Short-Term Business Visitors

The second category of business visitors contemplated in CETA (the first being business visitors for investment purposes), short-term business visitors, are also permitted to work in Canada without a work permit. Like business visitors for investment purposes, IRCC’s PDIs about CETA instruct officers to assess applicants under the general business visitor provisions in subsection 186(a) of IRPR first, and to refer to the business visitor provisions in CETA only where the applicant will perform activities in Canada not contemplated by IRPR.

  • Place of application: Short-term business visitors may apply for admission to Canada at the port of entry if they are exempt from the requirement to obtain a TRV. Otherwise, they must submit their application to a Canadian visa office abroad.
  • Permissible length of stay: The maximum duration for short-term business visitors is 90 days in a six-month period. This limitation applies only to applicants who do not qualify under the general business visitor rules in sections 186(a) or 187 of IRPR.
  • Entry/reentry: It is permissible for CETA business visitors to enter Canada multiple times for the same project during a 90-day period every six months. It is recommended that applicants who will be making a number of regular trips to Canada ask to be documented on a visitor record to facilitate their subsequent entries. There is no cost to apply for admission to Canada as a business visitor at the port of entry. Applicants who require a TRV to enter Canada, however, must pay a processing fee when they apply for their TRV.

Short-term business visitors may enter Canada under CETA to carry out the activities in Annex 10-D in accordance with certain restrictions. Short-term business visitors cannot:

  • engage in the sale of goods or services to the general public;
  • receive direct or indirect remuneration from a source in Canada; and
  • engage in the supply of a service, except as provided in Annex 10-D.

Permissible Activities for Short-Term Business Visitors

The list of permissible activities for business visitors in CETA differs from those permitted under NAFTA. CETA business visitors are permitted, for example, to attend meetings, consultations and training seminars. Further, the description of after-sales service specifically includes after-lease services. The following activities may be performed by short-term business visitors under Annex 10-D of CETA:

  1. Meetings and consultations: Individuals attending meetings or conferences, or engaged in consultations with business associates;
  2. Research and design: Technical, scientific and statistical researchers conducting independent research or research for an enterprise located in an EU member state;
  3. Marketing research: Market researchers and analysts conducting research or analysis for an enterprise located in an EU member state;
  4. Training seminars: Personnel entering Canada to receive training in techniques and work practices who are employed by an entity in an EU member state, provided that the training received is confined to observation, familiarization and classroom instruction only;
  5. Trade fairs and exhibitions: Personnel attending a trade fair for the purpose of promoting their company or its products or services;
  6. Sales: Representatives of a supplier of services or goods taking orders or negotiating the sale of services or goods or entering into agreements to sell services or goods for that supplier, but not delivering goods or supplying services themselves. Short-term business visitors cannot engage in making direct sales to the general public;
  7. Purchasing: Buyers purchasing goods or services for an enterprise, or management and supervisory personnel, engaging in a commercial transaction to be carried out in an EU member state;
  8. After-sales or after-lease service: Installers, repair and maintenance personnel, and supervisors, possessing specialized knowledge essential to a seller's contractual obligation, performing services or training workers to perform services, pursuant to a warranty or other service contract incidental to the sale or lease of commercial or industrial equipment or machinery, including computer software, purchased or leased from an enterprise located in an EU member state, throughout the duration of the warranty or service contract;
  9. Commercial transactions: Management and supervisory personnel and financial services personnel (including insurers, bankers and investment brokers) engaging in a commercial transaction for an enterprise located in an EU member state;
  10. Tourism personnel: Tour and travel agents, tour guides or tour operators attending or participating in conventions or accompanying a tour that has begun in an EU member state; and
  11. Translation and interpretation: Translators or interpreters performing services as employees of an enterprise located in an EU member state.

These activities apply to short-term business visitors from an EU member state entering Canada. While some EU member states have imposed certain restrictions on the work permit exemption for short-term business visitors, Canada has not.

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