Holding multiple Canadian work permits at the same time


many permits are displayed with a rubber stampDid you know that you can hold multiple work permits at the same time?  And why would you want to do that?

Multiple work permits can provide a level of comfort for individuals working in Canada.  Suppose things go sour with your employer.  You both decide to part ways.  Now you are stuck with a work permit tied to that employer in a particular city.  You can’t work.

Things can get bad in a hurry – you’ll have to quickly find a new employer willing to support you and obtain a labour market opinion.  Once that’s received, you’ll have to apply for another work permit.  Months could pass with you unable to work in Canada, and your savings will quickly deplete, especially if you working in an expensive city such as Vancouver or Toronto.

Holding multiple work permits ensures that if one job ends badly, you can still continue to work for your second (or even third(!) job).

Where on the CIC site does it say I can get multiple work permits?

Like many things in immigration law, the CIC website is silent on this issue.  Perhaps they don’t want to encourage the practise, who knows, but you won’t find any information there.

But an analysis of the law is revealing.

Nowhere in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act does it state that when you get a new work permit, the old work permit is cancelled.  In fact, the Regulations state that a work permit only becomes invalid when it expires or when a removal order made against the permit holder becomes enforceable.  It’s important to note that is does not become invalid when a second (or third, or fourth) work permit is issued.

As a result, holding multiple work permits is not prohibited anywhere in the law.

Great! How can I get multiple work permits?

The key to getting a multiple work permit is to have an occupation that is in high demand.


Because you need at least two employers interested in hiring you, and one will usually be casual or part-time. For example, tradespeople in northern Alberta often hold multiple work permits – one full-time, and one part-time.  Or one for the summer season, and one for the winter.

I have a client who is a nurse and holds 2 work permits – one full-time, one for part-time casual work.

Can I have 2 full-time work permits?

Not likely.  Remember, an employer is required to meet the conditions of employment submitted for the labour market opinion.  If the employer said he or she would employ you full-time and pay you a certain wage, it won’t work if the employer then pays you part-time at a lesser salary.

However – as noted above – a full-time work permit and casual part-time work permits are fine, or a number of casual part-time work permits would be acceptable as well.

So if you have skills in high demand, do yourself a favour and secure multiple work permits – you’ll earn more and you won’t be tied to a single employer.

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Thanks for reading!





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