How to Have a Work and Holiday Trip to Canada with Family

By Shannon Gurnee
In Canada
December 8, 2020

Today, on Redhead Mom, I’m sharing a partnered guest post about How to Have a Work and Holiday Trip to Canada with Family.

Canada’s wide borders encompass beautiful, thriving cities, wild landscapes, rich wildlife, and a great variety of cultures and characters. 

As a holiday destination, Canada has something for everyone, with attractions that will fascinate the family for many years to come.

City Life TravelPhoto by Eugene Aikimov

Canada has a thriving economy, making it one of the most attractive labor markets in the world. Lack of labor means more opportunities in terms of employment prospects for you and your entire family.

With this in mind, as you begin to decide whether you should have a working holiday in Canada with your spouse and children, many questions arise. Keep reading, and this article should give you all the answers you are looking for!

One Important Rule

All travelers to Canada must have their passport and immigration status.

It means that:

  • There is no “visa for the groom” or “get a one work permit, bring five children for free.”
  • Immigration status can be “guest”, “permanent resident”, “work permit holder”, “study permit holder”, etc.
  • Your spouse and/or children cannot be “included” in your work permit application.


In most cases, both partners and spouses apply for h1b or partner visa, work permits, and there are several other options. 

Small children usually enter Canada as “visitors” and are allowed to remain in the country until parent’s work permits expire. Older children may need a study permit and apply for one before they leave for Canada. Contact an immigration attorney if you encounter any issues with your travel documents.

Family Information On Form

If your profile is taken from the pool, you will receive an invitation to apply. The next step is to accept it and submit your application for permission to work in Canada. 

As part of your application process, you will be required to fill out a form with information about your family.  

You should answer “yes” or “no” to the question, “Do you accompany anyone to Canada?” for each of the family members you list (spouse, common-law partner, child, etc.).

How should you answer this question?

  • If your spouse does not come to Canada with you, say no.
  • If your child(s) is not coming to Canada with you, say no.
  • If your spouse and children travel to Canada with you, say yes.


Keep in mind that the answer “yes” is not the shortest route to obtaining a work permit for your spouse and child. 

As explained above, “one person, one application,” and each traveler to Canada must have their immigration status.

Applying For A Working Holiday Permit As A Couple

The “One Application Per Person” Rule

Your spouse cannot be included in your application for permission to work vacation, and if you receive it, you will not automatically receive permission for a work vacation.

If you both want to go to Canada as a work permit holder, you must each submit a pool application and hope to receive an invitation to apply.

What Happens If I Get An Invitation And My Spouse Doesn’t?

To get a Work Leave Permit, you need to fulfill the basic requirements, submit a profile to the pool, and hope to get an invitation to apply – this is your luck.

So what if you are lucky and your spouse has not yet received an invitation to apply? In this case, there are several options. 

You can opt-out of your Invitation to apply for a “Buy More Time” and see if you both get it later in the same round of invitations. Declining your Invitation to Apply has no effect on your future chances of getting a visa while you are on vacation. However, keep in mind that your spouse’s profile can be drawn, not yours, and neither of them can be drawn either!

You may also accept your Invitation and continue to apply by crossing your fingers and hoping that your spouse profile can be drawn at any time during the next 12 months. 

Twelve months, because it is during this time that you must land in Canada and activate your work permit. 

If you do not go to Canada within 12 months, you will lose your Canadian work permit and the opportunity to ever apply for a Canadian work permit again.

You can go to Canada with your permission to work as a guest, and your spouse can enter the country as a guest. 

Once you meet all the requirements (i.e., secure a Tier 0, A, or B Tier 0, A, or B job with a minimum six-month contract), your spouse may apply for an open work permit work in Canada. 

It can be done online or at the border (leave the country at the U.S. border and re-enter the country)!

Also, you can go to Canada alone, find suitable employment that meets the requirements, and get the required three payment receipts. Your spouse can then apply for an open work permit.

Traveling To Canada With Kids

Some countries do not allow individuals who are authorized to work on vacation to come with dependent children, but Canada welcomes them. 

Education is mandatory from the age of five (in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) or at 6 years old(in all other provinces and territories), so your child may have to go to school. 

Getting A Study Permit (Or Not)

Since the child (children) must have their immigration status, you have two options:

They can enter Canada with you as guests with their passport and visa (if required). They are usually permitted to stay in Canada as long as your work permit is valid. Small children (18 or 19 years old and under, depending on the province/territory) who are in Canada may attend school without a study permit.

You can apply for permission to study for them before you leave for Canada. Because you will have a valid work permit (such as a work permit during vacation periods), you will not need to submit a letter of acceptance to the school. However, you will have to pay for your permission to study and go through the whole process.

Tips For A Smooth Landing Process

Your child must have his or her passport, and it must be valid for the duration of your stay in Canada. If you don’t need a visa to travel to Canada, you will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). The application process is effective and straightforward, and it is not expensive. Keep an eye on scams, do not use third-party websites!

When you arrive in Canada, a border agency officer will ask you a few questions about your child’s ability to care for your child. How will you support your family? Where will you live? Who will care for your child when you work? Make sure you can easily answer all the questions.

If your child is coming to Canada with only one of two parents, you will be asked to show a copy of your child’s birth certificate and a letter of permission, if possible, in English or French, signed by the non-traveling parent. 

This letter must contain the address and phone number of the parent who is not traveling, as well as a photocopy of the signed passport or national identity card of that parent. 

In other cases (joint custody, sole custody, deceased parent, etc.), read “Minor child traveling to Canada” to make sure you meet all requirements.

To Sum Up

Thousands of people apply for leave to work in Canada each year. Even during such a turbulent time when it is hard to say what will happen in 2021 with traveling. Still, many are disappointed when their applications are denied or delayed due to minor errors, lack of documentation, or missed deadlines.

The truth is that the application process may be a little easier than applying for a Canadian immigrant visa. Still, the government is no less strict about meeting requirements and deadlines. 

Obtaining a working holiday visa is competitive, and the number of places is limited, which is another reason to make sure that your application is correct and complete from the start.

A work vacation in Canada is an experience you will never forget, allowing you and your family to meet new people and experience a new way of life in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. 

When you travel to Canada, you will get to know firsthand what life in Canada can be like, and you will be able to get to know Canada as only a Canadian does.


About Has 2149 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

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