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Working in Canada

Work experience can assist you as you begin to pursue your career. It is valuable as it provides you with exposure to the Canadian workplace environment and culture.

As an international student there are various options for work in Canada. Use the section below to determine what work rules you need to follow and the type of work opportunities that are available to you while pursuing your studies.

Eligibility to Work On/Off-Campus

Full-time international students enrolled in a post-secondary program at a Designated Learning Institution (external link)  may work on or off-campus without a work permit if they meet all of the following conditions:

  • Possess a valid study permit;
  • Have already started to study in their program;
  • Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN);
  • Have conditions on their study permit that confirms on and off campus work eligibility;
  • Are enrolled in a program that is more than six months in duration and leads to a degree or diploma.

The Social Insurance Number (SIN)

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits.

It is also used to file taxes, however certain students can also get an Individual Tax Number (ITN) (external link)  instead.

A SIN is issued to one person only and it cannot legally be used by anyone else. You are responsible for protecting your SIN (external link) . Store any document containing your SIN and personal information in a safe place - do not keep your SIN with you.

For more information, visit the Service Canada website (external link) .

Who is eligible to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)?

You must have one of the following conditions or remarks printed on your study permit in order to apply for a SIN:

  • “may work 20 hours per week off campus or full time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in paragraph 186(v) (external link)  of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations”
  • “may accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria, per paragraph R186(f), (v) or (w) (external link)  and must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria”
  • “may accept employment on the campus of the institution at which registered in full-time studies”

Medical Examinations

In order to work in certain jobs in Canada, you will need to undergo a medical examination by an approved panel physician (external link) . This includes positions through co-op terms, internships and placements, as well as on or off campus positions. Jobs that require medical examination include those in health services, primary or secondary education, child care and more. For a complete list of jobs that require a medical examination, please see medical examination requirements for temporary residents. (external link) 

Job Opportunities

International students are eligible for the following on-campus categories:

  • Career Boost International Work Experience Program (CBI)
  • Other On-Campus Jobs
  • Teaching Assistant (TA), Graduate Assistant (GA), Lab Monitor, or Invigilator

Start looking for the tools to succeed in building your career by visiting the following two websites:

Off-campus work is work that takes place at any location outside of the boundaries of the campus at which a student is registered. If you meet the above eligibility conditions, you may work up to 20 hours per week (external link)  off-campus during a regular academic session.

If you are interested in working off-campus check out the Career Centre & Co-op Centre off-campus jobs page. 

Start looking for the tools and help you need to succeed in building your career by checking out the Career & Co-op Centre website.

If you meet the above eligibility conditions, you may work full-time off-campus during scheduled breaks. Scheduled breaks include Fall Reading Week, Mid-Year Break, Winter Reading Week and may also include the Spring/Summer semester if this is not a required academic session in your program.

A post-graduation work permit (external link)  (PGWP) is a document that gives you permission to remain in Canada as a worker and work full time for up to three years after you graduate from a Canadian post-secondary institution. 

Applicants can only receive the PGWP once in a lifetime, therefore, if you have plans to pursue further studies in Canada, you may wish to consult an International Student Advisor to discuss when to apply. In order to be eligible, you must have maintained full-time student status during each session of your program(s) of study with a duration of at least 8 months. To see full eligibility details including those who do not qualify, visit the IRCC website. (external link) 

You must complete all requirements of your program of study prior to applying for the Post-Graduation Work Permit. This means that you are not eligible to apply during your final semester.

Apply within 180 days of completion of your program of study, please note that you must meet one of the following criteria: 

  • You must have a valid study permit
  • Have held a valid study permit at some point within the 180 day period and applied for visitor status before your study permit became invalid.
  • Applied for restoration of temporary resident status
  • Letter of program completion
  • Letters of program completion are provided by ISS Click here to learn more about requesting a status letter (opens in new window) .
  • Transcript
  • Request your official transcript from Toronto Metropolitan University. An official Toronto Metropolitan University. transcript is a complete record of a student's enrolment at Toronto Metropolitan University. including all undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education courses, as well as credits granted towards your program.

Learn more about requesting your transcript (opens in new window) .

The length of the post-graduation work permit validity depends on the length of your study program. If your program was:

  • Less than eight months
    • You aren’t eligible for a PGWP
  • More than eight months, but less than two years
    • The length of your PGWP should coincide with the length of your program of study as confirmed in your Letter of Completion provided by ISS. For example, if you studied for nine months, a work permit may be issued for up to nine months.
  • Two years or more
    • A PGWP may be issued for three years
  • More than one program
    • The length of the PGWP should combine the length of each program. If the combined length is more than 2 years, the PGWP may be valid for up to 3 years.

Co-op work permit

The co-op work permit allows international students to work full-time during academic sessions when the work is a requirement of your program of study. Your co-op work permit can only be used for this kind of work and will be issued for the same length as your study permit. Some programs include work experience as part of their curriculum. As per the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website, you may apply for a co-op or intern work permit if:

  • you have a valid study permit
  • working is required to complete your study program in Canada
  • you have a letter from your school that confirms all students in your program need to complete work placements to get their degree
  • your co-op or internship is 50% or less of the total program of study

Usually, a co-op work permit is issued for the same duration as your study permit; however, it may vary depending on the length of your co-op, internship, or placement term. Your co-op work permit will not be issued for a longer duration than your study permit.

We recommend applying as soon as you have been accepted into the co-op stream of your program or receive confirmation that you can pursue a placement or internship as a part of your program of study. You will need to request a status letter (opens in new window)  from our office to support your co-op work permit application if you are applying after you have obtained your study permit. We recommend submitting your co-op work permit application online as processing times are quicker. Check out processing times here (external link) .

Volunteer Opportunities

Want to get involved on/off-campus? Check out the following websites to find more information on how to get involved.

  1. ConnectRU
  2. VolunteerLink
  3. TMU Leadership
  4. Tri-Mentoring Program
  5. TMSU Student Groups (external link) 
  7. Volunteer Toronto (external link) 
  8. YMCA Toronto (external link) 
  9. Toronto Public Library Volunteer Programs (external link)