The two countries of Canada and the United States have establishes rules and process for people from other countries to work for remuneration in their country. This affects our activity. The applicable legislation is clearly set out and the penalties and consequences for non-compliance can be severe. Over the past 10+ years attempts have been made to streamline the requirements in both Canada and the United States. To date these have been unsuccessful.

The Ontario Square & Round Dance Federation initially prepared two excellent Information Sheets on these subjects. These are now being maintained updated and managed by the CSRDS.

If you are a club or organization contemplating hiring or a caller/cuer/leader from the US to work in Canada it would be to your benefit to review the Information Guideline on "Work Permits for Callers/Cuers/Leaders Entering Canada" .
See the Citizenship & Immigrqation Canada website at  and review at least the following pdf files 
    * Guide [IMM 5487]
    * Application for Work Permit [IMM 1295]
    * Document Checklist [IMM 5488]
See the Human Resources website at  
and review for information 
    * 'If you are an employer' and 
    * their 'Application Forms'

 If you are a caller/cuer/leader contemplating entry into the US for work in this capacity at a dance/convention it is recommended you review the Information Guideline on "Work Permits for Entering the United States".

Work Permits for Callers/Cuers/Leaders Entering Canada

1. Since the mid-1980s, a number of attempts have been made to work out a "cultural exchange" program to give more freedom to both Canadian and American callers/cuers/leaders to cross the border and entertain dancers.  Callerlab in the U.S. and the Canadian Square and Round Dance Society in Canada have worked jointly on the problem, but so far without success.  In the meantime, most of the Associations in Canada which hold large annual conventions (e.g. T&D, MASDA, Lakehead, Manitoba, etc.) have accepted the need to treat each convention as a separate event, and to follow Government regulations for hiring nonresident callers/cuers/leaders.

2. Club or Associations wishing to hire American callers/cuers/leaders for local dance conventions or club teaching programs should not consider that hiring can be done without following Government rules.  The square dance movement and callers/cuers/leaders have no exemptions from Government requirements.  Both the person hired and the hiring organization may be subject to prosecution and severe penalties, if the rules are not followed and if any complaint should be laid by any individual concerning the event.

Hiring a Nonresident Caller/Cuer/Leader for a Special Event
3. Nonresident callers/cuers/leaders coming to Canada to call or cue for pay must ultimately obtain work permits under Section 18(1) of the Immigration Regulations, issued by the Canada Immigration Centre of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. However, initial contact and application is made with local office of Human Resources Development Canada. Once the employment validation/application has been approved, Immigration Canada process the Work Permit.

4. Entry into Canada for a caller/cuer/leader can be aided greatly by advance preparation by the hiring organization and working closely with the office of Human Resources Development Canada closest to the site of the dance or convention.  Typically this involves advanced warning to with the particulars of the incoming caller/cuer/leader and the employing organization and obtaining the details of the requirements for an application for an employment validation.  There is nothing that smoothes the way as much as personal contact with the Human Resources Centre.  All information should be honest and above board.  All information required and questions asked should be answered honestly.

5. Once a Confirmation of Employment has been obtained, as a general rule, the following steps are necessary:
 a) A contract with the hired person should be formalized in writing.  The hired person should have a copy of the contract when he or she arrives at the border, plus a copy of the Confirmation of Employment from Immigration Canada;

 b) The hiring organization should notify Immigration Canada of the name and address of the hired person, the port of entry, and the time (or intended time) of arrival.  The hiring organization should note that the person is being employed to call/cue/lead at a dance and specify the date and location of the dance.  A copy of the contract with the hired person should be provided to Immigration Canada.  The hiring organization should also state that it is a not for profit organization incorporated under the laws of Ontario as a club, association, or federation (the Organization Registration Number may have to be provided).  If the dance organization in not incorporated, it may be necessary to involve an association or the Federation in the process to provide an incorporated protection umbrella;

 c) Upon arrival at the border, the hired person should present a copy of the contract and copies of any covering correspondence sent to Immigration Canada by the hiring organization.  The hired person should pay the entry fee to obtain a work permit, sign it, and proceed to their destination.  The hiring organization and the hired person should agree upon who ultimately pays the entry fee;

Hiring a Nonresident Caller/Cuer/Leader for a Season
6) The procedure for hiring a nonresident caller/cuer/leader for a season is somewhat more elaborate.   Human Resources Development Canada must be satisfied that no Canadian is qualified and available to do the job.  Verification of these points usually requires the support of the area association.

7. The recommended procedure is as follows:
 a) Meet with Human Resources staff to find out what their requirements are, and to outline what you are planning and why - see below

b) Establish club requirements for the caller/cuer/leader, i.e. selection criteria;

 c) Contact callers/cuers/leaders in the local association and beyond, as appropriate, to determine which callers/cuers/leaders are available to call/cue/lead on a regular basis or for specific dates;

 d) Advertise and receive and evaluate replies and come to a decision as to the caller/cuer/leader desired and the reasons or rational why.

 e) Complete the Information Sheet and meet with Human Resources staff with the information and request an employment validation and a visa/work permit be issued;

 f) Human Resources staff may request a letter from the local association stating that there are no Canadian callers/cuers/leaders available and that they have no objection to hiring an American person.  A similar letter from the local caller's/cuer's association (if any) may also be required.

 g) It may be decided not to process the application until close to the beginning of the period, in case a Canadian should become available.  The club may have to emphasize the need for advertising and planning in advance, issuing flyers, and schedules, etc. to have the visa application processed in the spring or summer;

 h) When the visa is issued, a copy should be given to the American caller/cuer/leader who must present it to the Immigration Centre office and pay the required fee.  It may be desirable to have the visa issued for a full year to cover special events beyond regular dances, e.g. "up to five hours per week for fifty weeks"; and,

 i) A separate visa is required for each year, and must be substantiated the same way as the first application.

The following is an excerpt of material obtained from Human Resources Development Canada in August, 1998

Foreign Worker Request / Assessment of Job Offer
General Information

The information required is to enable this Department to assess the request for permission to hire a foreign worker.  Please ensure that al information is provided as the request will be assessed solely on the information in the submission.  Please be advised that the submission of the information does not imply the request will be approved, only that it will be given a fair and impartial assessment. The request may be faxed to our office in order to expedite matters.  The average processing time for a response to a request is approx. four (4) weeks from the receipt of all information.

The policy of the federal government is to ensure, to every possible extent, that job and career opportunities are protected for Canadian citizens and permanent residents (Canadians) - 'Canadians First Policy'. Employment validations will be issued only when it will not adversely affect employment and career opportunities of Canadians or when there are significant benefits attached to recruitment of a foreign worker.

Generally, the only acceptable reasons for validating an employment authorization for a foreign worker are:
. when the position is a skilled shortage occupation;
. when the company will utilize the skills and expertise of the foreign worker to provide direct training for employees;
. when the foreign worker will be introducing new skills or technology into the local labour market;
. when the foreign worker will be directly responsible for creating or maintaining jobs for Canadians;
. when the expertise of the foreign worker will improve the ability of a Canadian Company to compete in the international marketplace.

It is the responsibility of the Employer to recruit locally or nationwide for any job vacancy which a Canadian or permanent resident can adequately perform.  The Employment Counselor WILL NOT issue an employment validation for a foreign worker for a job vacancy in positions where a Canadian or permanent resident can learn the job adequately in a period of one year or less.

Where advertising is required you have to provide proof of recent recruiting efforts - usually relates to a caller/leader required for a full season.  This advertising (to attract Canadians) may be required for a period of up to two months locally (and nationally). The conditions of employment, salary, qualifications may not be reduced for a foreign worker.

An assessment of a job offer must contain in writing:
1. Complete name, address, phone number of the business; also place of work.  Attach articles of incorporation, if applicable.
2. Job Title and complete hob description, including the day to day activities of the prospective worker.
3. Essential qualifications required for the position offered e.g.. education, experience, specialized skills, certification or licensing etc.
4. Details of work schedule and exact wage or salary offered including any benefits or other methods or remuneration.
5. Number of employees currently employed in this position and number of employees presently on staff and occupational titles.
6. Proof of recruiting efforts, both internally and externally.  Copies of ads and billings, resumes received, names of applicants and the reasons they may not have been deemed suitable are required. Ads must contain the full job description, the job requirements (qualifications required), the salary and must also request a resume from applicants. They are happy to review proposed ads and advise of any questions before the ads are placed.
7. Duration of the job, is it temporary or permanent.
8. Number of employees which will be affected by the hiring of a foreign worker - number to be trained.
9. Long and short-term benefits derived by both the company and the local labour market by the hiring of a foreign worker.  Number of employees hired or trained, financial benefit to the firm, increase in export potential et.
10. Details of the company's activities e.g.. type of industry, goods manufactured or description of services, etc.
12. Name, complete home mailing address, date of birth, country of birth of foreign worker as well as the prospective foreign worker's complete resume.

Foreign Worker Information Sheet

Employer / Company Name:  see attached information on the organization and its executive 
Revenue Canada Tax #:
Foreign Worker's Name: ____________________   _______________ 
Foreign Worker's Home Mailing Address:  ___________________________________ 
Sex:   _________ 
Country & Place of Birth:  ________________________
Date of Birth:   ____________________________ 
Job Description:

Job Requirements (Qualifications):

Duration (Dates from .. to ..):  ________________________ 
Salary:   see attached contract(s)
Immigration Processing At:
Point of Arrival to Canada?  _____________________________
Flight #:  __________________________________ 
Airline & Terminal #:  __________________________ 
Date & Time of Arrival:   ________________________ 

Point of Departure from Canada? 
Flight:  ____________________    Airline:   ____________________ 
Date & Time:  ____________________ 


Dear Sirs:
The following is a list of U.S. Citizens for whom we are requesting a Validation of Offer of Employment to a Foreign Worker:

1. List Employee Name
Place and Country of Birth
Social Security #:
Point of Entry Information: (what airport or city, if driving; airline & flight number; date & time)
Point of Departure Information: (similar categories of information as above)
Home Mailing Address:

2. Employee Name

Signed by ...

. Attach a list of the group Executive and contracts.

. Also attach a letter setting out something like the following example:

Human Resources Development Canada

Dear Sirs:
Further details regarding our request of Validation of Offer of Employment to a Foreign Worker:

The Employer:
The ... Association or Club is a not-for-profit organization that was formed and established to promote square & round dancing. It provides for ...  (the exchange of philosophy and material to improve the quality of dancing, teaching of the dance and all-round enjoyment of dancing and to provide a link to other Districts, National and International Square & Round Dance Associations).
The members currently meet  .... (eg. weekly, once a month, etc)  from September to April/May at ....... (location).

The Job:
The callers/leaders being hired from the United States are Square Dance Callers and Round Dance Leaders.

They will be required to prompt the dancers through difficult choreography for both square and round dancing with "split-second" decisions as to what interesting choreography they will use next.  The choreography must be smooth and well-timed.  Only callers/leaders with years of practice are able to do this very well.  The skills required for each event depend solely on the desires of the Employer on behalf of the dancers in each area and we try to hire different callers/leaders each year that will bring the most pleasure to the dancers attending the event.  The whole pleasure of the dance is the ability to dance to different callers and round dance leaders and experience their unique presentation of the required dance moves.

These callers/leaders will be receiving  .... (describe the salary) for approximately ... hours work. They will be working at ... (describe the location of the dance), beginning on ... (date and time) and ending on..  (date & time). Their hours of work are interspersed or shared with the use of many "Ontario" callers/leaders who will then be able to obtain experience working at an event of this size.  In this way, visiting dancers from ... to ... might hear our callers/leaders as they improve in their abilities, and may wish to hire them at an event they are presenting in their dance areas.

A different group of callers/leaders fro around ... (North America, Ontario, etc.) are hired each year to maximize the dancers enjoyment at this event.

Efforts to Recruit Canadians:
The Association/Club have hired callers/leaders from across Canada, Ontario (or whatever) over a period of ... years.  Of course, the number of callers/leaders available and qualified to do the job varies and this year we have hired ... (# hired) Canadians to complement the total staff. We have, of course, taken into consideration other canadians that we have not hired, but many who were considered this year, and not chosen, will be hired in subsequent years.  We look at the individual abilities of each caller/leader and try to bring various "styles" of calling and singing together for each Convention/Dance. Callers/leaders with similar styles hired together would not maximize enjoyment to the dancers.

Benefits to Canada:
More dancer attend our event because we bring in highly qualified callers/leaders to the event. This provides our organization with necessary funds to promote square & round dancing in Ontario/our area; more particularly ... (describe the area). This is the area that our organization draws its membership from.
Dancers from outside the area also come early or stay after the dancing event and Sight-see throughout the area.  This provides benefits to our local economy outside of the square & round dance movement.

... (signature)

This Information was prepared initially by the Board of Directors of the Ontario Square and Round Dance Federation and is now being managed by the CSRDS.  It is intended only as a guide for dancers, club executives and other organizations  to help them "get started" in handling the administrative details of a square dance organization.  The information was considered correct at the time of publication.  Suggestions or changes are welcomed by the CSRDS and should be sent to the Webmaster.  This Information Sheet is made available on the clear understanding that neither the CSRDS, Ontario Federation, or their Boards of Directors, or its staff can be held responsible for the consequences arising from the use of this information.

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Work Permits for Entering the United States

The United States requires work permits for foreign workers (which includes Canadian callers, cuers, and leaders) to work temporarily in the United States.  This is similar to Canadian requirements which require work permits for Americans to work in Canada. A separate Information Sheet deals with hiring American callers, cuers, or leaders to work in Canada.  This one deals with Canadians wishing to work in the United States.

There are no special provisions or exemptions for callers, cuers, or leaders wishing to work for pay in the United States.  Canadian callers, cuers, or leaders wishing to be employed in the United States must comply with the regulations of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.  "Cultural" activities were excluded from the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement so there is no avenue open in that direction.

Obtaining a Temporary Work Permit for the United States
The Embassy of the United States, a United States Information Office, or a United States port of entry are best places for advice and forms for obtaining a temporary work permit for the United States.  A typical information paper is attached.  The most likely category for the work permit would be "H-2", which states:    H-2 for persons who desire to enter the United States temporarily to perform temporary services or labor, if employed persons capable of performing such service of labor cannot be found in the United States.

Note the wording carefully about service or labour for which no American can be found. This is a very tough sell, especially if an American thinks he or she should have the job. It only takes one person to bring down the wrath of the Immigration Authorities.  Once a person is caught breaking the United States laws, his or her name is entered into a computer database which is checked regularly for violators.  The best advice to clubs or callers, cuers, or leaders in this matter is to check carefully and make sure all proper documents have been obtained and followed to the letter of the law.

NOTE:  For quite detailed information see the "Guide for Canadian Performing Artists Entering the United States", (  by Canada Department of Foreign Affairs & International Trade web site - look under Publications .

This Information was prepared initially by the Board of Directors of the Ontario Square and Round Dance Federation and is now being managed by the CSRDS.  It is intended only as a guide for dancers, club executives and other organizations  to help them "get started" in handling the administrative details of a square dance organization.  The information was considered correct at the time of publication.  Suggestions or changes are welcomed by the CSRDS and should be sent to the Webmaster.  This Information Sheet is made available on the clear understanding that neither the CSRDS, Ontario Federation, or their Boards of Directors, or its staff can be held responsible for the consequences arising from the use of this information.

Additions and clarification on these Guidelines are always welcomed. 

©1998-2004 Canadian Square & Round Dance Society. All rights reserved