Is this considered “working” in the U.S.?

Fall 2014 CSANews Issue 93  |   Posted date : Jan 09, 2015.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
Dear Bird Talk,

My question is about defining working in the U.S. I could ask at the border, but I'm afraid that asking will bring attention to my situation with potential negative fallout.

I am a contractor for a Canadian education company providing services to Canadian businesses only. Within this role, I provide course facilitation to students from all across Canada via online webinars, but it's a Canadian company using a Canadian website and I'm paid in Canadian funds deposited directly into my Canadian account. It's only because it's the Internet that I can work from anywhere and I just happen to be in the U.S. in the winter. Does this mean I'm "working" in the U.S.? The best analogy I can use to illustrate this situation is that someone from CSA will respond to this question. If that person is being paid for their time and happens to be in AZ when they log on and respond to my question – are they then "working" in the U.S.? Any information you can pass on will be greatly appreciated.

Dale from British Columbia

Response:
Ed.: Do NOT talk to the border guards, as they will probably put a flag on your file. Internet commerce is still too new to have firm guidelines and regulations in place. Our CSA lawyer, Wallace Weylie says, “As you will understand, this is a matter of interpretation and is up to the discretion of the individual inspector. In our opinion, this activity should NOT constitute 'working' – the employer is Canadian, the services are provided to persons outside of the U.S., no resident of the U.S. is being deprived of the work and payment is made in Canada. That is the best we can do.”

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