April 24, 2017
If Visiting Canada to Attend Business Meetings, Can You Be a Business Visitor?
Question: I am visiting Canada to attend business meetings. Can I be a business visitor?
Answer: That depends. Business visitor is one of the most frequently used and misunderstood categories of temporary entry in Canada.
Generally speaking, a business visitor is defined as a foreign national who seeks to engage in international business activities in Canada without directly entering the Canadian labour market (as entering the Canadian labour market would trigger the need for a work permit), and must meet these two conditions: 
(a) the primary source of remuneration for the business activities is outside Canada; and
(b) the principal place of business and actual place of accrual of profits remain predominately outside Canada.
Suppose John, CEO of a company in Netherlands, is coming to Canada to attend a business meeting that involves sales negotiation on behalf of a Canadian subsidiary, which he anticipates should benefit if the meeting results in a sale. Throughout his visit, John will remain on the payroll of his company outside Canada, and he is only coming in for a meeting that lasts three hours in Canada.
Based on the information above, John might not be eligible to enter Canada as a business visitor under R187(3)(b), given that if the business meeting should lead to a sale, the Canadian company will benefit from the accrual of profits.
Therefore, even if you are coming into Canada solely to attend business meetings, note that you may not necessarily meet the legal definition of a “business visitor” and depending on the context including your proposed business activities, you may need a work permit. We would recommend consulting a legal representative to determine whether you qualify entry as a business visitor, and if you do, to ensure that you enter Canada with the necessary paperwork that would facilitate your entry.
For more information on Temporary Migration, please click here.