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Athletes and staff wishing to work in Canada, either temporarily or permanently, must meet special restrictions due to the nature of their profession.

Athletes and coaches from all over the world come to compete in the “Great White North,” which hosts a wide range of sporting activities.

Many Canadian towns have teams in North American sports leagues including the NHL, NBA, MLB, and MLS, while international sports contests of all kinds are conducted often around the country.

Athletes and staff working for a non-Canadian employer

Because many foreign players and coaches make their living via sport, they are practically working in Canada when they visit for athletic events, making them technically foreign workers. Despite this categorization, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program’s laws and regulations do not apply to visiting athletes and coaches in the vast majority of cases.

Subjecting these persons to the same regulations and procedures that apply to foreign workers would be too cumbersome and would prevent Canada from participating in international athletic tournaments and leagues.

Athletes and staff joining a Canadian employer

A work permit is normally required if a foreign national wishes to join a Canada-based sports team or represent Canada as an individual athlete.
Even under this case, though, most of the red tape normally connected with obtaining a work permit is erased.
This is because such sportsmen may be excused from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is normally the most difficult and time-consuming component of obtaining a work visa.