Immigration and Citizenship

Canada Extends Spousal Open Work Permit Pilot to July 31 2020

Canada Spousal Open Work Permit Program Extended

Canada’s federal government has extended the spousal open work permit pilot for spouses and common-law partners who are in Canada and are being sponsored for permanent residence applications via the
Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class (SCLPC).

The spousal open work permit allows the Spouse/Common-law partner to work in any job while waiting for permanent residence application to be processed.

An Open Work Permit (OWP) authorizes a foreigner to work in Canada in ANY job, without restrictions.  The holder of an OWP does not need an LMIA or confirmation of employment first.  Once issued an OWP, the holder can apply and work in any job/occupation in Canada.

The spousal work permit pilot was due to expire on January 31, 2019, but has now been extended until July 31, 2020. Speaking of the reason for the lengthy extension, a federal government statement said:

“Canada recognizes that when families can work while living together, their integration outcomes are improved.  Extending this pilot ensures applicants are able to work, provide for their families and contribute to the Canadian economy while waiting for their permanent resident applications to be processed.”

Eligibility for Spousal Open Work Permit

Eligible candidates must be in Canada and in the process of being sponsored for permanent residence under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class (SCLPC). Candidates must also have valid temporary status as a visitor, student or worker and live at the same address as their sponsor.

IRCC will issue open work permits to SCLPC class applicants if they meet the following requirements:

  • a permanent residence application has been submitted under the SCLPC class and is currently being processed, or has been received, by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for processing
  • a Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse has submitted a sponsorship application on their behalf
  • the SCLPC class applicant resides at the same address as the sponsor
  • the SCLPC class applicant has valid temporary resident status (as a visitor, student or worker), or is eligible to restore their temporary resident status, and has submitted the restoration application with their application for permanent residence

The following foreign nationals do not qualify for the open work permit pilot program:

  • applicants who have applied for permanent residence under the SCLPC class and have been refused or have withdrawn that application before submitting the open work permit pilot application
  • applicants whose application for permanent residence is being processed under the spousal public policy (subcategory “PP” in the Global Case Management System [GCMS]) on the basis that they do not have a valid temporary resident status (these applicants must wait until they receive approval in principle to be eligible to apply for an open work permit)
  • applicants who have applied as members of the overseas family class, including those living in Canada
  • applicants applying for the work permit pilot program at a port of entry

IRCC case processing centres will ensure that the requirements for the open work permit pilot program are met. They will also conduct system checks to identify any adverse information, on either the sponsor or the applicant, that would render the applicant ineligible for an open work permit.

If there is information that an applicant is inadmissible, their application for an open work permit will be placed on hold until a decision is made regarding their permanent residence application and the inadmissibility.

How to Apply for a Spousal Work Permit

1) Those submitting a new application for permanent residence can apply for the work permit at the same time. Send both completed applications to one of the following addresses:

By mail:

In-Canada Sponsorship
CPC – Mississauga
PO Box 5040, Station B
Mississauga, ON
L5A 3A4

By courier:

Case Processing Centre – Mississauga
2 Robert Speck Parkway, Suite 300
Mississauga, ON
L4Z 1H8

2) Those who have already submitted a permanent residence application can complete a form for the special work permit online, before mailing it to the Case Processing Centre at the following address:

Case Processing Centre – Edmonton
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Work permits for spouses or common-law partners, Station 777
9700 Jasper Avenue NW, Suite 55
Edmonton, AB T5J 4C3

3) Those who have already been approved in principle for permanent residence without passing medical, security and background checks can apply online.

4) Those who already have a work permit under the pilot will need to apply for an extension before their status lapses.

More Information:

Instructions for Canada Spousal Open Work Permit


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