Working in Canada

Gaining work experience in Canada is an excellent way for students to prepare for their career, network in the Canadian workplace, make contacts for post-graduation employment and earn extra money. There are a few types of work permits that study permit holders can receive in Canada:

On-Campus Work

Eligible study permit holders have the opportunity to gain valuable Canadian work experience at their designated learning institution.

  • Students must stop working on-campus the day they no longer meet the listed eligibility requirements (e.g., if you are no longer a full-time student.)
  • For more information regarding on-campus opportunities and support, please visit Career Enhancement Services

Off-Campus Work

Eligible study permit holders have the opportunity to gain valuable Canadian work experience off-campus while completing a degree, diploma or certificate program

Some students may be eligible to work off campus without a work permit. Please use IRCC’s self-assessment tool to see if you qualify to:

  • work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions; and
  • work full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break

Students are encouraged to check IRCC’s eligibility requirements to see if they qualify to work off campus while studying

Co-op Work Permit

The co-op work permit allows students who have been accepted into a program with a co-op or internship as part of their academic studies, to work in order to meet their program requirements.

  • Students should be aware that a co-op work permit is different from the off-campus work authorized through your study permit. Students are eligible to work under both work permits at the same time as long as the requirements and conditions are met for each permit
  • Students are encouraged to check IRCC’s eligibility requirements to see if they qualify for the co-op work permit before applying. Students can apply for their co-op work permit at the same time as their study permit application

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP)

The PGWP allows students who have met their academic program requirements to gain valuable work experience in Canada.

  • A PGWP is related to the length of your program of study and may be issued for up to a maximum of three years. The program must be a minimum of eight months in length to be eligible
  • Students must apply for their PGWP while their study permit is still valid and within 180 days of receiving written confirmation from the Registrar’s Office indicating they have met the requirements for completing their academic program (for example, a transcript or an official letter of support)
  • A three-year PGWP may be issued to individuals who complete a master’s degree in Canada when the Designated Learning Institution has confirmed through an official letter or transcript that the degree is 16 to 23 months in duration and does not include regularly scheduled breaks
  • Blended learning programs (a combination of in-class and online courses) may be eligible for the PGWPP when less than the majority of all the credits were earned by completing online courses.  The PGWP may be issued based on the length of the program, including credits from both in-class and online courses. Please visit the IRCC website for more information. 
  • For more information on the eligibility requirements for a Post Graduate Work Permit or to apply, please visit the IRCC website

Work Permit for your Spouse or Partner 

The open work permit for a spouse or partner allows your spouse or partner to work full-time in Canada while you study. The length of the open work permit is issued for the same length as your study permit.

  • Check to see if your spouse qualifies and meets the eligibility requirements for an open work permit 

Additional Information

As an international student, you are responsible for maintaining your status in Canada and following the conditions of your immigration documents. For more information visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Immigration Advising assistance is available at Royal Roads University to support students with study and work permits, including co-op work permits and post-graduation work permits, temporary resident visas, and electronic travel authorization (eTAs).   

[The immigration information on this webpage has been reviewed and endorsed by a Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA) in compliance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. This is not a legal document and information may change without notice. Please refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for the most updated information]