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Employment prospects in Canada

Want to work while you’re in Canada? Here’s how.

Canada, over the past few years, has seen an abundance of international students from around the world and has provided various work opportunities to both, students and working professionals. As per Forbes and US News released rankings, Canada is considered as the best country amongst G20 countries for establishing business operations. Moreover, it’s also predicted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, that the country will be ranked as the 3rd best country amongst G7 for doing business over the 5 years i.e., 2018 to 2022, which only implies that ample job opportunities await an international student during and after completion of their studies in the time to come. 

How to work while studying in Canada?

Working part-time while studying can be a great way ease your finances and also gain some valuable work experience in your field of study. As an international student in Canada, you can work along with your studies, provided you:

  • have a verified study permit and are a full-time student
  • are studying for either a degree, diploma or certificate course
  • have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Given these, you are allowed 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.

For students, employment can be on-campus and off-campus. On-campus means being a working resource on your college/university campus itself. You can work on-campus without a work permit if you have a valid study permit, or are a full-time student at:

  • A public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university, or a college d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec
  • A private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution, and receives at least 50 per cent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants (currently only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify) 
  • A Canadian private institution authorised by provincial statute to confer degrees. 

Some options for working on-campus are:

  1. Research Assistant or Teaching staff (depends on research grants)

  2. In student organisations to uplift segments like sports, entertainment, etc.

  3. In library or a hospital

  4. Be self-employed or start a private business, including taking up a contract to provide on-campus services

Off-campus implies an area outside of your campus premises. For this you can consider:

employment prospects in canada


Acquire a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

You will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada in order to work in Canada or receive benefits and services from government programs. To apply for a SIN for on-campus work, you must have one of the following conditions or remarks printed on your study permit:

  • May accept employment on institution campus where you are registered in full-time studies
  • May accept employment on or off-campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186 (f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria

If your study permit does not have one of these conditions or remarks, you will need to submit a free request for an amendment to your study permit before you can apply for a SIN. 

Explore careers

As a part of the Canadian government initiative, you can find out more career options by navigating through an online tool known as ‘Explore careers’ which will allow you to map suitable job opportunities as per occupation, outlook, wages, locations, education program, skills, knowledge and many other filters.

How to work once you’ve graduated? 

To be able to work in Canada once you’ve completed your studies, you’ll need to have a work permit first. One of the most widely accepted is the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PWPP). 

PWPP work permits are valid for the same length of time of your initial study program (up to a maximum of three years) and let you work in any occupation, as well as change employers at any time. To be eligible for PWPP, you must have graduated from a Designated Learning Institute (DLI). Since not all programs from DLIs fulfil the eligibility criterion, do check beforehand if your institution falls in the list. Also, remember to apply for the PWPP within 90 days of receiving written confirmation that you’ve completed your academic program. 

Tips to work in Canada

While you are waiting for a decision on your post-graduation work permit application, make sure that you meet all of the criteria:

  • You are a holder of a valid study permit when you make an application for the post-graduation work permit 

  • You were a full-time student who was enrolled in a DLI in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program

  • You were authorised to work off-campus without a work permit

  • You did not exceed the permitted hours of work

If you need any further guidance, feel free to speak with our international education experts over a free counselling session! and keep posted about latest COVID-19 updates to make well-informed decisions.

Updated on August 6, 2020

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