Contract in Canada

Contracting in Canada - FAQ

What is the monthly cost of using an Umbrella Company in Canada? 

Our Canadian partner company charge 5.9%.


How long does it take to get a work permit in Canada?

Between 4-6 weeks, unless the candidate is a US or Mexican passport holder and in that case it’s 2-3 days for the US national and 7 days for Mexican nationals.

What is the estimated net retention in Canada for a contractor earning USD 500 per day?

*update pending

What is the estimated net retention in Canada for a contractor earning USD 1000 per day?

It is state dependent and also depends on whether the candidate is eligible for Living Away from Home Allowance. Can be up to 75% of their gross billing.

*doesn’t include fee for work permit or other immigration costs

More questions? See the rest of the FAQ for more information on the Canada work permit process

Getting Started

Taking a contract in Canada means tackling numerous administrative headaches. Before you even begin working as an independent contractor, there are complicated payroll, tax, and immigration issues to work out.

All this complex admin comes on top of any personal matters you need to sort, as well. Even worse, it can be a huge nuisance when you’re already in Canada, trying to adjust to a huge relocation – and a new contract!

Streamlining even a few of these obstacles can dramatically improve your experience.

Luckily, there are ways to simplify more than just a few…

Freelance Canada Requirements


One of your first hurdles will be securing the proper work permit. To get one, you usually need an employer to sponsor you. This means they take full responsibility for you while you’re working in the country.

That’s fine for full-time employees, but what about independent contractors?

Many clients won’t offer sponsorship for a temporary worker and, even if they do, you’ll need to apply for a new permit for each new contract. This creates a mountain of paperwork each time you want to work with a new client.


Additionally, you need to figure out what you owe (if anything) in taxes for your work in Canada.

Of course, there’s also your country of tax residency; you’re likely to owe something on that front, too.

You can take advantage of certain tax structures, but doing so requires a strong familiarity with expat tax law in Canada.

Benefits of working through an Umbrella Company in Canada

You can outsource a lot of these admin problems to specialists at an Umbrella Company (or contractor management company).

An Umbrella Company basically becomes your full-time “employer,” even though you stay in control of your workload, clients, and schedule. The Umbrella Company simply collects and processes your payments, filtering out social security and any necessary fees.

They can also sponsor your work permit, meaning you get to take on new clients without the aggravation of applying for a new permit each time.

Even better, most specialise in tax law for contractors in Canada and can ensure you’re keeping the largest amount of your earnings as possible. They can even assist you with reducing your tax liability back home.

In short, you get all the benefits of a working for an employer, without sacrificing your autonomy as a contractor.

How to get started with the right Umbrella Company

There’s a lot of Umbrella Companies out there; finding the right one for you can be daunting.

We’ve done the research on Umbrella Companies in Canada, and know how to match contractors with the perfect company. If you’ve already secured a contract, get in touch with us and let us know your situation. We can get you started with the best Umbrella Company for you, or simply offer feedback on contracting in Canada.

Oh, and we don’t charge anything. Drop us a line and get free, honest, simple advice.

Send your details for more information

Additional FAQ - work permits & payroll


What is the cost of a Work Permit in Canada?

Between $4,500 - $6,000 CAD. TN visas cost up to $1,000 USD (depending on whether an attorney is used).

What documentation is required for a work permit in Canada?

Copies of: personal page of the candidates passport, education certificates, 2 passport photos, police certificate (country dependent), completed application form, CV.

What is the work permit process in Canada?

For non-Mexican and US nationals: the company sponsoring the candidate on the Canadian Work Permit needs to run an Resident Labor Market Test for 10 days, once completed the application for the candidate can be lodged locally and on approval is sent to the candidate in their home country. The candidate then enters Canada and their permit is ratified on entry.
For Mexican and US nationals the visa is a TN and the sponsoring organization needs a job description, CV, passport copy and education certificates. Once collated the sponsor assigns the candidate to a TN Category and the candidate can have the visa ratified at the port of entry.

Can you transfer from a business visa to a work permit in Canada?


Can we organise a business visa for Canada?


How long does it take to process a business visa in Canada?

Country dependent 5-7 days.

How much does a business visa cost in Canada?

$450 USD. Although citizens of a large number of coutries don’t require Business Visas, they can receive a visa on entry.

Can nationals of certain countries enter Canada without a business visa (ex. on an entry visa or visa waiver)?


Yes as above.


$6,000 CAD per month.

How does payroll work in Canada?


It's much the same as it does globally. Your employer (the company sponsoring your visa) pays the candidate on a monthly basis. Payroll tax and employer social security contributions are estimated at 4.75% for CPP and 1.78% for Employment Insurance. These compulsory deductions and individual income tax (which ranges from 0 to 29% for federal taxes and 4-24% for provincial taxes) are deducted at source and paid to the Canada tax authorities. Candidates are able to offset their taxable income with relevant business expenses. The World Bank estimates it takes employers in Canada 36 man days to ensure compliance with payroll and labour taxes each year.

Client comment

"Great advice and excellent service on contracting and immigration solutions in the UK. I would highly recommend Tim and the team to assist you with accurate, clear and concise contracting advice in the UK or any other country for that matter."

Prishen Pillay,Global DBA Operations Lead

Shell International Trading & Shipping