So, you want to work in Canada, eh?
If you really want to take the hard route and draw this process out for months, here is some helpful step-by-step advice.
First, when coming through the border (or Port of Entry as they like to call it, despite the fact that we crossed in Montana and there was no body of water anywhere nearby, so…what the hey?), if the border agent asks you, “Would you like an open work permit? You’re eligible for one based on your husband’s level,” be absolutely sure not to open your mouth as said husband (or fiance, as the case may be) replies, “Oh no, she won’t be needing one.” Give him a confused look, if you like, but do not interject and say, “Yes, please, that would be fantastic!” Under no circumstances should you say anything at all, as this course of action may result in easily obtaining a work permit, thus defeating the goal of making the process a huge PITA.
Second, when you do decide to apply for that work permit after almost a year living in Canada, by all means, go with your gut instinct and apply online because even though that seems like it would be much faster, it actually takes at least twice as long, and usually much, much longer, for some unknown reason. This step is crucial in ensuring a long, tedious process.
Third, when they finally send an e-mail several months later requesting two documents, you should absolutely upload them one at a time. After you upload the first document, the box to upload a document will conveniently disappear, leaving you with no way to upload the second document. You will find that there is no way to contact anyone about this issue. If you complete this step properly, you will extend your wait time and increase your frustration level. Score!
Next, try calling the “contact us” number given on the general website. You will be entertained by very long and very thorough messages that are irrelevant to your situation in both English and French. You’ll then be asked to hold for the next available operator. Wait patiently and you will be rewarded by either a) being cut off summarily, or b) a message informing you that no one can take your call at this time, at which point you’ll be cut off summarily. Repeat this step until you feel like banging your head on your desk or you begin bleeding from the ears. If you’re doing it correctly, you will begin to feel that this is some bizarre form of Canadian hazing or perhaps a test to determine if you really, really, really want to work in Canada.
If however, you wish to actually obtain a work permit in Canada, ignore all of this advice and do the opposite of what I have suggested here.