Volunteer Work-Canada

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  • People who are in Canada as visitors sometimes ask if they are allowed to do volunteer work in Canada.

  • As you probably know, visitors are not allowed to work in Canada.

  • Because volunteer work is unpaid, visitors sometimes assume that they automatically will be allowed to do it.

  • But remuneration is not the only test that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) uses.

  • On page 25, CIC’s Foreign Worker Manual states:

    "Work" is defined in the Regulations as an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market.

  • Page 26 of the above mentioned publication provides examples of activities that are and are not considered to be work.

  • If a job always is done by volunteers and never provides employment opportunities, a foreign visitor undertaking that activity is not considered to be in competition with Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the labour market. Therefore a foreign visitor is allowed to engage in the activity.

  • An example of volunteeer work that a foreign visitor is allowed to do is making deliveries on behalf of Meals On Wheels.