Employment Termination and Maintenance of Lawful Status in Canada

Contact: Henry J. Chang; Blaney McMurtry (Ontario, Canada)

Foreign nationals who hold work permits in Canada sometimes wonder what will happen to their immigration status if they quit their jobs or are terminated by their Canadian employers.

The answer is not as simple as it appears and it may be surprising to some. A discussion of the relevant issues appears below.


Overview of Temporary Resident Status in Canada
All foreign nationals in Canada who do not hold permanent resident status are considered "temporary residents." The term "temporary resident" therefore includes visitors, students, and foreign workers.

Temporary residents are permitted to remain in Canada for a finite period of time, but, subject to limited exceptions, they are not permitted to attend school or engage in employment without obtaining additional authorization. Therefore, a student will normally need to seek temporary resident status and a study permit. Similarly, a foreign worker will normally need to seek temporary resident status and a work permit.

Temporary resident "status" must be distinguished from a temporary resident "visa." Temporary resident status refers to the actual status given to a foreign national when he or she is admitted to Canada. On the other hand, a temporary resident visa is an entry document that is inserted into the passport of a foreign national by a Canadian Embassy or Consulate.

Unless the foreign national is considered visa-exempt, he or she must obtain a temporary resident visa at a Canadian Embassy or Consulate prior to arrival in Canada. The foreign national must then present the temporary resident visa to the Canada Border Services Agency ("CBSA") at the time of entry. If CBSA is convinced that the foreign national is a bona fide temporary resident, he or she will be admitted to Canada in temporary resident status.
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