CETA – Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Part II – Contractual Service Suppliers & Independent Professionals
After much anticipation CETA came into force on September 21, 2017. CETA, like NAFTA is a Trade Agreement, part of which allows for the labour mobility of citizens of member states. However, the labour mobility provisions of CETA are quite narrow which calls into question how much it will actually be used in the Canadian context.
CETA allows for the entry to Canada of three broad categories:
- Key personnel: including intra-corporate (company) transferees, investors, and business visitors for investment purposes;
- Contractual service suppliers and independent professionals; and
- Short-term business visitors.
See my previous blog post on Intra-Company Transferees under CETA here.
Contractual Service Suppliers & Independent Professionals
CETA, like NATFA and other Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) allows for the entry of certain European Professionals to Canada. However, the program under CETA bears little resemblance to and is far more restrictive than expected. CETA covers 2 types of Professionals: Contractual Service Suppliers and Independent Professionals.
Unlike NAFTA and other FTAs, CETA Contractual Service Suppliers and Independent Professionals cannot be employed by the Canadian company contracting for their service. Their services must be provided under contract with the Canadian company either through their European employer, or, in the case of Independent Professionals, as a self-employed person. CETA Professional work permits are limited to a maximum cumulative period of 12-months in any 24-month period. Any work permit extensions are discretionary and would require submission by the employer of a new Offer of Employment (IMM5802) through the Employer Portal.
Applicants under CETA must be citizens of a European Union member state and they must possess a university degree or, in the case of engineering and scientific technologists, a 3-year post-secondary degree from an officially recognized institution in an approved discipline. Applicants must also have professional qualifications to practice if required by the province or territory where the service is being supplied.
In order to qualify under this provision, the Contractual Service Supplier or Independent Professionals’ occupation must fall under a qualifying service sector and within an eligible NOC. Eligible Contractual Service Suppliers and Independent Professionals are limited to those service sectors set out in s. 9 and s. 10 of Annex 10-E. The qualifying service sectors for Contractual Service Suppliers are listed in s. 9 and those for Independent Professionals are listed in s. 10. IRCC has created a concordance table specifying the National Occupational Classification (NOC) equivalents to the CETA service sectors described in Annex 10-E. The concordance table specifies which NOCs qualify as Contractual Service Suppliers and which qualify as Independent Professionals. It also specifies whether there are limitations to the occupations or duties within a NOC that qualify under the eligible service sectors.
It should be noted that as CETA Professionals cannot be employed by the Canadian company contracting for their service, they are unlikely to be eligible for points under Express Entry for having a qualifying offer of employment.
Additional Criteria – Contractual Service Suppliers
In order to qualify under the CETA Professional category, Contractual Service Suppliers must be employed by a European company with a contract to supply a service to a Canadian consumer. The European company cannot have an establishment in Canada.
In addition to the general criteria described above, in order to qualify under CETA, Contractual Service Suppliers must:
- Have been employed by the European company for at least 1 year prior to the application;
- Possess at least 3 years of professional experience in the sector of activity that is the subject of the contract; and
- Only be remunerated for their service in Canada by the European employer.
Additional Criteria – Independent Professionals
Independent Professionals under CETA are defined as self-employed professionals who are contracted to provide a service to a Canadian consumer. In addition to the general criteria described above, in order to qualify under CETA, Independent Professionals must:
- Be engaged in the supply of a service on a temporary basis as a self-employed person; and
- Possess at least 6 years of professional experience in the sector of activity that is the subject of the contract.
Because of the amount of experience and the educational qualification required under the CETA Professional category, only a limited number professionals will be eligible. Professionals who are not eligible under CETA might be eligible under one of the following International Mobility Programs:
- Global Skills Strategy Short-Term Occupation (work permit exempt)
- Francophone Mobility Program
- NAFTA or other Free Trade Agreement
- International Experience Class
- Significant Economic, Social or Cultural Benefit to Canada
- GATTs Intra-Company Transferee
Please note that the above list is not a complete list of LMIA exempt work permit programs. Professionals who do not qualify under one of the aforementioned programs may require a Labour Market Impact Assessment to work in Canada.
The lawyers of Capelle Kane are well versed in all of the International Mobility and Temporary Foreign Worker Programs. Please contact us for further information.