Faculty Recruitment Services

Working in Canada

Every year the University welcomes faculty who are new residents to Canada  Our staff are here to help you as moving to this country is an exciting opportunity but can offer many challenges.  The guide, A Newcomer’s Introduction to Canada can help you plan your move to Canada and includes advice on such things as preparing to enter the Canadian work force, choosing a place to live and learning about life in Canada.  For detailed information on becoming a Canadian citizen and how to immigrate visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website or contact  Nancy Pastoor in the University's Human Resources Office by phone: 403-317-2858, or email: nancy.pastoor@uleth.ca.  For a brief look at what's involved please read on.

The general process by which a non-Canadian citizen can take a faculty appointment in Canada is:

  1. By first receiving a job offer and accepting it.
  2. The University then submits a Foreign Worker Application to Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) for a positive labour market opinion (LMO) of your job offer. 
  3. After the HRSDC confirms that a foreign national may fill the job (the LMO Confirmation Letter may take six to eight weeks and the University will forward it to you by email or fax), you apply to CIC for your Work Permit. 

Work Permits

In almost all cases you must hold a valid Work Permit to work in Canada.  Term or temporary employees who are citizens of the U.S. or Mexico may use NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) to receive temporary work permits.  An application form  including several supplementary forms and an application guide will be emailed to you by the University. (They can also be filled in electronically or downloaded from the CIC Web site, or requested from the Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate serving your place of lawful residence.)  There are fees associated with the application process.

The completed application, LMO confirmation, offer letter outlining the terms and conditions of your appointment, and other documents must be submitted to the Visa Office serving your place of lawful residence or, in certain cases, at a port of entry into Canada. For clarification consult the section entitled Where to Apply on the CIC Web site.  Please note; the Visa Office may have specific application requirements in addition to those outlined on the CIC Web site. Contact the Visa Office or refer to their Web site to be sure you are aware of all requirements, including business hours if you are planning on applying in person.  Processing times for Work Permit applications can vary, so try to submit your application as soon as your documentation is complete to avoid delays to your anticipated arrival in Canada.

If you are a citizen of one of these countries or territories you will also need a Temporary Residence Visa (TRV) on your passport as a work permit is not a visa to enter Canada. 

The duration of your Work Permit will be determined by the immigration officer reviewing your file. As a Work Permit cannot exceed the expiration date on your passport, it is advisable that your passport be valid for at least three years from your date of application. Please review the section entitled Working Temporarily in Canada for more details on the Work Permit application and process and what you need to do and have when you arrive in Canada. 

Spousal Work Permits & Family

If your spouse (husband, wife, or common-law partner - including same-sex) wants to work in Canada they will need to have their own work permit. Simply include a letter stating your spouse or partner's request for an "Open Spousal Work Permit for Spouses of Highly Skilled Workers” Spousal Program  as well as proof of relationship (marriage certificate or Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union Form) when you apply for your own Work Permit. 

Your spouse or partner can also apply after arriving in Canada via a Change of Conditions form. They must note that they are applying for the “Open Spousal Work Permit for Spouses of Highly Skilled Workers” and must include proof of relationship (as outlined above), a copy of your (the principal applicant’s) Work Permit, and proof that the principal applicant is still working in Canada. Please note that a spouse or partner will only be granted a Work Permit if the principal applicant has at least six months remaining on his or her Work Permit. 

If you are coming to Canada on a work permit, your family can accompany you if they qualify to enter Canada as visitors.  Consult the CIC website.

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Once the Work Permit and TRV (if applicable) is obtained and you have successfully made it through a port of entry into Canada you will need a Social Insurance Number to commence work and receive benefits.  The SIN is a nine digit number ,that starts with a “9” for those with a non-resident status, and will have an expiry date the same as your temporary work permit.  It is used for government programs such taxes, pension plans, and social and health services or benefits.

The SIN is not an identification card and should never be used as such. Keep your card in a safe place and your number confidential. It should only be given to the appropriate federal government departments or financial institutions as required.   The University must verify the SIN card in order to pay you.   A bank may also request an SIN when applying for certain investments for any interest earned must be reported to the government.

The Pension & Benefits office in Human Resources will walk you through the process on your arrival and assist you with the forms, documentation and where you need to apply. Generally your SIN card should arrive within 3 weeks of application. Human Resources will need to make copies of your SIN card, work permit and other identification for your Payroll and Benefits file.

Permanent Residence

For Faculty
If you are planning to live and work permanently in Canada, you can apply for Permanent Residence at the same time you apply for your work permit.  However, Alberta has an agreement with the Government of Canada that allows them to play a more direct role in selecting immigrants who wish to settle here.  It's called the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).  For Faculty, the best way to apply for Permanent Residence (PR) is through the PNP once you are here.  The PNP can shorten the time it takes to get your PR status from 3 years to 1.5 years.  This is also recommended if you have a Canadian spouse.

The University of Lethbridge is a pre-approved employer in the program and can help faculty with continuing or renewable contracts (2+ yrs) expedite their permanent residency process.  Please refer to these instructions (Feb-07) and Skilled Worker/Professional (ABPNP 003) form to understand what is required to complete your PNP application package.  The university sends the package along with their nomination form.  Once the PNP has approved the application,  the same package with a PNP approval sticker and further supporting documents (e.g. security clearances) is submitted to the CIC in Buffalo, New York, U.S.A. for permanent residence.

For Non-Faculty
If you are not employed as a faculty member you may be ifor the PNP fast-track to Permanent Residence Status and can either apply at the same time as your work permit application, or after you have arrived in Canada but before your work permit expires.  There are several categories under which to apply; most academics and professionals generally apply under the "skilled worker" category.  Check this self assessment tool to see if you qualify.  If you do, most required forms are available electronically along with any required supporting information such as security clearance certificates, medicals, and fees. Specific requirements may differ whether you are applying from within Canada (through Buffalo, NY - guide) or outside Canada through the Visa Office nearest you.