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International Work Arrangements

TMU actively promotes international exchange and mobility. Faculty conduct research and other activities outside of Canada for the university. We also engage the services of residents of other countries and often host international visitors on campus.

International work arrangements can involve navigating through a range of immigration and tax laws and regulations, as well as treaties and other international agreements. These basic guidelines are designed to help you deal with the most common situations. In complex circumstances, please talk to your human resources partner, who can help you work through the specifics, and/or may refer the matter for legal opinion.

Guidelines for international work arrangements

Determining the relationship between the university and international workers involves consideration of three key points. Answering these questions can help clarify how to engage and pay this group:

  1. What is the residency status of the person doing the work?
  2. Where is the work being done?
  3. Is the individual an employee?

What is the residency status of the person doing the work?

Determining residency status can be a fairly involved process, but the main things to look at are:

  • whether or not the individual owns a home or other property in Canada;
  • if their partner/spouse and/or dependents live in Canada; and
  • if they are employed by a Canadian employer.

If one or more of these factors apply, the individual is likely a Canadian resident. Someone who might otherwise not be considered to be a resident may be deemed a resident if they work in Canada or plan to work in Canada for 183 days or more.

Citizenship is not a deciding factor in determining residency.

Where is the work being done?

From a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) perspective, Canadian residents are taxed on their worldwide income under the Canadian taxation system. For example, a faculty member or researcher who works temporarily in another country for TMU is paid and taxed by the university in exactly the same way as if the work was done in Canada.

The country where the work is being done may still require a permit or visa for individuals to work there and Canadian employment laws may continue to apply.

Non-resident employees working outside Canada

In situations where a resident of another country is doing work for TMU in that country as an employee, they must be paid in accordance with the tax rules and methods for paying employees in that country.

TMU and other Canadian universities do not have global payroll systems that allow some international businesses to pay their international employees based on the specific tax rules of each country. We provide funds to partner organizations (universities, hospitals, government organizations, etc.) in other countries to pay their employees.

For example, if TMU were to hire a research coordinator to conduct specific research activities in a hospital in another country over several years, we would provide the hospital with the funds to pay the coordinator. This type of arrangement is usually facilitated by the Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation.

Is the individual an employee?

If a non-resident is working in Canada for TMU under an employee/employer relationship, they require a work permit and/or other documentation that entitles them to work in Canada. For example, non-residents working as research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, administrative support staff and instructors are employees. They may also be union employees depending on the type of work involved. They will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and will be paid in the same way as any other employee of the university.

One-time payment for non-residents who are not employees

In the case of non-residents who are not categorized as employees or businesses and require a one-time payment, a SIN is not required. This particular group is paid as non-residents through Human Resources by submitting the  (PDF file) Non-Resident Payment form. A 15% withholding tax is applied to these payments and a T4ANR is issued. A work permit may still be required.

Note: For payments for independent contractors that are registered as a business or have a GST/HST account number, please contact Financial Services at 416-979-5010.

Non-resident student employees

Non-resident students who come to TMU from outside Canada to work under international internship or other employment programs and agreements are treated as employees of the university. The same rule applies when the internship is part of their academic program requirements. They must have the required authorization to work in Canada and a SIN, and are paid and taxed in the same way as other employees (and student employees) of the university.