Working and studying in Canada

As a student, you’re probably looking for ways to earn some extra money to cover your daily expenses, which is why you’ve chosen to work while studying in Canada. This is, fortunately, one of the benefits of studying in Canada.

International students may work up to 20 hours per week and full-time during the holidays without obtaining a work permit. In general, the work climate is favorable for international students regarding policies governing their ability to work while studying and the hours they can work.

The purpose of this article is to describe what it’s like to work while studying in Canada. You should be aware of the following:

A. Eligibility to Work in Canada While Working

If you are registered in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada as an international student, and you have a study permit, you are eligible to work without a study permit for an employee on-campus or off-campus.

What it means to work on-campus:

If you work for an employer on-campus, it means that you work for the institution itself, for a member of the faculty, for yourself, for a student organization, or a service provider on campus.

Generally, you work on-campus if your employer is within the school campus or you are self-employed, and you are offering your services on the school campus.

What it means to work off-campus:

If you work for an employer off-campus, it simply means that your employer offers services outside the institution.

You can only begin working in Canada as an international student when you officially begin your study program. However, you are not eligible to work while studying in Canada unless authorized otherwise, if:

  • The duration of your study program is less than six(6) months;
  • You are enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) program;
  • You are enrolled in French as a Second Language (FSL) program, or
  • You are visiting or exchange student at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

Please, it is important to note that you will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient finances to sustain yourself through your study program, regardless of whether you work or not. Therefore, proof of your financial capacity will need to be shown when applying for a study permit.

Future earnings as a source of funds will not be accepted as proof of your financial capacity sufficient to sustain you through school, so the fact that you intend to work when you arrive in Canada will not be accepted in this regard.

Your study permit will state the conditions on which you can be employed and whether or not you are permitted to work in Canada. With this, you can apply for a Social Insurance Number(SIN), a requirement for you to have before you can begin working.

If, after you receive your study permit, you are still not clear whether or not you can work while studying in Canada, you may ask the Immigration Officer you meet on arrival in Canada. After checking your study permit, they will confirm that.

B. Getting a Job To Work While Studying in Canada

The first step to getting a job in Canada is to have a good résumé and cover letter. The Canadian style of preparing a résumé and cover letter may be different from the style obtainable in your home country, or what you are used to, so you should prepare them according to the Canadian style for them to be accepted by the Canadian employers to whom you will be sending your application.

Note that your résumé speaks about you even in your absence, so you should be careful to prepare it in such a way that will catch the attention of your potential employer, without including false information in it. For each position you are applying for, write a cover letter tailored for the position. If you send your application via e-mail, your cover letter may substitute your introductory letter. But, whichever the case, ensure that the cover letter convinces your potential employer that you are the best candidate for the job by stating the desirable qualities you possess concerning what the employer seeks.

Where to search for job listings:

  • Sites such as LinkedIn, Craigslist, Monster. Craigslist and Monster usually present listings for part-time jobs.
  • Advertisements in front of shops, offices, or restaurants with job openings.
  • Word of mouth. There may be people around you who know about job openings.
  • Places that look promising. You may choose to go to a shop, office, or restaurant and ask if there is any job opening, even if they do not have any advertisements.
  • Your city or town’s portal. Your city or town may choose to display job listings at public places such as administrative offices, libraries, etc.

If you are going to ask for a  job opening, remember to dress smart. Avoid wearing casual clothes, especially if you are going to an office. Take copies of your résumé with you and be prepared for an interview if one arises.

The Canadian work environment is generally favorable to students. Don’t hesitate to tell your employer that you’re a student and that you may need to take some time off work when you want to prepare for an exam or a big academic project. But, show a strong work ethic during your work periods. It is also important that you know your labor rights. Students working have the same labor rights as everyone else in Canada.

C. Receiving and Managing Income Funds As A Student Working While Studying in Canada

Most employers prefer to pay salaries and wages into your bank account. So, you should have a bank account, and your employer should have details of the account so that when your salary/wage is due, they can pay it into the bank account.

You should also know about the minimum wage in your province and the terms of your employment. Your employer should provide you with your payslips, as these will be necessary when filing your tax return.

When you receive your salary/wage, be sure to make a budget to avoid reckless spending. You’d be glad you did.

DCo-op Work Permit

The co-op work permit is necessary if your study program requires that you complete a co-op or internship work placement before graduating. It can be issued alongside your study permit or after you get it. To get your co-op work permit, you will need a valid study permit as well as an authorized letter issued by your institution indicating that all students undergoing your study program are required to complete a work placement as part of the criteria to get their degree.


Your eligibility to work while studying in Canada becomes invalid once you complete your studies. If you intend to continue working in Canada, you may apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which will permit you to continue working in Canada for any employer for up to three years.

If you want to start a new study program, you may continue working. However, you will need a valid study permit or any extension thereof, a written letter stating that you have completed your previous program, a letter confirming that you have been granted admission to begin a new study program at DLI, and a confirmation that you will begin your new study program within 150 days of receiving a confirmatory letter that you have completed your previous program.

Alternatively, you may come back under a category under the International Experience Canada (IEC) if you are eligible, especially if you don’t apply for PGWP.


There are numerous advantages to working while studying in Canada. You can expand your social and professional network, gain experience while working, learn new skills, and earn money while doing so. Therefore, if you are an international student studying in Canada, you should make every effort to work while you study.


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