News reporters and their crews coming to Canada for the purpose of reporting on events in Canada are not required to get a work permit. Journalists working for print, broadcast or Internet news service providers are exempt from the work permit requirement as long as their company is not Canadian. Employees of foreign news companies who work as correspondents in Canada are also exempt as long as they are not managerial or clerical workers. Managerial and clerical workers will, however, be exempt, in cases where they are covering a special event that is six months or less in duration.
Individuals who operate blimps that assist in media coverage of major sporting events are also exempt from the work permit requirement.
Normally, media crews (including writers, print, video, film and broadcast journalists, as well as technicians such as camera operators) who are producing travelogues, documentaries or tourism promotional material must have work permits in order to enter Canada.
In some cases, though, these media crews will be exempt from the work permit requirement under business visitor rules. North American media crews will be exempt from the work permit requirement if they meet the business visitor criteria above and are taking part in a promotional tour at the invitation of Canada’s federal government or at the invitation of a Canadian provincial, territorial, municipal or regional government. Non-North American crews will be exempt from the work permit requirement if they meet the business visitor criteria above and their final product is intended to be distributed and viewed in non-North American markets.
Any crewmember that works on any means of transport that is used for international transportation does not need a work permit to work in Canada. In order for the exemption to apply, the transport vehicle must be foreign-owned and not registered in Canada. Furthermore, the duties of the crewmember must be related to the operation or maintenance of the transport vehicle or the provision of services to passengers. There are certain specific regulations regarding crewmembers in maritime, air, highway and rail transport, which can be seen below.
A. Maritime Travel
With regards to maritime travel, a work permit is required for all foreign crew members on a vessel when:
- The vessel takes in passengers at a Canadian port and then lets off some of said passengers at another Canadian port.
- The vessel takes in passengers at a Canadian port and then ends the cruise and lets off all passengers at another Canadian port. This rule applies regardless of whether the vessel stopped at a foreign port of call during the voyage.
A work permit is not required for foreign crew members on a maritime vessel when:
- The vessel’s voyage begins and ends at the same Canadian port and includes one or more stops at a foreign port of call.
- The vessel’s voyage begins at a Canadian port and ends at a foreign port of call.
B. Air Travel
Normally, any foreign crewmembers arriving on a flight into Canada from an international point of origin or departing Canada on an internationally bound flight will not need a work permit.
On the other hand, foreign crewmembers will need a work permit to work on flights flying between two points in Canada.
A Canadian border officer, however, has the discretion to consider waiving this the work permit requirement when:
- The foreign crewmember receives a ministerial exception to the work permit requirement due to a time sensitive or unexpected situation that requires the foreign crewmember to work on a Canadian domestic flight.
- The crewmember is subject to an agreement between Canada and a foreign airline in which Canada allows the foreign airline to carry cargo and passengers between points in Canada. These types of agreements are referred to as co-terminal services or triangular services.
- The foreign crewmember works for a charter that is transporting a sports team or entertainment event on an international tour.
- The foreign crewmember works for a private plane that is exceptionally being used to offer publicly available air services.
C. Highway Travel
Foreign crew members working aboard trucks operating in Canada may deliver or pick-up goods and passengers across the U.S.-Canadian border without a work permit as long as they do not pick up and deliver from one location to another within Canada.
A foreign crewmember will need a work permit, however, when he/she is involved in the loading or unloading of cargo. This applies to all foreign crewmembers regardless of the voyage’s origin and destination UNLESS:
- The crewmember has expertise in the handling of special goods such as chemicals, furniture, or livestock and is primarily responsible for loading and unloading the vehicle OR
- The crewmember is handling cargo in a non-warehouse situation such as offloading furniture at a private home.
Foreign truck drivers who are employed by Canadian trucking companies to pick up goods in Canada for delivery to the U.S., and who are operating Canadian owned and registered vehicles are not exempt from the work permit requirement. Independent foreign truckers working under contract for Canadian trucking companies are also not exempt from the work permit requirement
D. Rail Travel
If a rail service carries passengers or cargo between two points within Canada, all crewmembers must have work permits. If the rail service carries passengers or cargo between Canada and the USA, all crewmembers are not required to have work permits.
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