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.