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Volunteer Work and Unpaid Opportunities

Discussion in 'Family Class Sponsorship' started by AE0626, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Hi to all fellow PR applicants!

    Wanted to give some advice on how you can all make use of your time while in Canada. My profession is in recruitment and talent acquisition and have done alot of this in my country. When I moved to Canada with my husband, I did not have the papers to legally work in Canada. Given this, I decided to make use of my time and check out volunteer opportunities within my field. It has alot of advantages: 1) it allows you to have a feel of the industry and work environment you would wish to belong to. 2) You gain networks- both professional and personal 3) it helps pass the time :D

    Having had the background in HR, I wanted to learn more about the talent pool within Canada and at the same time, be more aware of the labor market. I used the opportunity to get back to the basics and re-learn all the skills. afterall, I had nothing to lose. I was unable to work in Canada so might as well, use the chance to gain the Canadian experience that most employers will be looking for once I finally get my PR.

    I have done 3 internships since I got here. one in the governement, one in the private sector and my most recent is with a staffing agency which is exactly what I do in my country. Now that my work permit is on the way, I have been receivng invitations for an interview from the contacts I have gained.

    This is definitly something you may want to try out. I literally googled the words 'volunteer ottawa' or 'unpaid opportunities' and found alot of opportunities. This is just a suggestion for all applicants out there who are looking for ways to pass the time. It definitely worked for me! Best of luck to all applicants! :)
  2. NOT TRUE. you cannot legally volunteer in Canada without a permit. in theory you are potentially taking opportunities away from Canadians.
  3. HI eletyl - I checked on the legalities of volunteering and the HR of the agencies have said its ok. Other things I worked on were volunteering for various events within ottawa that actually requested for a helping hand. It was a good way to gain friends and contacts.

    Just a suggestion. :)
  4. you have to be very careful about it. trust legal documents more than any HR agency. from the FW manual:

    If the answer to either of these questions is ‘yes’, the foreign national intends to engage in a
    competitive activity, which would be considered “work”.

    Examples of “work” include, but are not limited to:
    • a foreign technician coming to repair a machine, or otherwise fulfil a contract, even when they
    will not be paid directly by the Canadian company for whom they are doing the work;
    • self-employment, which could constitute a competitive economic activity such as opening a
    dry- cleaning shop or fast-food franchise. (A self-employed person may also be considered to
    be working if they receive a commission or payment for services);
    • unpaid employment undertaken for the purpose of obtaining work experience, such as an
    internship or practicum normally done by a student.

    What kind of activities are not considered to be “work”?
    • An activity which does not really ‘take away’ from opportunities for Canadians or permanent
    residents to gain employment or experience in the workplace is not “work” for the purposes of
    the definition.
    Examples of activities for which a person would not normally be remunerated or which
    would not compete directly with Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents in the
    Canadian labour market and which would normally be part-time or incidental to the reason
    that the person is in Canada include, but are not limited to:
    • volunteer work for which a person would not normally be remunerated, such as sitting on the
    board of a charity or religious institution; being a ‘big brother’ or ‘big sister’ to a child; being on
    the telephone line at a rape crisis centre. (Normally this activity would be part time and
    incidental to the main reason that a person is in Canada);
    • unremunerated help by a friend or family member during a visit, such as a mother assisting a
    daughter with childcare, or an uncle helping his nephew build his own cottage;
    • long distance (by telephone or internet) work done by a temporary resident whose employer
    is outside Canada and who is remunerated from outside Canada;
    • self-employment where the work to be done would have no real impact on the labour market,
    nor really provide an opportunity for Canadians. Examples include a U.S. farmer crossing the
    border to work on fields that he owns, or a miner coming to work on his own claim.
    There may be other types of unpaid short-term work where the work is really incidental to the
    main reason that a person is visiting Canada and is not a competitive activity, even though nonmonetary
    valuable consideration is received. For instance, if a tourist wishes to stay on a family
    farm and work part time just for room and board for a short period (i.e., 1-4 weeks), this person
    would not be considered a worker.
  5. Hmm.. Thanks for this. You know what this is something I can also bring up to the not for profit orgs that seek volunteers. But thanks for quoting this. when I asked for the volunteer work and its legalitites I ensured that there would be no issues whatsoever as I am truly against 'under the table' work

    but thanks for this!
  6. it's really a shame, in theory your post obviously had genuinely good intentions. but I just didn't want anyone to mistakenly do something that might jeopordize their PR.

    I'm actually quite shocked you were able to obtain internships, especially in the government. I think you were really lucky that whomever took you on didn't know the legalities..
  7. True. Totally agree with you. The waiting game can be a real pain. And only good intentions definitely.

    come to think of it, I'd like to check this out with them.

    Whew, jeopardizing others application is the last thing on my mind. But thanks for the important info. truly truly helpful and an eye opener.
  8. now its making me think.. i want to erase this post to avoid confusion =) dont want to give people the wring idea. Will definitely look into this.
    Or possibly get other ideas of how to productively pass time...
  9. Thank you for your post! This topic is really interesting! Inlanders always have a lot of free time and would like to use this time effectively learning the language, culture and helping people.

    The law is not concrete in the specification of volunteer work which does not allow to get some expirience. There is no list of allowed positions and there is no real life examples. So I think inlanders take on their own a risk to be considered as illegally working people.

    When we applied for PR, I also started to research volunteer opportunities, but I stopped it after reading the information, presented by eletyl. So I had decided not to take any risks.

    Don't you mind me asking how do you get the government internship without PR. Did they ask you about legal documents when you were hired? What were your tasks there?
  10. Ok, so I'm in Canada on a work permit, what if I volunteered to hand out fliers and such? Would that be considered "work"?
  11. So as to not discourage charity-style volunteer work, quoted from the same passage of FW-01:

    If the volunteer work you're doing is work that would normally be paid -- aka, just unpaid work -- then per the CIC it would require a work permit and you may not do it as a visitor. However, if the volunteer work you are going to do is work that people aren't normally paid for, usually non-profit/charity stuff, then go for it! How could Canada say no to people -- legal or not -- wanting to help others for free?
  12. It is not just about being paid or not, it is also about what CIC define as “work” - as shown in the quoted material.
  13. I spent some time before I became a PR volunteering at an animal shelter as a dog walker. It was a great way to pass the time, meet new people and start to feel like I belonged here. Plus spending time with the dogs was lovely :)
  14. I have also been volunteering, it is very worthwhile, but people need to be aware of the implications. Getting it wrong won't help anyone.
  15. It might do if you don't get caught :p

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