Glossary of cic terminology



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GLOSSARY OF CIC TERMINOLOGY



Business visitor - A person who:

  • comes to Canada to take part in international business or trade activities,

  • has no intent to enter the Canadian labour market, and

  • works for and is paid by a company outside Canada or by a foreign government.


CCFTA – Canada Chile Free Trade Agreement
Certified photocopy - A photocopy of an original document. It must be readable and certified as a true copy of the original by an authorized person. The person compares the documents and marks on the photocopy:

  • their name and signature

  • their position or title

  • the name of the original document

  • the date they certified the document

  • the phrase “I certify that this is a true copy of the original document.”


Certified translator - A member in good standing of a provincial or territorial organization of translators and interpreters in Canada.
CIC – Citizenship & Immigration Canada
Co-op Student – Students who need to do co-op work placements as part of their program of study.
Co-op/Internship Work Permit - Foreign students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program in a Canadian institution must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit. Foreign students who are studying in Canada and who need to do co-op work placements as part of their program of study do not need an LMO.
To be eligible for the co-op/internship work permit program, student must meet the following conditions:

  • Must have a valid study permit or apply for the work permit in conjunction with a study permit.

  • Intended employment must be an essential and integral part of program of study in Canada.

  • Employment must be certified as part of academic program, by a letter from a responsible academic official of the institution.

  • Co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50 percent of the total program of study.


Exchange student - An exchange student is a student who studies in another country by switching places with a student from that country for a short period of time.
Financial support - Financial support means that your sponsor provides money to help you pay for food, living expenses, etc.
Foreign student (International student) - A temporary resident who is legally authorized to study in Canada on a temporary basis. Foreign students must get a study permit if they are taking a course of studies that will last for more than six months.
Foreign worker - A temporary resident who is legally allowed to work in Canada on a temporary basis.
Full-time job equivalent - Defined as 1,950 hours of paid employment per year.
HRSDC – Human Resources & Skills Development Canada
Internship - Supervised work or school-related training that may be either paid or unpaid.
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) - A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that an employer in Canada must usually get before hiring a foreign worker.
A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker can do the job. A positive LMIA is sometimes called a Confirmation letter.
Your proposed employer must contact Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). ESDC will provide details on the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application process.
Labour market opinion – See Labour Market Impact Assessment
NAFTA - The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. Professionals who, as citizens of any of the three NAFTA countries, are able to work temporarily in another NAFTA country without the need for a labour-certification test and a work permit can be issued without the need for a labour market opinion.
National Occupational Classification (NOC) – The National Occupation Classification (NOC) is a list of all the occupations in the Canadian labor market. It describes each job according to skill type and skill level. The NOC is used to collect and organize job statistics and to provide labour market information. It is also used as a basis for certain immigration requirements.
OHIP – Ontario Health Insurance Plan
Post-graduation work permit - A document issued by CIC to eligible foreign students who have:

  • graduated from an approved program of study at an eligible post-secondary institution in Canada

  • applied to CIC within 90 days of completing all degree or program requirements.

It allows the bearer to work legally in Canada after completing studies.
Study permit – A permit authorizing foreign nationals to enter and study in Canada on a temporary basis. The study permit identifies the level of study and the length of time the individual may study in Canada. Students do not need a study permit for courses shorter than six months.
The document issued by CIC sets out conditions for the student such as:

  • whether their travel within Canada is restricted and

  • when they have to leave.


Temporary Foreign Worker Program – This program allows employers to hire foreign workers to fill short-term labour and skill shortages when no Canadians are available to do the job. A Labour Market Impact Assessment is needed to hire through this program. Foreign workers hired as part of this program are referred to as temporary foreign workers. They may get a work permit only after a Labour Market Impact Assessment has concluded that no Canadians are available to do the job.
Temporary resident (Visitor or Tourist) - Status of a foreign national who is in Canada legally for a short period. Temporary residents include students, temporary foreign workers and visitors, such as tourists.
Temporary resident visa - An official counterfoil document issued by a visa office abroad that is placed in a person’s passport to show that he or she has met the requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident (a visitor, student or worker). A counterfoil is a specially designed sticker on which missions abroad print visa information.
UHIP – University Health Insurance Plan
Valid - For a document: legal, not expired, and accepted by CIC.
Validation – Favourable labour market opinion
Volunteer - A person who, of his or her own free will, contributes time, resources, energy and/or talent to an organization without being paid.

Volunteer activities that are not “work” and do not require a work permit:


  • Volunteer work for which a person would not normally be remunerated, such as a foreign student being a ‘big brother’, or ‘big sister’ to a child; being on the line at a rape crisis centre. Normally this activity would be part time and incidental to the main reason that the person is in Canada (in this case, to study).

  • Unremunerated observation of the functioning of a given work environment or occupation (i.e. following a geologist on their sample-gathering trips). In some cases, minor tasks may be performed by the foreign student (such as clerical chores), however there should not a significant contribution to the productivity of the enterprise.

  • There may be other types of unpaid short-term work where the work is really incidental to the main reason that the foreign student is in Canada and is not a competitive activity, even though non-monetary valuable consideration is received. For instance, if a foreign student wishes to stay on a family farm and work part time just for room and board for a short period (i.e., 1-4 weeks), this would not be considered an activity which requires a work permit.

Volunteer activities which do require a work permit, but remain HRSDC confirmation exempt:


  • With respect to volunteer work, the following conditions apply in order to be eligible for confirmation exemption:

    • The individual will not receive remuneration, other than a small living expense; and

    • The work goes above and beyond normal work in the labour market, whether remunerated in some manner or not. Examples of this might be constructing a house for ‘habitat for humanity.

Work permit and HRSDC confirmation required:


  • Work (remunerated or not) in situations that do not fulfil the conditions above.


Work permit - Authorization that allows a non-Canadian citizen or a non-permanent resident to legally work in Canada. The document issued by CIC sets out conditions for the worker such as:

  • the type of work they can do,

  • the employer they can work for,

  • where they can work, and

  • how long they can work.


Work - “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.

  • Any activity which might be considered ‘competitive’ within the Canadian labour market, even if unpaid is not volunteer work. For example, if the work might be a valuable work experience for a Canadian student (for example, an internship with a high-profile NGO, even if unpaid).

  • The work is “normal” work in the labour market: i.e. it competes with other jobs in the Canadian labour market. For example, if a foreign student is doing an internship that is not a requirement for the completion of the academic course of study, whether paid or unpaid, that fulfils the definition of “work”.


Foreign students engaging in “work” are required to have a work permit, except on-campus employment, for which a work permit is not required.

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