Work opportunities in Canada for international students
Updated on Dec 1, 2015 - 6:16 p.m. IST by Shreelata
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Work opportunities in Canada for international students: ‘Earn while you learn’ might be the motto of every international student in Canada, especially those from developing countries, given the nation’s high tuition fees and substantial living costs.  Here we will discuss the nitty-gritty of available work opportunities in Canada for international students.


Let us first shed light on the work permit legalities for offshore students in Canadian universities. According to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), a department of Canadian government, international students in the country may work on campus or off campus or else they can opt to work as a co–op student or intern, if they want to earn while they study in order to support their studies.


If you are an international student, you can opt for any of the following work opportunities in Canada as suggested by the CIC:  


Work off campus:


According to CIC, study permit holders in Canada may gain work experience by working off campus while completing their studies. Presently, working off campus in Canada is quite easy for international students as the CIC has scrapped the Off-Campus Work Permit Program (OCWPP) with effect from June 1, 2014, which authorises them to work outside the universities’ premises without a work permit. Earlier, international students had to get a work permit from CIC before going off campus to work and that involved tiresome complicated paper work.


As per CIC, international students will be qualified to work off campus without a work permit, if:

  • they are full-time students having a valid study permit;

  • they are enrolled at a designated learning institution* for a post-secondary studies or studying a  secondary level vocational programme in Quebec; or

  • they are studying an academic, vocational or professional training programme of at least six months in duration that will earn them a degree, diploma or certificate.

*Designated Learning Institution is a school in Canada that a student must be accepted before they can qualify for a study permit.

If you qualify, your study permit will allow you to:

  • work off-campus up to 20 hours per week in a regular academic sessions and

  • work off-campus full-time during spring break or winter / summer holidays.

Here are some examples of places where international students can work off campus:

  • Companies in their field of study as interns, research assistants or coordinators 

  • Banks as tellers, customer service representatives

  • Restaurants as servers, hosts, cooks

  • Stores as customer service representatives, cashiers, designers of store displays, etc.

Work on campus:


A very convenient way of earning while studying, working on campus is the perfect option for a student resident who has extra time between classes.

You may work on campus at the institution where you study without a work permit if:

  • you are a full-time student and

  • you have a valid study permit.

Here are just some of the great places where students can work on campus:

  • Administrative offices of universities – Students can be hired as interns, assistants or receptionists

  • Stores and restaurants

  • Bookstores in Campus

  • University libraries

  • Coffee shops

Work as a Co–op student or intern


For some academic programmes, work experience is part of the curriculum. In such a case it becomes easier for international students to explore work opportunities in Canada, as the CIC allows foreign students studying such courses to go for a co-op or paid internship programme, for which they will have to apply for both work permit and study permit. A Co-op (Co-operative Education) is a type of internship programme that enables college students to do career training working with professionals in their major fields of study and get paid.

Following are the eligibility criteria for a work permit for Co–op progammme or paid internship:

  • Students must have a valid study permit.

  • Their employment must be a part of their academic programme, and should be certified by a letter from the concerned academic official.

NOTE: The co-op or internship employment should not make more than 50% of the total program of study.


International students will not be eligible to work as co–op student or intern if they are studying English or French as a second language.


Now, let’s take look at the available work opportunities in Canada for international students studying in the QStop 4 Canadian Universities:


McGill University - Work Study Programme:


The McGill University offers Work Study Programme for students searching for work opportunities in Canada. The programme offers students access to clerical, research, technical, library or other jobs on campus or in some of the McGill-affiliated hospitals and organisations. The programme is aimed at providing not only financial support to students but also helping them develop career-related skills and experience.


To apply for Work Study programme at McGill University, students must demonstrate their financial need and satisfy the following requirements:

  • Students must be registered in a full-time degree programme and have a valid study permit

  • And have maintained a satisfactory academic record

International students should have obtained their Social Insurance Number (SIN) in order to work on campus. The SIN is a nine-digit number that international students require to work and get paid in Canada.


University of Toronto - Work Study Programme:


Work Study programme at University of Toronto provides students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and experience through paid work on campus.



  • Work Study programme is open for every domestic and international regular student who is studying a minimum 40% course load.
  • To get paid, international students must have a Social Insurance Number provided by Service Canada.

Work Hours and Rate of Pay:Work Study students are allowed to work a maximum of 12 hours per week, at a wage rate of $11.25 per hour plus 4% vacation pay.


University of British Columbia - Work Study Programme:


The work study programme at the UBC provides eligible students with the opportunity to develop workplace skills, explore potential career paths and receive mentoring through work experiences that complement their overall academic learning, and interestingly, they can achieve all this while earning additional income to help finance their education.



  • To be eligible for Work Study Employment, UBC students should maintain a minimum of 18 credits (9 per term).
  • International students must possess a valid study permit as well as a valid Social Insurance Number card.

University of Alberta:


International students can explore work opportunities in Canada while studying at the University of Alberta (UAlberta).  There are many ways students can earn some extra income while working at University of Alberta.  


The type of work opportunities at the University of Alberta are:


Work on campus: Here are some of the places in campus where students can work part time:

  • UAlberta offices – Students can work as interns, assistants or receptionists

  • Stores and restaurants in SUB, HUB, and CAB

  • UAlberta bookstores

  • UAlberta libraries

  • Coffee shops

Work off campus: The UAlberta international students can work part-time anywhere in Edmonton while studying as the city is full of work opportunities. Also, students can take work anywhere throughout Canada during summer and winter breaks.

Here are some places where UAlberta international students can work off campus:

  • Companies in their field of study
  • Banks
  • Restaurants
  • Stores - books, groceries

Cooperative Work Programmes: The School of Business and the Faculty of Engineering in UAlberta offers cooperative work programmes for international students. In such programmes, students can get valuable work experience related directly to their field of study and at the same time they can earn to support their expenses.


Academic Internships: There are various academic programs at UAlberta that offer paid or unpaid work opportunities to students in order to help them get practical exposure related to their studies.


International Student Work Study Program (ISWSP):


The ISWSP has been designed to offer funding and support to University of Alberta departments for hiring international undergraduate students during the summer break. This will provide students with opportunities to gain Canadian work experience and earn money while studying. Funding for this program is received from the differential fees paid by international undergraduate students. A full-time UAlberta undergraduate international student who pays the differential fee is eligible to get hired under ISWSP. Under this programme, a hired student would be paid $14.83 per hour.


Stay tuned to for more news and updates on Canada

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Arden University, Berlin
Arden University, Berlin
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