Working in Canada

UVic Global Community Newsletter: February 01, 2021

In the Know: Advice for international students is a section of the UVic Global Community Newsletter that includes valuable information and important dates for undergraduate and graduate international students in the following categories: degree-seekingincoming exchange, and incoming study abroad/visiting.

Can I work in Canada?

As an international student, your primary purpose in Canada must be to study, and you must be able to cover all the costs of your studies without relying on employment income.

However, there are some specific options available for gaining paid work experience in Canada as an international student. Information about these options is available on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Make sure you understand the restrictions associated with these options BEFORE starting any work experience in Canada, and never work without the proper authorization.

Working in Canada when you are not authorized may result in enforcement action taken by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). It could also negatively impact your current temporary resident status and any future applications you make under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its regulations.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC has made facilitative temporary measures in regards to working in Canada and working from abroad while your study permit application is being processed. We recommend you to keep informed with the IRCC - Working while studying web page and the COVID-19: International Students web page when you plan your employment in Canada.

What are the conditions I need to meet in order to work with a study permit?

  • Refer to the IRCC website to determine if you are eligible to work on campus.
  • Refer to the IRCC website to determine if you are eligible to work off campus.

My program requires a co-op/internship to graduate, do I need a co-op work permit?

Yes. According to IRCC, students should apply for a co-op work permit if your UVic program has a co-op or internship component.

How do I find out the full-time definition used at UVic?

Note: Students with active registration with the UVic Centre for Accessible Learning should consult with their CAL Advisor for their full-time definition based on academic accommodations. The requirements for full-time studies used for scholarships, bursaries, student loans and external providers may differ from the full-time definitions in the UVic Calendar.

How many hours am I allowed to work on-campus?

IRCC currently does not set a time limitation for on-campus working hours. But as an international student, your priority should always be to study. Do not let your incidental work jeopardize your academic performance.

How many hours am I allowed to work off-campus?

  • During regular academic terms, you may be allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.
  • During scheduled breaks, you may be allowed to work full-time if you meet all conditions.

Refer to the IRCC website for detailed conditions.

Who can help me find a job in Canada?

To find a job, you need a résumé and cover letter that will impress Canadian employers. You also need to be able to communicate your competencies during an interview. Your competencies are the knowledge, skills, and attributes you can offer an employer.

Visit the Co-op & Career website to:

UVic Career Services is an amazing resource available to all UVic students and alumni, offering resources such as career drop-ins and appointments via phone or video conference, free career workshops and self-paced online career programs.

If you can't find the answers you are looking for, please contact the appropriate office.

How can I get a Social Insurance Number?

 A Social Insurance Number (SIN) allows you to be paid for work and to access government programs when you meet the eligibility. There is no application fee for getting a SIN.

Currently, you can apply for a SIN by mail or online. Refer the Service Canada website for detailed information and required documents to apply for a SIN.

It may be possible to apply for a SIN in person as some of the Service Canada Centres are reopened for in-person services. You must follow public health advice if you decide to enter the Service Canada Centre offices.

To apply for a SIN, you must have a valid passport and one of the following documents issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and other required documents depending on the mode of your application:

  • valid work permit
  • valid study permit that clearly states you are authorized to work in Canada
  • valid visitor record that clearly states you are authorized to work in Canada

If you have a valid study permit or visitor record that does not clearly state that you "may accept employment" or "may work" in Canada, you should consult with an International Student Adviser to discuss an amendment application or change condition application to get the employment remarks from IRCC. If you no longer have a valid co-op work permit, please also consult with us directly to discuss your situation.

More information related to working in Canada as an international student is available on our website.

If you can't find the answers you are looking for, please email us at or call +1-250-721-6361 during weekdays between 9:00am and 4:30pm (Pacific Time).

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