Whether or not a Canadian work permit is required for organizers of a convention, conference, or seminar in Canada depends on certain factors.
Depending on the nature and size of a given convention, conference, or seminar, organizing the event is usually no small task. There is usually at least one individual, or a small team, whose responsibility it is to set up the event and ensure it runs smoothly.
This actually entails many smaller jobs that can range from setting up booths, to organizing the guest list, to ordering refreshments for the attendees. As this involves work, when an organizer happens to be a foreign national, issues relating to Canadian work permits might arise.
Whether or not a work permit is required depends on two major factors. The first pertains to the role the foreign national plays in the execution of the work to set up the event; if the individual is doing “hands on” work, meaning he or she physically assisting with the preparation and organization, then a work permit is required. This would not be the case if the foreign national had a more passive role as the supervisor of the work. If he or she is merely directing other people and providing instructions as to how the work is to be carried out, this does not necessitate a work permit for the organizer. Therefore, if the foreign national’s role can be relegated to behind the scenes, guiding the work as opposed to actually performing the work, this would be easiest with regard to legally working in Canada.
The second factor is the “nationality” of the event in question. If it is a Canadian event, meaning it is being held by an organization located in Canada, then a work permit would likely be required. If, on the other hand, it was a foreign entity that was hosting the event, and the above condition is satisfied, a work permit may not be needed.