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Hiring Global Talent: The new Trans-Pacific Agreement Provides Facilitative Work Permit Options for Canadian Employers

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”) opens new ways to bring talent to Canada for business visitors, intra-corporate transferees, investors, and professionals and technicians.   Seven of the eleven signatory countries have ratified the agreement, including: Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore. The remaining four signatory countries that have yet to ratify the agreement include Brunei, Chile, Malaysia and Peru.


Business Visitors

The agreement offers generous provisions for business visitors, which expand on existing law, including following business activities:

  • Meetings and Consultations – Business persons attending meetings, seminars or conferences, or engaged in consultations with business associates


  • Research and Design – Technical, scientific and statistical researchers conducting independent research or research for an enterprise in a party other than Canada


  • Manufacturing and Production – Purchasing and production management personnel conducting commercial transactions for an enterprise in a party other than Canada


  • Marketing – Market researchers and analysts conducting independent research or analysis or research or analysis for an enterprise other than Canada, and trade fair and promotional personnel attending a trade convention


  • Sales – Sales representatives and agents taking orders or negotiating contracts for goods or services for an enterprise in a party other than Canada but not delivering goods or providing services, or buyers purchasing for an enterprise in a party other than Canada


  • Distribution – Transportation operators transporting goods or passengers from the territory of a party to Canada or loading and transporting goods or passengers from Canada, with no unloading in Canada, to the territory of another party


  • General Service – Professionals engaging in a business activity at a professional or technical level as set out in the Annex, management and supervisory personnel engaging in a commercial transaction for an enterprise in a party other than Canada, financial services personnel engaging in commercial transactions for an enterprise in a party other than Canada, tourism personnel attending or participating in conventions or conducting a tour that has begun in a party other than Canada, and translators or interpreters performing services as employees of an enterprise in a party other than Canada


Intra-Company Transferees

The current intra-company transferee category has been broadened to allow for the entry of management trainees on professional development to any other signatory countries that also permit the intra-corporate transfer of management trainees. While the requirements for executives and managers parallel the general intra-company transferee categories under our current law, the assessment of specialists under CPTPP is less stringent. Under the provisions of the CPTPP, specialists must possess either specialized knowledge of the company’s products or services and their application in international markets or an advanced level of knowledge of the company’s processes and procedures. In addition, those seeking entry as specialists under the CPTPP are not subject to an assessment of the prevailing wage in Canada.



This category parallels the investor category under the NAFTA and applies to applicants who will establish, develop or administer an investment to which the business person or their enterprise has committed or is in the process of committing a substantial amount of capital; and are in a supervisory or executive role or a role that involves essential skills.


Professionals and Technicians

The entry of professionals and technicians is based on a list of specific occupations permitted on a country-by-country basis. Generally, professionals and technicians seeking entry under this category must have both theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge.  Professionals and technicians must also be remunerated at the prevailing wage in Canada and must be able to speak English or French in addition to the experience and educational requirements, and certification or licensing, if required.



CPTPP will facilitate the entry of business visitors and certain temporary foreign workers to Canada more easily than Canada’s general rules. This agreement eliminates many barriers that temporary foreign workers and business visitors from signatory countries face at the Canadian border and eases business travel, allowing for more talent and investment in Canada.

For more information please contact our office.