How much questioning should I expect from Canadian officials regarding the purpose of an upcoming business trip?
November 29, 2010 9:39 AM   Subscribe

I will be traveling to Toronto, Canada on business. How much questioning should I expect from Canadian officials regarding the purpose of my visit?

I occasionally do trainings for work and many years ago I recall visiting Toronto on business and getting pulled aside for questioning. Apparently Canada had (still has?) regulations that restrict the type of work visitors may do, especially if a Canadian resident can do the same work.

It so happens that my line of work is fairly specialized, so it would be relatively unusual to find someone to do the training. So my question boils down to: is this still an issue these days and if so are there any ways to turn this into less of a hassle?
posted by jeremias to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (5 answers total)
The issue is whether you're going for meetings related to business you already have, vs coming into the country to sell things or 'do business'. Sounds like you're the former, so it shouldn't be a problem. (Just say "i'm here for meetings on behalf of my employer" or some such.)
posted by Kololo at 10:03 AM on November 29, 2010

The correct answer is, and I know it's not a good one, "it depends." You just never know who will be the person asking. Sometimes the customs person will ask nothing, other times, the questions will never stop. If you're lucky there won't be any trouble.
posted by Blake at 10:39 AM on November 29, 2010


As someone that gives very specialized trainings, I can say that you most likely will get pulled aside. Out of my past 4 trainings in Canada, each one I was pulled aside.

They always let me in, but not without a series of useless questions. I actually now enter with a letter from the company that I am working for that specifies my info, entering and departing dates, Canadian contact numbers and a notice that I do not receive money from Canada, but rather am being paid and sponsored by my American Co. This letter certainly helps a ton.

Also flying in I get less hassle, the driving borders are much more strict.

My all time favorite question is "Isn't there someone in Canada that can do this training?" What am I suppose to answer? "No, I am smarter than everyone is Canada." Silliness.
posted by wile e at 10:53 AM on November 29, 2010

We've found with vendors coming to Canada from the US that if we (as their Canadian client organization) provide them with a formal letter of inviation/introduction stating that they're providing some specialized training at our site at our request, that that letter helps them with this process at the border. This is not direct knowledge on my part, but, as reported to me by our vendors. They do seem to appreciate it, so it must have some effect.
posted by bonehead at 12:32 PM on November 29, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all, I have plenty of time to get my Ps and Qs in order so if letters are needed, that's not a problem, this is exactly the data I'm looking for though, so thanks.

wile e, yes that was my experience years ago! I actually now remember that same question and remember feeling the same way.
posted by jeremias at 1:30 PM on November 29, 2010

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