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International Mobility Program (IMP)

As of February 17, 2016, the performing arts sector began using the International Mobility Program to bring international artists to Canada to work. The IMP is distinct from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and enables employers to hire international artists without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Facilitated by the IRCC along with the Canadian Border Services Agency, the IMP has two support offices: a Toronto office serving Ontario and west, and a Montreal office serving Quebec and east. The new process is based on the understanding that Canada gains from the contributions of international artists who come to Canada to work in key creative roles, both by their contributions in Canada and by the reciprocal opportunities created internationally.

LMIA Exemption Category for the Performing Arts

The LMIA exemption category for the performing arts (C23) is the direct result of a collective effort undertaken by PACT and numerous other Canadian performing arts organizations across the country to consult with the federal government regarding the overhaul of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program in 2014. The resulting LMIA exemption category strongly supports the efforts of performing arts organizations in receipt of operating funding from the Canada Council (or via parliamentary appropriation) to engage foreign nationals.

Submitting a Work Permit Application

There is a dedicated online portal for this program where member theatres can enroll as a employers and apply for LMIA exemptions.

In order to support a work permit application, PACT members must:

  1. File an “Offer of Employment for LMIA Exempt Work Permits” with the IRCC using the portal.
  2. Provide a third-party support letter outlining the reciprocity for Canadians abroad.
    • PACT will provide a reciprocity letter to support your application upon request – Please contact us.
  1. Include confirmation of the Theatre’s funding support from the Canadian Government. Your last grant notification letter from the Canada Council (with the funding level redacted) should suffice.
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