Canada’s student-friendly work policies are amongst one of the major reasons international students choose Canada as their study destination.
Many international students opt for working while studying to earn an income, as well as to gain valuable Canadian work experience to support their professional growth. There are many work opportunities available to eligible international students, including on-campus employment, off-campus jobs, co-ops, and internships.
International students do not need a work permit to work while they study. They are eligible to work in Canada provided that there aren’t any restrictions on their study permit.
Typically, international students can work while studying if they are enrolled as a full-time post-secondary student in a Designated Learning Institution that is over 6 months in duration and leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
Eligible international students can work up to 20 hours per week during a regular academic session and full-time during regularly scheduled breaks between academic sessions, such as the summer break. Students cannot start their employment before their studies begin, and require a work permit to resume employment once their study program ends and their study permit expires.
Students are ineligible to work if they are:
- Only enrolled in an English or French as a second language (ESL) program
- Only taking general interest courses
- Only taking courses required to be accepted into a full-time program
- Only enrolled as a part-time student, or
- Have any other restrictions specified on their study permit
The eligibility criteria and requirements may change over time. Please refer to the Government of Canada website for the most up-to-date information about studying and working in Canada as an international student.
“On-campus” refers to all the buildings and offices on the school premises. Full-time students can work on-campus if their study permit indicates that they’re allowed to work on- or off-campus. Specific employment opportunities depend on the institution, but most schools offer on-campus employment with the library, the book store, administration, print services, food services, in the writing centre, or even as a student tutor. For most up-to-date information on which students are eligible to work on-campus, please visit the Government of Canada website for Work On-Campus.
International students can join the Canadian workforce while studying on a part-time basis if there are no work restrictions on their study permit. For most up-to-date information on student eligibility for off-campus employment, please visit the Government of Canada website for Work Off-Campus.
Co-ops and Internships
Some study programs include work experience as part of their curriculum, which is known as a co-op placement or internship. International students can take advantage of these work placements by getting a co-op or intern work permit. Note that some employers also offer unpaid internships as a way to gain work experience.
For most up-to-date information on whether a student is eligible for co-op or intern work permit, please visit the Government of Canada website.