On July 13, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) published Operational Bulletin 449 (“OB 449″). OB 449 provides guidance on recent Ministerial Instructions that prohibit the processing of work permit applications filed by temporary foreign workers who will be working in a sector where “there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation of some workers.” The prohibition applies to all initial and extension applications filed on or after July 14, 2012.
For the purposes of the prohibition, strip clubs, escort services and massage parlours are considered businesses where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation. However, OB 449 advises officers not to refuse applications involving businesses where employees have qualifications and credentials that are regulated and certified by provincial authorities, such as massage therapy clinics.
The prohibition applies to all work permit applications where the applicant is destined to work for such a business, or to perform contract work for the business or on its premises (including on a self-employed basis), irrespective of the specific occupation that the applicant is intended to fill at that business. In addition, if a foreign national who will be working in the occupation of exotic dancer is destined to a bar or hotel that only has an exotic dance performance occasionally and would not normally be considered a “strip club,” the establishment would still be considered a “strip club” for the duration of the foreign national’s performance. In other words, such a business would also be subject to the prohibition.
Finally all open work permits (i.e. work permits that are not tied to a specific employer or occupation) will now have the following condition placed in the visible remarks section of the document:
Not valid for employment in businesses related to the sex trade such as strip clubs, massage parlours or escort services.
This condition informs the work permit holder that employment, self-employment, or contract services in this sector are not permissible.