Saskatchewan is known worldwide for its hunting and angling experiences. In recent years, Saskatchewan has experienced an increased interest in the outfitting industry. As a result, outfitting opportunities for hunting big game and migratory birds, as well as angling, are currently fully allocated in Saskatchewan. This means that there are limited opportunities for non-resident outfitters to enter the Saskatchewan outfitting industry. One of the ways non-resident outfitters can provide hunting and angling outfitting services in Saskatchewan is to purchase an existing Saskatchewan outfitting business. This blog post will discuss two conditions that a non-resident purchaser may want to consider including in the purchase and sale agreement: first, that the purchaser is issued an outfitter’s licence; and second, that the purchaser is issued a work permit. This blog post will also discuss an immigration-related exemption specific to non-residents seeking entry into Canada to provide outfitting services.

  1. The Issuance of an Outfitter’s Licence

A person cannot act as an outfitter in Saskatchewan without a valid outfitter’s licence issued by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment (the “Ministry“). Importantly, an outfitter’s licence is not transferrable. As such, in the context of the purchase and sale of an outfitting business, the seller must surrender its outfitter’s licence to the Ministry, and the purchaser must concurrently apply to the Ministry for an outfitter’s licence. The Ministry has discretion whether or not to issue an outfitter’s licence to the purchaser. As such, the purchaser of an existing Saskatchewan outfitting business may want to consider including a condition in the purchase and sale agreement that the purchaser be issued an outfitter’s licence. The content of the condition will vary depending upon all the circumstances.

  1. The Issuance of a Work Permit

A non-resident seeking entry into Canada to provide outfitting services requires legal authorization to work in Canada in the outfitting industry. As such, a non-resident purchaser of an existing Saskatchewan outfitting business may also want to consider making the purchase and sale agreement conditional upon the purchaser being issued a work permit by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“).

  1. An Immigration-Related Exemption

In general, IRCC issues work permits to non-residents on the basis of a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“). However, there is an exemption specific to non-residents seeking entry into Canada to provide outfitting services, and their spouses, that waives the LMIA requirement. In assessing whether a non-resident is eligible for this exemption, IRCC considers several business structure factors and whether there will be a significant benefit to Canada by issuing the work permit.

Importantly, if a non-resident purchaser of an existing Saskatchewan outfitting business does not qualify for this exemption, he or she may not be issued a work permit by IRCC, and therefore not be permitted to provide outfitting services in Canada. As such, non-resident outfitters are encouraged to speak with a legal professional about the purchase of an existing Saskatchewan outfitting business to assist in structuring the transaction and facilitating the work permit and LMIA exemption application process.