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Work in Canada as a Student

Updated: December 20th, 2022

Studying in Canada offers a great opportunity for anyone wanting a world-class education while also earning money and gaining valuable work experience. Whether you choose to work on-campus at your university or college or off-campus, international students in Canada have the incredible option of doing both without needing a Canadian work visa. Here's how you can work in Canada as a student. 

New Student Working Hour Allowances Announced

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that there will be a temporary lift in the current work hour restrictions placed on international students in Canada. As it stands, international students that are authorized to work off campus are currently allowed to do so for less than 20 hours per week, this number will now grow to 40 hours per week. According to Sean Fraser, Canada's minister for immigration, this has given international students a far greater ability to support themselves while studying.

Work on-Campus

Girl-in-library-ordering-books | work-in-canada-while-studying

Working without a permit is offered to full-time students at a public post-secondary institution such as a college, university, or a private post-secondary institution operating under the same rules and regulations as a public institution. You must have a valid study permit and a SIN (Social Insurance Number) to qualify and will only be able to start working in Canada as an international student once your study program has officially begun. You can work for any of the following employers: 

Work for the The School

  • a faculty member;
  • a student organization;

Work for Yourself, if:

  • you run a business that is physically located on-campus (for example you own a coffee shop that is located on campus)

Work for a Private Business:

  • a private contractor that provides on-campus services to the school

Work off-Campus

As a study permit holder, you can work up to 40 hours per week. You will, however, need to ensure that you meet the following requirements: 

You’re a full-time student at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI);

You’re enrolled in;

  • a post-secondary program or
  • a secondary-level vocational training program (Quebec only)

Your study program;

  • is at least 6 months long and
  • leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate

Your study permit says, in the user remarks or conditions sections, that you can work off-campus;

You’ve started studying; and

You have a SIN

If you are a part-time student you must meet all of the above-mentioned criteria and ensure that you are in your final semester and do not have a full course load. 

Working off-campus as an intern can give you valuable experience in your field of interest.

Work as an Intern

Some academic programs require that you gain work experience as part of the curriculum. In this case, you will need to apply for a work permit as well as a study permit. To qualify, you will need to make sure that your intended employment is an essential part of your study program and you must obtain a certified letter from a responsible academic official of the institution. Unfortunately, you will not qualify if you study English or French as a second language (ESL or FSL) and if you participate in general interest or preparatory courses.

Help Your Spouse Find a Job While You Study

Canada has also made it possible to bring your spouse or common-law partner along for your journey while you study in Canada. If you are a full-time student with a valid study permit at a public post-secondary institution or private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution, you may qualify. Your partner will have access to an open work permit, which means that they do not need a job offer to work in Canada. Your partner will have the opportunity to apply for a job in Canada and work for as long as your study permit remains valid.  

Can I Stay on and Work in Canada Once I've Graduated?

Yes. There are 2 main ways to do this:

  • Apply for a work permit or post-graduation work permit (PGWP) before your study permit ends (you can continue to work while you're waiting for your application results); or
  • Start a new study program.

Popular Jobs in Canada for International Students

On-Campus Jobs with Wages Per Hour

Top-on-campus-jobs-in-canada-plus-wages-per-hour-infographic | Work in Canada as a Student

Off-Campus Jobs with Wages Per Hour

Top-off-campus-jobs-in-canada-plus-wages-per-hour-infographic | Work in Canada as a Student

How to Find Work in Canada as a Student

Before you can start applying for student jobs in Canada you must first prepare a few things that Canadian employers will ask for, like your social insurance number, for starters. 

Step 1: Get a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

If you want to work in Canada as a student you need a nine-digit SIN. You can apply for a SIN online at no charge by providing the documents below. It’s important to keep your SIN safe to avoid identity theft. Only provide your SIN when you know it’s legally required.

What International Students Need to Get a SIN in Canada

  • A copy of your study permit issued by IRCC that’s supported by a ‘confirmation to work off campus’ letter;
  • A copy of your passport; and
  • A copy of a proof of address.

Step 2: Open a Bank Account

man-with-bank-card-shopping-online | Work in Canada as a Student

Opening a bank account is one of the first things you should do when you come to Canada as a student. You’ll need a safe place to keep and access the money you earn, and the great news is that a number of Canadian banks offer student bank accounts with little to no monthly fees as well as free transactions and transfers. Here are five banks in Canada that are great for international students:

Bank of Montreal
Royal Bank of Canada

Step 3: Prepare Your Resume

Even if you have no work experience it’s still good to have a resume and cover letter that focuses on your education and skills and your willingness to learn and grow. You can also mention any extracurricular activities or volunteer work. If you do have work experience obtained in your home country it will be helpful to add a reference section or even better, a recommendation letter from your previous employer. 

Step 4: Search for Jobs Online, On-Campus, or at Local Shops Nearby

irtual-search-bar-with-touchscreen-element |  Work in Canada as a Student

Many international students who work in Canada find part-time, freelance, and holiday jobs online through job sites like Indeed and Workopolis. You can also check your college or universities’ social media for career pages just like the University of Toronto Student Life Programs & Services Facebook page that posts job opportunities for students.

Another option is to look around and ask at your local coffee shop or grocery store for job vacancies if you don’t want to travel too far. Word of mouth is still a powerful way to find jobs nowadays. Ask your friends if they know of any opportunities at their place of work or if they’ve seen anything that you can apply for.

Finding a job on-campus is even better, for proximity reasons and it looks great on your resume especially if you can land a job as a research assistant or peer tutor. You can consult the different departments at your college that hire students or advertise your tutoring services on notice boards around campus.

Step 5: Apply for a Co-op Work Permit if Your Internship is Mandatory

If your study program includes a required Co-op or internship placement in order to be able to graduate then you’ll need to apply for a co-op work permit. You can apply for your work permit at the same time as your study permit as long as your acceptance letter states that a Co-op or internship is mandatory to complete your study program. It’s possible to apply for a Co-op after you have already obtained your study visa in Canada. Unfortunately, you will not qualify if you study English or French as a second language (ESL or FSL) and if you participate in general interest or preparatory courses.

Working in Canada as a student can be rewarding in many different ways. Not only does it allow you to earn wages, but the work experience you obtain while studying is also invaluable to your future career. Ready to start your journey? Simply fill in the form below and let us help you navigate your way to a better, brighter future.   


Can I be self-employed while studying in Canada?

You can own your business or be self-employed while you are studying in Canada. However, even if you’re self-employed, you still have to keep track of your off-campus working hours. You have to demonstrate that you're following the terms of your study permit.

Any time you spend collecting a commission for performing a service, selling a product or receiving payment for a service is counted as ‘work time’ and cannot exceed 20 hours.

Can I work full time in Canada during academic breaks?

International students can only work 20 hours per week while on a study permit. However, during your winter or summer breaks, you can work full time. You must have been a full-time student before and after your employment to stay within the conditions of your study visa. That means you can’t work before you start your first school semester.

Can I have more than one job as a student in Canada?

During academic semesters, you can have more than one job. For example, you can be a tutor, and work at a café or be a delivery driver, all at the same time, but it must all be part-time. That is, the accumulative time you work cannot exceed 20 hours a week.

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