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Locally-Engaged Staff: What Missions Must Know and Do

Circular Note No. XDC-605 of September 11, 2013

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (Office of Protocol) presents its compliments to their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and notified Chargés d’affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada and has the honour to update its policy and procedures concerning persons employed locally by diplomatic missions and consular posts who are not Canadians or Permanent Residents.

This note supersedes Circular Note XDC-0024 of January 16, 2007.

1. Policy Statement

It is generally expected that locally-engaged staff of diplomatic missions or consular posts will be Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada. However, it is the policy of the Department to permit diplomatic missions and consular posts to employ, as members of the locally-engaged staff, nationals of the sending State who are visiting Canada. Temporary Residents must have come to Canada for a purpose other than employment at the mission. The above may be applied restrictively on the basis of reciprocity, for instance if the prevailing conditions of the Canadian Mission with respect to the employment of locally-engaged staff in the other country are less favourable.

Further, nothing in this note should be construed as allowing visitors from a third country to be hired as locally-engaged staff.

Finally, the Department expects that all employer/employee relationships entered into between a Mission and its locally-engaged employees should be entered into under applicable Canadian Federal and Provincial labour laws and comply with related standards. The Department is not in a position to provide information or guidance on Canadian legal frameworks related to the above subject matter. The Embassy may wish to retain a professional firm or legal counsel to conduct this research or to otherwise obtain information through publicly-available resources.

2. Procedure

As locally-engaged staff are not granted official status by the Department, their entry into, and continued presence in, Canada fall under Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) jurisdiction. In this regard, s.199 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulation states that a “foreign national may apply for a work permit after entering Canada if they…hold a written statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade stating that it has no objection to the foreign national working at a foreign mission in Canada.”

Therefore, Diplomatic Missions desiring to employ a national of the sending State must request the Department’s prior permission by submitting a note along with the applicant’s passport. The note must specify whether the sending State would allow the Canadian Mission in that country to employ a Canadian in similar circumstances. Once the request has been approved, a process which takes between ten (10) to fifteen (15) days, a note will be issued to the Mission, following which he/she will, as a Temporary Resident in Canada, be required to apply for a work permit.

Extension of temporary resident status as a worker will have to be sought through Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) prior to the expiration of the existing temporary resident status. All requirements in regard to such extension will have to be met by the applicant. As this matter is again within the jurisdiction of Citizenship and Immigration Canada(CIC), the Department can give no assurance that an extension of status will be granted and under what conditions or restrictions.

3. Tax Obligations

The Department has not instituted a policy requiring foreign missions to make tax deductions on the salary of their locally-engaged staff and corresponding remittances to the fiscal authorities. In spite of this, the Department understands that a number of foreign missions based in Canada have voluntarily entered into arrangements with Revenue Canada for deductions and remittances, such as those related to the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Pension Plan Act. This is one of the best ways of ensuring that the employment of locally-engaged staff is not only pensionable under the Canada Pension Plan, but also insurable under the various Employment Insurance benefit programs, including those related to maternity leave, cessation of work, illness, etc.

The Department, more generally, wishes to clarify that all locally-engaged staff are in no way exempted from their obligations to observe Canadian laws and regulations, including those obligations concerning salary taxation. The payment of such taxes is ultimately between the employees and the relevant governments. Although the Embassy bears no responsibility for ensuring that these obligations are met, locally-engaged staff should be reminded of the expectation that they meet all their responsibilities as required by Canadian laws.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (Office of Protocol)avails itself of this opportunity to renew to their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and notified Chargés d’affaires, a.i. the assurances of its highest consideration.

Ottawa, September 11, 2013

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Date Modified:
2013-09-11