Canadian Work Permits Not Necessarily Needed for Workers in the Film and TV Industries

A Canadian Work Permit Question


I am a Director of Photography and Director in Los Angeles , California.

A local production company hired me to shoot their next feature film which will be shot in Los Angeles for about 80% of the production. However, some scenes have to be shot in Canada, and that leads to my question.

What work permits if any would I need to shoot parts of that feature in Canada?

Thanks in advance


Canadian Work Permit exemptions for Film and Television workers


Your question raises some important issues. In some cases,  you do not require a Labor Market Opinion (LMO), which can be onerous to get, in order to obtain your Canadian work permit.

In the film industry there are some important LMO exemptions as follows:

Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), there are specific cases where employers in the film and entertainment industries do not need an HRSDC job offer confirmation (LMO), or the foreign workers do not need a Citizenship and Immigration Canada work permit.

Foreign Workers who do not need a Canadian work permit or an HRSDC labour market opinion include:

1. Producers of film, television, video and documentary projects funded entirely from outside of Canada. It is essential that producers submit correspondence from their company providing information pertaining to the film production and the length of time the producer will be required to stay in Canada.

2. All foreign workers entering Canada to take employment under the terms of a film co-production agreement between Canada and any other country are exempt from the LMO.

3.Individuals and groups who purchase services or rent equipment furnished by recording and film studios in Canada may be admitted without a Canadian Work Permit if they meet the criteria of R187.

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About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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