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Employment while you study

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

Working part-time while studying can be a great way to help with the cost of living in Canada, and also gain work experience in your field of study.

You may be able to work in Canada while you’re studying even if you don’t have a work permit, if you:

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Are a full-time student
  • Are enrolled at a designated learning institution at the post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at the secondary level
  • Be studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration.

Then you can:

  • 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.

You can also 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 collège 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.

Your social insurance number

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 the campus of the institution at which 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.

Working after you graduate

If you want to stay in Canada after you finish your study, you can get valuable work experience by completing the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PWPP). This program may also help if you later apply to become a permanent resident of Canada.

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 the program, you must have graduated from a public or private institution with a recognised degree from a Canadian province or territory. You must apply for the PWPP within 90 days of receiving written confirmation that you’ve completed your academic program.

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Money and living expenses

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Shops and restaurants

You have plenty of options for where to shop and eat in Canada, but opening hours can be totally different depending on where you live (or visit). Some provinces and territories even allow shops to open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, so you’ll never be caught short!

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