International work arrangements

The University of Toronto continues to build and strengthen international partnerships as one of its three key priorities. Collaborating and engaging with researchers and thought leaders around the world increases engagement opportunities for students and expands global research partnerships. However, when the University’s collaborations include engaging employees or service providers to perform work in other countries, or engaging individuals from other countries to perform work in Canada, we need to ensure these engagements are done according to applicable laws.

We want to remind you of the resources that the University has created (described below) to guide you through determining whether an international work arrangement is permissible and if so, how the arrangement should be structured.


Engaging Foreign Nationals Inside of Canada 

Our reputation as an employer of choice on a global scale enables us to attract talent from around the world. International searches are conducted in accordance with the framework set out by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its associated regulations. These include requirements to post the position in various places including a Government of Canada website, and to assess whether a qualified Canadian or Permanent Resident could be identified. If no qualified Canadian or Permanent Resident is identified there are additional steps including (for non-American and Mexican professionals who may be able to enter Canada through a treaty) application for a Labour Market Impact Assessment.  Failure to adhere to the legal requirements could have significant negative effects in terms of scrutiny and assessment of future applications by the University to hire non-Canadians and potential penalties.

The University’s Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) work with Divisions to ensure that we are meeting our compliance obligations and to mitigate identified risks.

For further information, please review the reference document “Bringing the World to UofT”.

Engaging Foreign Nationals Outside of Canada

At the outset of the COVID pandemic, border closures and travel restrictions prevented many University community members (students, faculty, staff) both from entering Canada for the first time, and from returning to Canada. Units exercised flexibility in making certain out of country work arrangements for individuals unable to return to Canada. Many travel restrictions and border closures have since eased, and workers are able to enter Canada with some restrictions around quarantine requirements for certain individuals.

We want to remind our community that the University is based in Toronto and constituted according to Ontario law. Therefore, it is our expectation that the provision of services to the University will be conducted in Ontario unless the nature of the specific tasks requires otherwise (e.g. excavations in another country, etc.).

Prior to seeking approval to employ or engage a worker in a foreign jurisdiction, units are expected to seek out individuals who will work in Canada and will have (or be able to get) the required legal authorization to work in Canada. If it is not possible to find an individual to perform the required work in Canada, approval of the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture and/or the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life is required to employ a worker in a foreign jurisdiction.

Each of these arrangements requires a complex assessment to determine the University’s ability to remain compliant with the laws of the prospective host country, as well as the laws applicable in Ontario and Canada and the University’s employment policies and collective agreements. Engaging or employing individuals improperly in other countries will often violate the host country’s laws, particularly their employment, tax, and payroll laws, and could be a criminal offence.

For further information, please review the reference document “International Work Engagements.”