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Navigating the Canadian job market can be both exciting and challenging. It’s even more challenging if you are a foreign worker on a closed work permit and your employment was terminated. In Canada, foreign workers typically require a valid work permit to legally engage in employment within the country. These work permits come in two main categories: open work permit and closed work permit.

The type of work permit a foreign worker holds can significantly impact their employment, including the terms of termination. For example, a closed work permit, also known as an employer-specific work permit, restricts the foreign worker to working for a specific employer in Canada. This means that the foreign worker can only work for the employer named on their work permit.

This blog is accordingly intended to address relevant employment issues for foreign workers holding a closed work permit, and what they can do if their Canadian employer terminates their employment.


Assuming you hold a valid work permit when your employment is terminated, you may not necessarily need to leave Canada immediately. However, you must take certain steps to maintain your legal status in Canada and potentially explore other options:

  1. Implied Status: In many cases, when your employment is terminated, your work permit may still be valid for a certain period. This is known as “implied status.” During this period, you can remain in Canada and seek new employment, apply for a new work permit, or explore other immigration options.
  2. Applying for a New Job and Work Permit: You can look for a new job in Canada and apply for a new work permit with a different employer. You should ensure that the new employer is willing to support your work permit application, and you may need to go through the process of obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or other required documentation.
  3. Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or eTA: If your closed work permit expires while you are in Canada, you might need to apply for a new Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if you plan to travel outside of Canada and return. You should ensure you have the necessary travel documents to re-enter Canada.
  4. Changing your Immigration Status: If you are unable to secure new employment or if you want to explore other immigration pathways, you may consider changing your immigration status, such as applying for a study permit, visitor status, or exploring provincial nominee programs, depending on your circumstances.



Fortunately, you can challenge the termination of your employment. Here are some key points to consider in doing so:

  1. Employment Contract and Labour Laws: Review your employment contract and understand the terms of your employment, including notice of termination or severance provisions. Canadian labour laws apply to all employees, regardless of their immigration status. Most provinces and territories in Canada have employment standards legislation that outlines the rights and obligations of both employers and employees.
  2. Termination Notice or Pay: In Canada, employers are typically required to provide employees with notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice when ending their employment. The amount of notice or pay depends on various factors, including the length of service and the terms of the employment contract. As a foreign worker, you are entitled to the same protections under these laws.
  3. Unjust Dismissal: Some provinces in Canada have specific labour laws that protect employees from unjust dismissal. For example, in Ontario, the Employment Standards Act, 2000, includes provisions for employees who believe they have been terminated unjustly. If you believe your termination was unfair or without just cause, you may have legal recourse.
  4. Human Rights Protections: Canadian human rights laws prohibit discrimination in employment, including discrimination based on factors such as race, nationality, or citizenship status. If you believe your termination was discriminatory, you can file a complaint with the appropriate human rights tribunal.


It is crucial to act promptly if you believe your termination was unjust or discriminatory. Employment-related disputes in Canada often have specific timelines for filing complaints or legal actions, so seeking legal advice early is essential. Additionally, immigration rules and regulations can change, so staying informed about any updates in immigration policies will benefit your situation. Most importantly, always maintain accurate and up-to-date records of your immigration documentation and correspondence with immigration authorities to ensure you are following Canadian immigration requirements.

If a temporary foreign worker has a closed work permit (meaning the work permit is tied to employment with a specific employer), then the worker cannot engage in any work except for with the employer listed. Temporary foreign workers holding open work permits can immediately look for work with new employers if they abide by the terms of their valid work permit.

If you are a foreign worker with questions regarding your status with immigration or employment issues such as wrongful dismissal, severance, or discrimination at work, or if you are an employer and have any questions relating to hiring temporary foreign workers, please contact Toronto employment and immigration lawyers Sultan Lawyers at (416) 214-5111 or here.

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