It is possible to work in Canada while you are here as a student, and there are opportunities for jobs on and off campus. You will need to apply.
1. Working on campus
You may work on campus at the institution where you study without a work permit if:
- you are a full-time student at:
- a public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university
- a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees and
- you have a valid study permit.
2. Working off campus
The Off-Campus Work Permit Program allows certain foreign students to work off campus while completing their studies. To qualify, you must be a full-time student enrolled at a participating publicly funded post-secondary educational institution or in an approved program at an eligible privately funded institution.
Participating publicly funded post-secondary educational institutions:
- are public post-secondary institutions, such as a college or university, or
- are private post-secondary institutions that operate under the same rules and regulations as public institutions, and receive at least 50 percent of their financing for their overall operations from government grants and
- have signed an off-campus work agreement with their provincial or territorial government.
Eligible privately funded post-secondary institutions:
- are located in a province or territory that has signed a memorandum of understanding with CIC
- have signed an off-campus work agreement with their provincial or territorial government and
- have approval from their provincial or territorial government to grant specific degrees.
Please note that not all programs offered by private post-secondary educational institutions qualify. For more information on qualifying programs, contact the eligible institution directly.
See Off campus work permits for a list of participating institutions in the Off-Campus Work Permit Program.
To work off campus, you must apply for a work permit. Do not begin to work off campus until you have received your work permit. The work permit authorizes you to work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and full time during scheduled breaks (for example, winter and summer holidays, and spring break).
A work permit does not guarantee that you will find a job. It is your responsibility to look for work. Even if you work off campus, your studies must be the main reason you are in Canada.
If you are no longer a full-time student or do not maintain satisfactory academic results, you must return your work permit to a local Citizenship and Immigration Canada office.
3. Co-op and internship programs
For some academic programs, work experience is part of the curriculum. Foreign students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit.
4. Working after graduation
If you want to work in Canada after you graduate from your studies, you must apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.
Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience.
A work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years. A Post-Graduation work permit cannot be valid for longer than the student’s study program, and the study program must be a minimum of eight months in length. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit if you meet the criteria. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you would be eligible for a work permit that is valid for no more than eight months.
5. Work available to your spouse or common-law partner
Your spouse or common-law partner may apply for a work permit if:
- you are a full-time student at:
- a public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university or collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec
- a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution, and receives at least 50 percent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants (currently, only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify) or
- a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees
- you have a valid study permit
Work permits for your spouse or common-law partner are valid for the same period of time as your study permit.
Note: Accompanying spouses or common-law partners of foreign students are eligible for an open work permit, which means they do not need a job offer or a labour market opinion from Service Canada.