Open Work Permits


work permitI am often asked about open work permit for Canada and how a person can go about getting one.

Generally, there are three main situations where an open work permit can be granted.
First, an open work permit may be granted to a spouse of a worker who has been granted a work permit under one of the various work permit programs in Canada. Both work permits will be issued for the same time period.
Second, an open work permit may be gratned to a spouse of a student who has been granted a study permit to study in Canada. Both the open work permit and study permit will be issued for the same time period.
Third, an open work permit may be granted under the many working holiday programs available to citizens of various countries with which Canada has an agreement to issue working holiday visas.
An open work permit allows the holder to work for whomever he or she pleases in Canada. A holder of an open work permit is not required to work in Canada to maintain status.
In order to receive an open work permit, you must apply for one along with the work permit or study permit of your spouse (and include the work permit government application fee for it), or apply for a working holiday visa if you qualify.

About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile

  1. July 27, 2011


    Me and my common law are currently working in Calgary as foreign workers, my girlfriend was granted a sales supervisor LMO , I know I am eligible for open work permit, can I get it in the POE or just trough “status change” mailing it to Vagreville?

  2. July 27, 2011

    A legal visitor (such as yourself as a spouse of a worker) can usually apply to change status and mail the application to Vegreville with the fee

  3. November 30, 2011


    I have a question relating to the above and would appreciate any advice on those knowledgeable on my situation. My situation: I came to Canada with my Husband who got a job and a Work Permit here. Later I also got an Open Work Permit. My husband recently left his job in Canada and returned his Work Permit to officials. My question is, Am I still able to remain legally in Canada on my Open Work Permit until the date of surrender or do I have to leave because my husband has?

    Many thanks in advance.

  4. March 14, 2013


    I have a question, according to the above catergory of the Open Work Permit, can you help me just to let me know if I am eligible to work here. My husband and I came under the Visitors Vissa but under the religious duties. It’s been three years now since we’ve been working in the church. The question is can I apply for open work permit to support us as we stay here?

    hope you will answer my humble request…

    Thank you…

    • March 15, 2013

      It depends. Is your husband working for a church for pay? Or as a volunteer?

  5. May 25, 2013

    hey, it seems like it will be helpful to update my question here on your website as you are uploading really impressive results in your opinions.

    my question: i am open work permit holder in saskatchewan, canada and i am willing to start small business under incorporation on my name. can i do so ?

  6. August 11, 2013

    Hi. I have a question too. I am visiting Canada right now,but I would like to work and stay here. Would I be able to apply for open work permit ?

  7. July 8, 2014


    I have a question here. My work permit expired on 28th April 2014 and I applied for Visitor visa to extend my stay in Canada which I got it. Now my current status in Canada is Visitor. As I applied my PR under CEC in May 2014 and got my AOR. Is there any way I can get bridge work permit?

    Any help will be much appreciated..


  8. March 21, 2015

    I have a work permit in Canada. I gave been living in the US and commuting to Canada for work. My employer is relocating me so I need to live in Canada. I have a 19 year old son (and 4 Children under 18). I know the younger kids can get study permits and move with me, but can my adult son come with me and work or go to university?

  9. April 28, 2015

    hi can ask im a foreighn worker here in canada still working and ifound another job for me that employer told me that i need to get an open permit so that i can work there is it possible that im going to get an open permit thanks

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