Motor Coach Canada: Tour & Travel Canada 2017 - 14
MOTOR COACH CANADA
L'ASSOCIATION DES AUTOCARISTES CANADIENS
& Tour Directors Working in Canada
Canada and the United States have "mirror" legislation regarding foreigners working in their country. With respect to motor coach
tours to Canada from the United States these laws relate to drivers and tour directors.
Readers are referred to Canadian Customs and Canadian Immigration laws and regulations for interpretations and applications
to their business and travel to Canada. The following is the understanding and opinion of Motor Coach Canada and is provided as
general guidance only. Carriers should determine their specific requirements and confirm with the government.
Generally the laws of Canada (similar to those of the United States) require work permits to be obtained for an American driver or
Tour Director to work in Canada on "point-to-point" service within Canada but not if they are working on an "international" service.
An American driver and/or American tour director entering Canada with the group on a motor coach, touring Canada and returning
to the United States generally do not need a work permit from Canada to work on this tour as driver or tour director. It is deemed an
"international" tour not a "point-to-point" service within Canada. However, if the driver or tour director enters Canada without the group,
and joins the tour to provide service within Canada, i.e. "point-to-point" service in Canada, they require a work permit.
Under current regulations, foreign tour operators are required to undergo a process every year to acquire employment authorization
and validation papers for their non-Canadian tour directors. But to reiterate, this authorization is required when a tour director does
not accompany their group as it enters and leaves Canada, which often occurs since it is easier and more cost-efficient for these
employees to stay in Canada to meet their groups. Some tour operators that have multiple tours into Canada prefer to position the
tour director in Canada and such person provides the local tour director services to each group as they arrive. This is deemed to be
"point-to-point" and the tour director must obtain a work permit.
In addition, more tour operators are using multi-modal tours - flying groups to Canada and touring by coach when in Canada. This
touring in Canada would have to be done by a Canadian driver as it is "point-to-point" but the tour operator can obtain authorization
(work permit) to use a foreign tour director.
In the past, work permits could be difficult to obtain for foreign tour directors if there were Canadian tour directors available for work.
The Travel Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) worked to have changes made to these regulations so that the positive economic
effect of tours in Canada is taken into account during the application process.
Due to an amendment in the Immigration Act, effective June 28, 2002, the regulations state "...an officer shall determine, on the
basis of an opinion provided by the Department of Human Resources Development, if the job offer is genuine and if the employment
of the foreign national is likely to have a neutral or a positive economic effect on the labour market in Canada."
The regulations go on to state "An opinion provided by the Department of Human Resources Development shall be based on the
following factors: (a) whether the work is likely to result in direct job creation or job retention for Canadians or permanent residents..."
These changes are viewed by some as making it easier for a foreign tour operator to obtain a work permit for a tour director that
they want to position in Canada.
There are two main departments that operators need to work with. First, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), as this is the
ministry that actually issues the work permit. And second, Human Resources and Skills Development issues the labour market opinion
on the application to CIC.
For further information, contact Human Resources and Skills Development Canada-National Headquarters, 140 Promenade du
Portage, Gatineau, QC K1A 0J9.
Tour & Travel Canada