Can Students Work in Canada?

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Hadeel Hossam

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09 November, 2021

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4 mins read

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So you’ve chosen Canada as your destination to study abroad. What a great choice! Canada is one of the top student destinations in the world. If you have your visa and study permit ready, you are all set for an excellent trip. Still, what if you need extra money while studying in Canada. Can you work as an international student in Canada?

Can Students Work in Canada?

Working while studying in Canada is possible for full-time students in one of the designated learning institutions (DLI) who meet all the eligibility requirements for working on or off-campus. If you are studying remotely due to COVID-19, you can also work remotely in a Canadian work placement or work from your home country with a co-op work permit. You also need to get to know Canadian student visa work restrictions.

1. Working On-Campus

As an international student in Canada, you can only work on-campus once your studies begin. You can’t work before your program’s start date. You are qualified to work on-campus if you’re a full-time student at either a college or university, a private college-level school in Quebec, or a Canadian private school that grants degrees under provincial law. You must also have a valid study permit and a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

What is On-Campus Work in Canada?

On-campus work means you can take a job at any building on your campus, not another campus, even if it’s the same university. You can only work in other locations if you work as a teaching or research assistant or work related to a research grant. 

Your employer can either be the educational institution itself, a faculty member, student organisation, private business, private contractor giving on-campus services or for yourself in a business located on-campus. Your eligibility to work on-campus is null once you stop your full-time study program, your study permit expires, you’re on authorised leave, or you’re in the midst of switching schools.

2. Working Off-Campus

Students can work off-campus without a work permit if they meet certain eligibility requirements. These include:

  • Being a full-time student at a DLI 

  • Your program’s length is at least 6 months or more and leads to a degree or diploma.

  • You have a social insurance number, and your study program has begun

For part-time students, you can be eligible for off-campus work if you meet the same requirements and the reason you’re studying part-time is that you don’t need a full course to complete your program as you’re in your last semester. Also, you are eligible if you were a full-time student in your program in Canada until the last semester. 

On the other hand, You can’t work before you start studying, and whenever you are on authorised leave, you cannot work off-campus until you resume your studies.

  • Working Hours

While the school term or semester is in progress, you can only work for 20 hours per week. However, you are allowed to work full-time when you have a scheduled break from your studies, such as during the summer and winter holidays or fall or spring reading week. Not only that but you are also allowed to work overtime or work two part-time jobs. The only conditions for this are that you are a full-time student both before and after the break and that you don’t work full time before starting the first school semester (freshman year).

  • When Are You Not Eligible to Work Off-Campus?

As a student working in Canada, there are certain situations where you are not allowed to be working full-time such as if your study permit states you are not authorised to work off-campus. You also can’t work off-campus if you are only taking general interest courses, you’re enrolled in an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program, or just taking courses required to be accepted into a full-time program. 

On the other hand, if you used to be uneligible to work off-campus, and your situation changes to match the eligibility requirements, you can apply to change the conditions of your permit. This is applicable if your permit has clearly stated that you’re not permitted to work off-campus, your study program changes to one that allows off-campus work, or there’s a condition on your permit that no longer applies. You would then apply to change the conditions on your study permit for a certain fee before applying for a social insurance number.

Students working together

3. Working In Canada After Graduation

If you complete your study program and still want to work full-time, there are a few ways you can be eligible to do so. First, if you apply for a work permit before your study permit expires, the second way is if you are about to start another study program. If you cannot meet these two requirements, you will have to stop working and leave the country. 

In the case of already applying for a work permit, you can only work full-time after graduation if:

  • You applied before your study permit expired. 

  • You were already eligible for off-campus work during your studies

  • You’re waiting for a decision on your work permit application.

If you’re starting a new study program, you can work full-time if: 

  • You received a confirmation of completing your studies

  • Your study permit is valid or you applied for its extension

  • You were already eligible for off-campus work during your studies

  •  You received a letter of acceptance to a new study program, and you’re starting the new program within 150 calendar days of getting the confirmation that you completed the last study program.

There is another option for working temporarily after you graduate: applying for a Post-graduation work permit (PGWP) or getting to know the other types of work permits in Canada.

Student work in Canada has its rules, and it sure isn't easy to get a work permit. However, when following the right instructions and getting all the correct information, you can easily get it. 


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