I have not encountered any real cases in which an officer made such a decision for my clients. Moreover, I couldn’t locate a caselaw that reflects such decisions.
Work permit revocation because of public policy
Subsection 30(1.41) of the IRPA allows the Minister to issue instructions enabling officers to revoke a work permit. Consequently, you could lose your work permit if an officer uses any of the following considerations:
- Revocation of the work permit after revoking the associated LMIA
- Realizing that the LMIA-exempt work permit now has more negative effects than benefits
- The employer misled the authorities.
- The authorities have blacklisted the employer.
- You received the work permit because of another foreign national (e.g., IMP C41). However, the authorities have revoked their permits.
Please note that this list is subject to change.
Losing your job
If you hold an open work permit, losing your job does not result in losing your work permit. However, you deal with a more complicated situation when you have an employer-based work permit. Technically, despite losing your job, your work permit is still valid. Nonetheless, the conditions on the permit, namely the employer’s name, prevent you from working for other employers. Therefore, despite not losing your work permit, you may only remain in Canada but may not work. You have some potential options to resolve this issue:
- If qualified, apply for an open work permit as a vulnerable worker.
- Find another employer and submit a new work permit application.
- Apply for a study permit at the post-secondary level, so you may work while studying.
- Receive a work permit because of your spouse or common-law partner (e.g., under IMP C42 or IMP C41).
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Al ParsaiAl Parsai, LLM, MA, RCIC-IRB
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada
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