Employment Contracts in Canada

Understand the various job contracts used by employees in Canada, and how these might affect your job...

Canadian law protects all workers in Canada, including temporary foreign workers. The Citizenship and Immigration Canada website has more information on the rights of foreign workers For a downloadable guide for foreign workers (PDF)

Permanent contracts

These are the most common type of contracts issued to employees. Normally a permanent contract will include:
  • an annual salary
  • health care benefits
  • possibly other bonuses such as company car, stock share options
As a permanent employee it is necessary to pay Employment Insurance (EI), Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and income tax. CPP and EI contributions are deducted from both the employer and employee.

Freelance/Contract employment

Freelancers or contract workers are normally hired for a particular project or for a limited period of time. This type of employment does not normally have any additional benefits aside from the contract/freelance fee. Contribution to EI and the CCP is normally optional.

Part-time employment

Part-time employment can refer to a number of types of employment from partial days or weekend work, to evening or occasional work. It is normal for a part-time worker to work less than 30 hours a week. There are numerous opportunities for part-time work in Canada and there are specific job recruitment sites which specialise in finding part-time jobs. Service sector industries such as hospitality and retail companies offer many possibilities for part-time work. Unskilled work normally attracts the minimum wage. Part-time work normally includes employer and employee contributions to both EI and CPP.

Temporary work

There are many opportunities for temporary foreign workers in Canada. Temporary/seasonal work includes labourers, lifeguards, land maintenance work, agricultural work, work in the tourist industry and healthcare work. Temporary work is possible under schemes such as Work Visa, Working Holiday Visa and Student Visa; contact the local Canadian Embassy, Consulate or High Commission in the country of residence for details about these programmes. Temporary work is also available for people residing in Canada. Temporary jobs are protected by Canadian law regarding pay, safe working environments and employee rights.


There are many volunteering opportunities available in Canada which can help gain Canadian work experience and build up contacts. Local Service Canada offices, community centres and libraries can assist with volunteering opportunities.