Canada is one of the United States' most important economic partners. Home to one of the best public education systems in the world, Canada is a booming talent hub across all industries, including tech, financial services, healthcare, and agriculture. Despite being a relatively small country by population, Canada's GDP is approaching $2 trillion. Companies looking to expand globally can hire top Canadian talent by partnering with an EOR service like Via.
Finding a remote job and hiring remote workers in Canada is relatively easy, depending on the field you’re working in. Many employers in Canada have embraced the flexibility and ease of remote work.
Because of the high amount of employees searching for remote jobs, Canada is a great place for companies to build a remote hub.
In this guide, we’ll break down what businesses need to know about building a remote work hub in Canada, as well as what both citizens and foreigners should expect when trying to work remotely in the North American country.
Companies can build a remote work hub in Canada of 1 to 100+ workers using a global EOR provider like Via, all without having the founder, CEO, or human resources team step foot in the country.
If you partner with an EOR like Via, you can set up a remote hub in the country and avoid the timely and costly process of entity setup.
An EOR is responsible for local HR processes, such as:
Maintaining compliance with local employment laws and other regulations
Drafting employment contracts in the correct language
Managing payroll and taxes, including withholdings and deductions payments
Administering local benefits, such as private health insurance
Registering with local the social security system in the specific Canadian province, foreign tax authorities, and other government institutions
Offering support and navigating sticky situations, including terminations and severance (layoffs in the US are much different than layoffs in Canada)
Canada has the 4th best education system in the world, making it an ideal location to find top talent in any given field, especially tech. Toronto, often called the quietly booming tech center, is the third largest tech hub in North America, thanks to investment from the government and liberal immigration policies.
Canada is a great place to build a remote work hub because of its educated population. Around 78% of Canadians aged 25-34 have some sort of post-secondary education.
A larger full-time talent pool gives you access to diversity and new ideas. Diversity in the workplace increases collaboration, profits, and allows you to better retain employees.
If you focus on setting up a new employment hub in Canada, you can recruit and retain workers with skills that suit your business needs.
Canada has strong business and professional connections with the US and Latin America, as well as many European and Asian countries.
Setting up a remote work hub in Canada will allow your business to not only access a larger customer base, but also give you a network of contacts in the country for your business.
Canada has astable and growing economy, which enables workers to enjoy their work/life balance without having to worry about hyper inflation or unexpected layoffs.
Wages are always increasing in Canada, while the prices of goods and services stay relatively the same. The Canadian dollar remains a stable currency in the world economy.
To encourage multiculturalism, Canada implemented policies in the 1960s and 70s that made it easier for the country to welcome immigrants from around the world.
As remote work becomes increasingly popular in Canada, employers, citizens and permanent residents should be aware of all the laws and regulations related to remote work.
Laws that govern remote work in Canada vary depending on the province.
So, if an employee is working remotely in Quebec, but their company is based in British Columbia, the Quebec Labour Standards Act will outline specifics regarding the employment relationship. Employers will need to familiarize themselves with the province(s) their employees will work in.
In general, outside of the smaller provinces, the Employment Standards Act (ESA) that governs Ontario guides the rules and regulations for hiring full-time and part-time employees in Canada.
Remote work regulations that every employer will need to follow under the ESA including deciding:
On terms for when, where, and how much per week employees will work remotely
How remote work requests will be handled
Who is entitled to remote work
If the employer or employee will pay any additional costs from working remotely
Most importantly, under this act, employers are able to visit and observe the employees' work-from-home setup with 48-hours of notice to ensure that it complies with that province's health and safety regulations.
Under the Directive on Telework, the Canadian government specifies exactly how employees should be managed.
Employers must state the following in the employment contract:
Technology requirements for working remotely
Hours of work, break times, and when the employee will work each day
How often the employee is expected to communicate with management throughout the day
Physical workspace requirements to comply with Canadian health and safety regulations
In March of 2023, 155,000 federal employees went on strike for 2 weeks demanding the government re-evaluate the Directive on Telework after government officials stated they wanted workers back in-office 2-3 days per week.
Through pressure from federal unions in Canada (including the Public Service Alliance in Canada), the Canadian government agreed to review the policy. They plan to update the policy to allow collective agreements for remote work to be based on a case-by-case consideration.
Federally regulated employees who were working remotely for 6 months during COVID have the right to request permanent schedule flexibility (work-from-home). Employers have 30 days to respond to these requests.
Under this law, employers can only deny these requests if:
WFH setups result in additional costs to the employer
Remote working negatively impacts the quality of work and performance of the employee
The request makes it hard to delegate work or to hire new employees to accommodate the request
There wouldn’t be enough everyday tasks for the employee if they worked remotely
The policy should include:
Protocols for evacuating from the worker's home to a safe location in case of an emergency
Safe work practices to report work-related incidents or injuries
Communication procedures for checking in on employees working alone or in isolation
Ergonomic options for home-office furniture
In general, employers aren’t obligated to pay for the employee’s WFH setup or co-working membership. If an employer does choose to cover any of these costs, they are eligible for a tax deduction by completing the CRA T2200 form.
Employers are required to cover remote employees under their Workers’ Compensation policy. By law, employers must recognize and try to protect their employees from domestic violence by noticing any signs of missed work or physical abuse. Employers need to maintain regular contact with their employees.
Under the Section 3 of the Canada Labour Code, remote employees living in Canada are entitled to the same benefits and legal protections as all other Canadian employees. The employer must protect the employee from harassment, issue overtime payments, allow breaks, and guarantee any other employee rights that are required by law in the specific province they’re working remotely in.
Employers are allowed to monitor the employees’ computers, emails, and phone calls to make sure that they are working and following proper data protection procedures. However, they must inform their employees that they are using a tracking system to monitor their everyday tasks.
Although not technically a tax credit, the Canadian government does offer some remote employees a tax deduction for home office expenses. Tax credits reduce the amount that workers owe, while tax deductions reduce their taxable income.
To qualify for the deduction, workers need to have:
Worked from home in 2022 due to the pandemic
Worked from home for 50% of the time for 4 consecutive weeks
Prove that the employer is not reimbursing for any of their home-office expenses
Workers can also claim this deduction if they:
Were required to pay for expenses related to working space at home (rent, internet, etc.)
Only earn employment income from your work space
Workspace expenses are directly related to work
The worker has a completed copy of Form T2200S or T2200, signed by his or her employer
The simplest way to determine your tax deduction is to figure out how many days you worked in your home-office.
The Canadian government does not count the following:
Other leaves of absence
Once you figured out how many days you worked, you claim $2 for each day you worked during the year, for a potential total of up to $500.
Another more thorough method (if you work remotely more frequently) is to figure out how much your workspace takes up your home by square feet.
For example, if your apartment is 1,000 square feet and you work in an office measuring 10 feet by 10 feet, your work space is 10% of your home. You’ll then be able to deduct 10% of expenses related to working remotely from your taxes.
Canada is an ideal location for remote workers and digital nomads because it has a stable cost of living, low unemployment rate, and mandatory employment benefits.
Canada has a stable economy and the cost of living has stayed around the same for the past few years. Inflation and political strife don’t impact most citizens' day-to-day life.
This means Canadians have a good sense of how much they will need to spend on rent, food, gas, and other living expenses.
Last year, Canada’s unemployment rate was around 5.4%, which is comparatively low compared to many other countries.
The financial, tech, and science sectors in Canada continue to grow, creating more jobs each year.
Parental leave (maternity leave, paternity leave)
Paid time off (PTO)
Public health care
Most employers in Canada also pay for their employees' private healthcare or offer affordable healthcare schemes.
Canada is currently creating a digital nomad visa that will allow foreigners who work for a foreign company to live in Canada for up to 6 months.
The new Canadian digital nomad visa will be aimed mostly at tech workers. However, anyone who meets the requirements will be able to apply. The salary threshold for this digital nomad visa will be at least $8,000 CAD.
The Canadian government plans to launch this digital nomad visa scheme in late 2023.
Until this new visa scheme is launched, digital nomads have a few options for visas in Canada:
Apply for a tourist visa: Tourists visas are for those who work remotely for a company outside of Canada, but only want to stay in the country for 90 days or less.
Self-employment visa: Those who want to work as a freelancer and stay in Canada longer than 6 months can apply for a self-employment visa. You usually need help from an employment lawyer or EOR service like Via when applying for this type of visa to prove you qualify. You normally need 2 years of relevant work experience unless you qualify as a Federal Skilled Trade employee. This visa allows you to eventually become a permanent resident.
If you're a foreigner who wants to live in Canada and work remotely for a Canadian employer, you and your employer are required to apply for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The process can be a bit daunting at first and takes some serious preparation time. Make sure that you are thoroughly prepared by collecting all the required documents and filling out the online application.
Once you and your complete the LMIA application, then you can apply Canadian work permit and temporary residence permit to begin living and working remotely in the country. This type of work permit requires:
Name of the employer
Specifics of working relationship
Location of work
Copy of LMIA approval
Offer of employment from a Canadian employer
Depending on your skills and work, you may be exempt from LMIA. Check the requirements for exemptions on the Canadian government website. Express Entry into the country allows you to bypass the LMIA process.
There are plenty of remote jobs available right now in Canada on platforms like Flexjobs, Job Bank Canada, or Monster Canada. You can sign up for job alerts on these sites to receive an email whenever a company posts a job that matches your years of experience or skill set.
Many companies also use social media to post, so the job search in the country should be easier for both citizens and foreigners.
Popular remote jobs in Canada include:
Customer service representatives
Data entry professionals
Customer support at call centers
Popular companies hiring in Canada:
As a global EOR provider, Via makes hiring Canadian talent and building your global team seamless and fast. Whether you need to hire remote workers or independent contractors in Canada, we can help you navigate the entire process.
Via helps you manage local HR processes for direct employment such as work visas & permits, benefits, payroll, background checks, and more. Our team of local labor lawyers and on-the-ground experts ensure that your company remains compliant while expanding abroad. As your employer-of-record in Canada, Via assumes responsibility for employment liability, so that you can focus on what matters: recruiting and managing your team.
With Via’s transparent pricing, you can pay full-time employees or contractors in Canada with no hidden set-up fees, no foreign exchange or transaction fees, and no minimums–start with 1 employee and scale up at your own pace.