Global Hiring Guide

How to Hire a Canadian for a US Company: A Comprehensive Guide

Mayank Bhutoria

Hiring Canadian talent can be a game changer for US companies looking to expand their workforce with skilled professionals in the global talent pool. With Canada’s proximity and cultural similarities to the US market, Canadian employees can seamlessly integrate into US teams, bringing fresh perspectives, experiences, and expertise. 

However, navigating the legal complexities of hiring across borders can be daunting. US companies must contend with varying labor laws, immigration regulations, and tax requirements. This article provides a comprehensive guide for US companies seeking to tap into the Canadian talent pool.

Can a US Company Hire a Canadian Employee?

You must be wondering - can a US Company hire a Canadian employee? The answer is yes! With the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), formerly known as (NAFTA) cross-border employment is facilitated between the US and Canada. The USMCA provides a framework for the movement of professionals across North American borders, including provisions for intra-company transfers and specialized knowledge workers. 

However, US companies hiring Canadian employees must adhere to specific regulations governing work permits, visas, and other legal requirements to ensure compliance and mitigate potential risks. 

How to Hire a Canadian for a US Company

These are the primary methods for US companies to employ Canadian talent: 

Setting up a subsidiary

This approach grants the US company a legal presence in Canada, allowing for direct employment of Canadian workers. However, establishing a separate legal entity involves significant upfront costs and ongoing administrative complexities. The company becomes subject to Canadian labor laws, requiring expertise in Global payroll, tax compliance, and employee benefits administration.

Sponsoring a work visa

Here's a closer look at some common options for work authorization required for Canadian employees:

TN Visa (USMCA Professional): This visa expedites the process for Canadian professionals in qualifying occupations listed under Annex 16 of the USMCA. The application process is typically less complex compared to other visas and doesn't require a pre-approved labor certification. Occupations like engineers, accountants, and scientists fall under the TN visa, allowing for a faster and more efficient work authorization process.

H-1B Visa (Specialty Occupations): This visa caters to specialty occupations requiring a high degree of theoretical or technical knowledge. The application process is more involved, requiring a labor certification from the US Department of Labor demonstrating that hiring a foreign worker won't adversely affect US workers' wages and working conditions.

L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transfers): This visa streamlines the transfer of employees with specialized knowledge from a foreign company to its affiliated US branch. There are different categories within the L-1 visa, with varying eligibility requirements and durations of stay.

Partnering with an Employer of Record (EOR) 

Partnering with a reputable EOR like Gloroots offers a more efficient and cost-effective solution. Gloroots acts as the legal employer of record for your Canadian hires, handling all aspects of payroll, taxes, and benefits administration, and ensuring compliance with Canadian labor laws. This frees the administrative burden of setting up a subsidiary, allowing organizations to focus on core business activities and talent acquisition.

Hiring independent contractors

Engaging a Canadian professional as an independent contractor can be suitable for project-based work. You’re not responsible for paying fixed salaries or providing employee benefits, which can translate to significant cost savings. However, you forgo direct management control as independent contractors have autonomy over their work.

When you hire international contractors, it's crucial to correctly classify them to avoid legal and financial ramifications arising from misclassification. 

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Employee in Canada?

When considering hiring Canadian employees for a US company, it's essential to factor in various costs beyond just salaries. In Canada, employers typically provide benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid leave, which contribute to the total compensation package. Additionally, administrative expenses, including recruitment fees and onboarding processes, must be accounted for:

Breakdown of costs

Salaries: The base salary for Canadian employees varies depending on factors such as industry, experience, and location. Conducting market research to determine competitive salary ranges is crucial for attracting top talent.

Benefits: Canadian employment standards mandate certain benefits, such as healthcare coverage and paid vacation days, which can impact overall compensation costs. Employers must comply with provincial regulations regarding benefits and ensure equitable treatment of all employees.

Administrative Expenses: Recruiting, hiring, and onboarding processes incur administrative costs, including advertising job postings, conducting interviews, and processing work permits or visas for foreign hires. Partnering with a reputable Employer of Record (EOR) can streamline these processes and mitigate administrative burdens.

Comparison of Labor costs

Labor costs in Canada differ from those in the US. For a US company hiring Canadian employee, it's essential to conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis to assess the overall impact on the company's bottom line. Factors such as currency exchange rates, tax implications, and regulatory compliance can influence the cost-effectiveness of hiring Canadian talent.

Navigating Canadian Employment Laws

Unlike the United States' federal system, Canada's employment laws are a complex web of federal and provincial regulations. The Canada Labour Code sets the minimum standards for a limited number of federally regulated industries, like air transportation and telecommunications. For everything else, each province has the freedom to establish its own minimum requirements. This means that, as a US company expanding to Canada, understanding these variations is crucial for ensuring compliance.

Here's a breakdown of key employment aspects to consider:

Minimum Wage

Canada has a federal minimum wage, but it only applies to federally regulated industries. Provincial minimum wages exist and are often lower than the federal rate. For instance, Manitoba's minimum wage is CA$13.50 per hour, while the national standard is CA$16.65.

Working Hours and Overtime 

The standard workweek in Canada is 40 hours, with overtime starting after that. However, there are provincial variations. A standard workweek in Ontario is 44 hours, while British Columbia follows a 40-hour standard. Overtime pay calculations also differ by province.

Leave Entitlements 

All Canadian employees are entitled to sick leave, annual vacation, and parental leave. Federally regulated industries offer 10 days of paid sick leave, while provincial regulations vary. Annual vacation typically ranges from two to four weeks, with similar variations across provinces. Parental leave benefits are generous, with federally regulated industries offering 15 weeks of paid maternity leave and additional parental leave options.

Statutory Benefits

Employers in Canada must provide mandatory statutory benefits like the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for retirement (except in Quebec, where the Quebec Pension Plan applies) and Employment Insurance for unemployment. Provincial health insurance and workers' compensation are also mandatory.

Termination and Severance

Termination rules differ significantly by industry and province. Federally regulated industries require two weeks' notice or pay in lieu of notice for termination without just cause, with severance pay amounting to a minimum of five days' wages for each year of employment. Provincial regulations can be more or less generous with notice periods and severance.

Probationary Periods and Retirement

Probationary periods are common, typically lasting three to six months. Employers can include termination clauses within these periods. The retirement age in Canada is 65, but employees can continue working and contributing to the CPP until they are 71.

Compliance Risks When Hiring Employees in Canada

If you are a US company hiring Canadian employee, you must adhere to several key compliance factors to ensure legal and smooth operations like:

Labor laws

Understanding Canadian labor laws is crucial to ensuring compliance with regulations regarding working hours, wages, and employee rights. Each province in Canada has its own set of employment standards that US companies must familiarize themselves with to avoid any legal issues.

Tax withholding

Taxation is another critical aspect to consider when you hire employees internationally. US companies must understand the tax implications for both the employer and the employee, including income tax, social security contributions, and other deductions. Failure to withhold taxes correctly can lead to penalties and legal complications.

Immigration regulations

Depending on the nature of the employment, a work permit or visa may be required for the Canadian employee to work legally in the US. Understanding the intricacies of immigration law is essential to avoid potential legal barriers and ensure a smooth transition for the employee.

Gloroots offers comprehensive Employer of Record (EOR) solutions designed to streamline the hiring process and mitigate compliance risks for US companies hiring Canadian employees. Leverage our expertise in navigating labor laws, tax withholding, and immigration regulations, ensuring a smooth and legally compliant hiring experience for your organization.

Hire Canadian Employees Compliantly with Gloroots

Building a diverse workforce with qualified Canadian talent can significantly benefit US companies. Gloroots, as a leading EOR provider, can simplify the process of streamlining and allow companies can tap into this valuable talent pool while eliminating risks around compliance while hiring Canadian employees for US company. Spanning 140+ countries, our EOR services are adaptable to businesses of all sizes and industries. Enjoy a range of services including streamlined onboarding, seamless payroll management, regulatory compliance, global compliance, and reliable benefits administration with strict adherence to labor laws. Our transparent approach ensures timely payroll processing and expert guidance on international employment laws, while automated payroll features simplify management for distributed teams.

For a seamless and legally compliant hiring experience, reach out to us at Gloroots

Let us guide you through the intricacies of cross-border hiring and help you build a successful, global workforce.


1. What documents are required for a Canadian to work in the US?

Canadian employees working in the US typically require a work permit or visa, such as an H-1B visa or TN visa, depending on the nature of their employment. Additionally, they may need to provide supporting documents such as a job offer letter, proof of qualifications, and evidence of financial stability.

2. What is the benefit of leveraging Gloroots as an EOR for hiring a Canadian employee in the US?

Gloroots provides expertise in navigating compliance requirements such as labor laws, tax withholding, and immigration regulations, ensuring a smooth and legally compliant hiring process for US companies. By partnering with Gloroots, companies can streamline their hiring operations and focus on their core business objectives.

3. What are the tax implications of hiring a Canadian employee?

The tax implications of hiring a Canadian employee in the US include income tax withholding, social security contributions, and other deductions required by both federal and state authorities. US companies must understand and comply with these tax obligations to avoid penalties and legal complications.

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