The Canada International Co-op Program

So, you want to join the Canada International Co-op? That's fantastic! This opportunity might just be the key to unlocking your true potential. But what exactly is this program, and how does it work? Well, you're about to find out.

The Canada International Co-op, part of the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, is an initiative that allows students from IEC countries to gain hands-on experience working in Canada. It's a fascinating journey of professional growth and cultural immersion. IEC Canada is a program that helps young people from select countries get the opportunity to live and work in Canada for up to 2 years through either the International Co-op program, the Young professionals program or the Working Holiday program.

Think of it as a wonderful adventure that propels you into a world of learning, networking, and personal development. It's not only about working in Canada; it's about growing in Canada.

What is the IEC Canada International Co-op Program?

international experience canada program

The IEC Canada International Co-op Program is more than a work placement opportunity. It's an immersive experience that opens doors to personal and professional growth. To truly appreciate the program, you need to understand its nuances.

The program is designed to facilitate international experience through work. It is designed for students who wish to obtain work experience related to their field of study in Canada. To be eligible for the IEC International Co-Op work permit, candidates must have a valid job offer in Canada before their arrival and work for the same employer in the same location during their stay in Canada. The maximum validity of the permit is 12 months, with some exceptions for participants from Australia, Portugal, and Switzerland.

The type of work permit you get in the International Co-Op (Internship) category is an employer-specific work permit. The internship you're offered in Canada must be directly linked to your field of study.

The program also provides cultural exchange. You'll have the chance to immerse yourself in the Canadian culture, learn about its customs and traditions, and form lasting connections with locals.

IEC helps build a strong professional network. It's an invaluable opportunity to establish meaningful contacts that will benefit you throughout your career. You'll be able to connect with key professionals in the industry and build a network that will open doors for you in the future.

The IEC Canada International Co-op Program is not restricted to one field or industry. Whether you're an IT whiz, a budding marketer, an aspiring engineer, or a passionate environmentalist, there's a place for you in the program.

The program is not just about working. It's a cultural exchange, a chance to immerse yourself in the Canadian way of life, understand their values, and form lasting connections. An International Co-op work permit, is not the same as a normal Canadian work permit. Learn more about Canadian Work permits.

Eligibility Criteria for the Canada International Co-op

Eligibility Criteria for the Canada International Co-op

Now that you're excited about the Canada International Co-op, let's discuss eligibility. Not everyone can apply, so knowing if you fit the bill is important.

To be eligible for the IEC International Co-op work permit, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen of one of the participating countries.
  • Be between 18 and 35 years old (age eligibility varies by country).
  • Have a job offer for a work placement or internship in Canada classified as National Occupational Classification (NOC) Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibility (TEER) level 0, 1, 2, or 3 (if you provide a post-secondary credential).
  • Be a student currently studying at a post-secondary school in your country, and the Canadian internship offer must be part of your studies curriculum.
  • The eligibility criteria for the IEC International Co-op work permit vary by country, and the maximum validity of the work permit also varies. 
The countries participating in the IEC International Co-op program are as follows: 
International Co-op Eligible Countries
Andorra Australia Austria Belgium
Chile Costa Rica Croatia Czech Republic
Denmark Estonia France Germany
Greece Hong Kong Ireland Italy
Japan Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg
Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Norway
Poland Portugal San Marino Slovakia
Slovenia South Korea Spain Sweden
Switzerland Taiwan Ukraine United Kingdom

How to Apply for the Canada International Co-op

international experience canada program

Okay, so you've got the basics down. Now, let's dive into applying for the Canada International Co-op. Don't worry, we'll go step by step.

Step 1: Answer a Few Questions

The first step is to answer a few questions. These questions are designed to determine your eligibility for the program. They're straightforward and require honest responses. This step is crucial because it sets the tone for your application.

Step 2: Complete Your Online IEC Profile

Next, you need to complete your online IEC profile. This is your chance to showcase your skills, qualifications, and enthusiasm for the program. Be precise, be honest, and be confident. This is your story, make sure it shines.

Step 3: Submit Required Documents

Once you've answered the eligibility questions, it's time to submit all the required documents. You'll need proof of your identity, such as your passport and other documents related to your educational background and work experience. Be sure to submit all the required documents on time, or else your application may be rejected.

Step 4: Attend an Interview

After submitting all the necessary documents, you'll be invited for an interview. This is where you show off your skills and make a strong case for why you should be accepted into the program. Prepare for this interview by brushing up on common IEC Canada interview questions and practice answering them out loud. During the interview, you can also research the country and its culture to answer any questions related to Canadian culture confidently.

Step 5: Submit Your Profile

Once your profile is complete, it's time for submission. This step might seem simple, but it's quite significant. By submitting your profile, you're officially entering the pool of candidates. 

After You Apply - Getting an ITA

Submission is not the end of the process. Once you've submitted your profile, you wait for an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Getting an ITA means you've been selected for the program. It's the moment you've been waiting for.

The Canada International Co-op is a path to growth, learning, and global exposure. It's an adventure waiting to happen. So, are you ready to unlock your potential and embark on this journey? Remember, the world is your oyster, and the Canada International Co-op is your pearl. Don't wait, dive in!


Let's address some frequently asked questions about the IEC international co-op.

What is the Duration of the Co-op Program?

The duration can vary, but it's typically up to 24 months, depending on your country.

Can I Extend my Co-op Intern Placement?

Extensions are possible, but they depend on various factors, such as your host employer, your visa, and the regulations of the IEC program.

What Happens After My Co-op Intern Placement Ends?

After your placement ends, you can either return to your home country or explore other options, like applying for a work permit or studying in Canada.