How Can I Work As A Student While Studying In Canada?


One of the major reasons why international students settle for Canada as a study destination is because, in Canada, they are allowed to work while studying, but there are quite a several things you ought to know before you can start making money.

In Canada, most international students work for up to 20 hours a week, and during scheduled breaks, they work full-time without a work permit.

One of the advantages of working while studying is that it enables you to support yourself and meet new people while creating the relationships and experiences that could distinguish you in your job hunt in the nearest future.

Just before you proceed to search for your dream student job, keep reading to discover more about working in Canada as an international student.

Find out if you are eligible to work while studying in Canada?


You can work outside the campus as an International student without a work permit in Canada who is enrolled full-time in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). What this means is that you are allowed to work for any employer in any occupation anywhere in Canada.


Also, International students are permitted to work on campus if they desire like working for a faculty member (for instance: as a research assistant),  the university or college itself,  for a student organization, for yourself (self-employed, working on campus), or for a private contractor offering services on campus, for instance, restaurant or a gym.

Furthermore, note that you still ought to show proof of adequate financial resources when you apply for a study permit to demonstrate that you can support yourself during studies even without working although you plan to work while studying in Canada. 

This means that expected future earnings will not suffice when showing adequate financial resources, therefore the fact that you intend to work while studying in Canada will not meet the condition to prove financial capacity before entering the country.

All about Canadian study permits. 

In your study permit, it will be stated whether you are allowed to work in Canada and if yes, the conditions of employment. It is this statement that will help you to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada; getting a SIN is a major condition before you can commence working while schooling in Canada.

If there is no such statement in your study permit for you to apply for a SIN, then you should get your study permit corrected at no charge. Although this can be done after your arrival, however, it’s considerably easier to do this upon arrival and your study permit is first issued.


Also, you are free to ask the officer about your permission to work when you arrive at Immigration if you are not sure about what is on your study permit.

In addition to this, if your study program is below six months in duration, or if you are registered in English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) program, you are not allowed to work in Canada unless otherwise approved to do so.

Another set of people that are not allowed to work while studying in Canada is visiting or exchange students at a DLI.

Please another important fact you should note is that you are not authorized to start working while studying in Canada until you start your study program.


Securing a job

It may be easy to be qualified to work in Canada but the difficult part is the next step is to find a job. Be consoled by the fact that Canadian employers are often willing to employ students for part-time positions, and there is a wide range of positions out there.

The first you have to do before seeking jobs or applying is to prepare your cover letter and your resume (CV) because these two are your best shot of securing the interest of a potential employer, revealing your personality and achievements, and standing out as the most suitable candidate for the job.

You have to also ensure that your resume is up to date and formatted to meet the expectations of Canadian employers. Please we advise that you check out the article we wrote on how to write the perfect cover letter and resume for the Canadian workforce. In a situation whereby you’re applying online, your cover letter can serve as your introductory email, to which you include your resume as a PDF.

To kick off the process of your jobhunting, there are various websites you may want to look at like Indeed, Monster, and Craigslist. These websites have numerous postings for part-time employment.

Also, the city or town where you live may have its portal for jobs, like in administration, recreation centers, or libraries.

Furthermore, you could take a walk around your locality to know if there are shops or restaurants advertising in the window for employees.

If you are going to adopt this method, make sure you take paper copies of your resume along with you, do not forget to dress accordingly (for example; a collared shirt, and don’t wear blue jeans).

Don’t be afraid to ask to speak to someone about the position if somewhere looks promising. Go prepared because you will be making the first impression face-to-face and the whole thing could turn into an on-the-spot job interview.

Please don’t keep the fact that you are a student a secret because there is a strong culture of working while studying in Canada, and your studies come first which means that you will be needing some time off during exam periods or in preparation for a big deadline.

Interestingly, as a working student, you have the same labor rights as all workers in Canada, therefore do well to know what your labor rights are, and also the minimum wage in your province.

You need to obtain your payslips and the appropriate record of employment, so you will be able to file your tax return.

Payment of salary

Most Canadian employers prefer paying their employees by direct debit, straight into your bank account. That being said, you must have a bank account ready and have the details available so that you can be paid by your employer. 

Co-op work permit

Irrespective of the fact that international students generally don’t need a different work permit to be able to work while studying in Canada, however, there is an essential exception to this.

Certain study programs require the student to finish up a Co-op or internship work placement before they can graduate. In a situation like this, international students need not just a study permit but a Co-op work permit inclusive.

For you to be issued a Co-op work permit, you are required to present a valid study permit and a letter from your university or college as evidence that all students in your program ought to complete work placements to obtain their degree.

Moreover, you can be issued a Co-op work permit alongside your study permit in a case whereby your acceptance letter indicates that an internship placement or Co-op is an integral part of your study program.

It is possible to apply for a Co-op work permit after obtaining your study permit, and it can be done either online or by paper.

Interestingly, your college or university should be able to assist you with this because the placement is part of your study program and they may offer help to international students to apply for this permit yearly.

What happens after studying?

You may be required to quit working in Canada immediately after you are through with your studies. Nevertheless, there are various pathways through which you may continue working under various conditions.

  • If you have intentions of working and staying in Canada, we advise you to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), permitting you to work for any employee of your choice in any location in Canada. Also, if you’re qualified and you wish to remain in Canada and work, you have to apply within 180 days beginning from when you received a written confirmation that you are done with your study program.
  • If you are kicking off a new study program such as a Master’s, you are allowed to continue working between the study programs under the following conditions:
    • If you were qualified to work outside the campus during your former study program;
    • If your study permit is still valid, or you applied for an extension before the expiration of your permit;
    • If you have gotten a written confirmation that you have completed your program;
    • If you have been issued an acceptance letter to a new full-time study program at a DLI; and
    • If your new study program will begin within 150 days of getting confirmation that you have completed your former program.
  • You may be qualified for one or more of the International Experience Canada (IEC) categories if you don’t apply for the PGWP and then decide to return to work temporarily. Depending on the category and country of citizenship, the IEC gives young people from different countries the opportunity to work in Canada for a duration of one or two years.

In conclusion, beyond earning some extra cash, working while studying in Canada can be rewarding.

One thing that can distinguish you from the crowd during your job hunt is graduating from a university or college in Canada therefore it is safe to say that Canadian work experience is a valuable asset to your future goals irrespective of whether you intend to remain in Canada or work any other place after graduation.


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