Global Guides

How to Freelance Around the Globe: Canada Edition

By Colton Cox September 24th, 2018

This is the second in a 10-part series of weekly posts on freelancing around the world. The Freelancer chose the top ten most popular countries of residence among contributors in Contently’s talent network, excluding the United States, and researched visa requirements, tax regulations, and other useful information for freelancers considering a move.

There’s nothing like the flexibility that comes with freelancing. Ease of movement, even migration, make it an appealing career choice for millions of workers around the globe. And the world is starting to notice. In some cases, visas are being established for short-term or contingent work, and there are countless blogs to assist newbies who’ve just entered the freelance workforce.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that moving to a new country is without its fair share of paperwork and general head-scratching. But never fear, The Freelancer is here to help. This week we’ll explore freelancing in the land of loonies, maple syrup, and moose. Here’s how to make work work in Canada.freelance canada

Tech freelancers rule the north

Recent estimates from Statistics Canada put the freelance population at about two million. Web developers and IT specialists are among the most sought-after talent, according to FlexJobs. But marketing, financial analysis, radio production, and translation are also having a moment. Interesting fact: While “freelancer” is the most commonly used term among English-speaking Canadians, French speakers say pigiste or the very fancy-sounding le travailleur indépendant.

Visa requirements for freelancers in Canada

The Canadian Self-employed Program offers a path of entry for freelancers who have at least two years professional experience in art, culture, or sports; this includes editors, journalists, videographers, and designers. You’ll need to pass through a points-based selection criteria, as well. This evaluates candidates based on Education, Experience, Age, Ability in English and/or French, and Adaptability.

If you’re planning to immigrate to Quebec as a freelancer, you’ll be following a different set of guidelines, which also comes with a mandatory financial deposit.

Tax information and resources

As in the US, you can operate as a sole proprietor in Canada and claim expenses on your tax form (called a T2125 form). In certain cases, however, even sole proprietors must register with their province. Based on your income, you may also need to register for a goods and services tax account (GST) or a harmonized sales tax account (HST) and charge the appropriate tax to your clients. All the registration information you’ll need is on the Canadian Revenue Agency website.

Purchasing insurance as a freelancer

Regardless of where you work, you should insure your freelance business for liabilities and lawsuits, including Professional Indemnity Insurance and Public Liability Insurance. For information about which coverage you’ll need, check out the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

You can find medical coverage through a variety of freelance organizations. For example, the Canadian Media Guild has partnered with a not-for-profit insurance company, AFBS Writers’ Coalition Program, to offer two national health programs to self-employed workers.

Moving your freelance business, even if it’s just a few hours north, is no small thing. Before you strap on those skis and grab the hot cocoa, be sure to consult with an immigration lawyer or similar specialist. And send us a postcard, eh?

*Please note that Contently and The Freelancer do not offer legal advice, and those who are interested in freelancing internationally should complete their own due diligence, including research of visa laws, consultations with lawyers and consulates, and advice from other freelancers working in the area. This guide to International Employment from Clyde & Co. is a good place to start.

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