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Can Canadians work remotely for US employers?

Work from home has become the norm for many. But what to do when the remote worker’s employer is south of the border? Can a British Columbia person work remotely for a company in the United States? 

Reasons for companies employing Canadians

Residents of British Columbia and other provinces and territories in Canada can accept legal employment from a U.S. company. It is not unusual and has been done for many years. However, Canadians who worked for U.S. companies typically worked and lived in the United States. Why would companies employ Canadians in this time of lockdowns and social distancing?

One of the reasons is capitalizing on the lower hiring costs due to the exchange rate advantages. U.S. firms might seek the services of a Canadian with unique skills. Furthermore, many firms found their business operations continued faultlessly with remote workers while saving office space expenses. If they decide not to go back to their traditional on-site employees, Canadian workers need not live and work in the United States because they can work remotely from their Canadian homes.

Do remote workers need work visas?

Previously, British Columbia workers who lived and worked in the United States needed work visas. Working remotely from a base in Canada removes the need for such a visa. However, remote workers are advised to learn about the effect of cross-border remote employment on income taxes.

Freelancers and full-time workers in British Columbia must report annual income to the Canada Revenue Agency, regardless of the origin of the funds. Remote workers might have questions about deductions like U.S. taxes, retirement plans and other benefits. It is the worker’s responsibility to obtain the necessary documentation and forms to complete, and those affected will want to ensure they protect themselves from liability.