Working in Canada
If you are an international student with full-time registration status and a valid Study Permit, you are eligible to work in Canada, with some conditions.
- On-Campus Work
- Off-Campus Work
- Co-op Work Permit
- Post-Graduation Work Permit
- Work Permit for a Spouse or Common-Law Partner
- Income Tax
- Social Insurance Number
If you are an international student with full-time registration status and a valid Study Permit, you may be eligible to work on campus without a work permit.
Definition of On-campus work:
On-campus work includes any job that is located within the boundaries of the campus. The employer can be the university (for example: library, bookstore, department, registrar’s office, athletic centre, residence…) or a private business located on campus like coffee shops, restaurants or contractors providing services to the university.
Per the current immigration regulations, an international student; including exchange, Visiting and ESL students, is eligible to work on campus without a work permit if he/she:
- has a valid study permit.
- is enrolled full-time.
- has a valid SIN (social insurance number)
You must stop working on-campus on the day you no longer meet the above eligibility requirements, e.g., if you are no longer a full-time student.
How many hours can an international student work on campus?
There are no restrictions on the number of hours that an international student can work on campus as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. Students must stop working on-campus on the day they no longer meet the on-campus eligibility criteria.
Who is eligible to work off campus?
You are eligible to work off campus without a work permit if you meet the following eligibility requirements:
- You hold a valid study permit.
- You are a full-time student enrolled in a degree program (exception: when you are in the last term of your final year of study, you can work even if you are studying part-time);
- Your program of study is at least six months or more in duration and one that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate.
You must stop working off campus on the day you no longer meet the above eligibility requirements (e.g., if you are no longer a full-time student.)
You are not eligible to work off campus if:
- You are a visiting or exchange student
- You are registered in a general interest program or a non-degree program
- You are registered in an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program
How many hours can an international student work off campus?
- If you are eligible to work off campus, you may work up to 20 hours per week during the regular academic year and full time during scheduled breaks (e.g. winter/summer holidays, spring break)
- If you are registered as a full-time student during summer academic sessions (May to August), you may only work up to 20 hours per week during that period
- If you are enrolled in an intensive program which does not have scheduled breaks, you may only work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the entire program of study
There are no legal restrictions preventing students from working on campus in addition to working the maximum 20 hours per week off campus.
Co-op Work Permit
Work experience is a required component of some programs of study. If you are registered in such a program, you will need a work permit to fulfil this requirement. You can work either on or off campus for a co-op, an internship or for professional experience.
To be eligible for this work permit you must:
- Have a valid Study Permit, and
- Get a letter from your faculty indicating that employment is an integral part of your degree program.
There is no processing fee for the co-op work permit. Also, the University of Toronto will be listed as the employer. Furthermore, the expiry date of this type of work permit will match the expiry date of your study permit. However, the co-op work permit becomes automatically invalid once you complete your required internship hours/months.
We highly recommend that you apply online for a Co-Op Work Permit.
If you are planning to work with children or in the health services field, you must complete and pass a medical examination before submitting your application. Processing can take a while, so you should book your medical examination well in advance. For a complete list of these occupations and a list of Designated Medical Practitioners who can perform the exam, visit the IRCC website. When you submit your work permit application, attach proof that you underwent a medical exam (i.e. a copy of your medical receipt). Failure to do so may result in processing delays or the rejection of your application.
Post-Graduation work permit
The post-graduation employment program provides graduating students with Canadian work experience. Most international students who graduate from the University of Toronto are eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit with a validity period of up to 3 years – this depends on the length of the student’s program of study.
If the official length of your program of study is:
- Less than 8 months, you are not eligible for this work permit.
- More than 8 months and up to 2 years, you may get a work permit for a period no longer than the length of your program of study (for example, if you studied for nine months, a work permit may be issued for a period of nine months).
- Two years or more, a work permit may be issued for up to 3 years.
You may apply for this work permit only once. To be eligible, you must:
- Apply within the ninety day period since your notification from the University that you have completed your course requirements (Please note that the 90-day period starts from the date you receive your final grades, not the date of your Convocation),
- Have a valid Study Permit at the time of application, and
- Provide proof of completion of your program (i.e., A completion of degree requirements letter from your Registrar).
- Have not previously been issued a Post-Graduation Work Permit.
NOTE: If you are planning to work with children or in the health services field, you must complete and pass a medical examination before submitting your application. Processing can take a while, so you should book your medical examination well in advance. For a complete list of these occupations and a list of Designated Medical Practitioners who can perform the exam, visit the IRCC website. When you submit your work permit application, attach proof that you underwent a medical exam (i.e., a copy of your medical receipt). Failure to do so may result in processing delays or the rejection of your application.
Additional information for post-graduation work permit holders:
Members of your immediate family (spouse/ common-law partner/ dependent children) who wish to remain with you for the duration of your work permit, must apply for permission to do so. You may apply for an extension of their stay in Canada at the same time as you apply for your post-graduation work permit. Make sure you include all appropriate documentation and the required fee for each person in the application.
Work permit for your spouse/common-law partner
Accompanying spouses or common-law partners of foreign students are eligible to apply for an open work permit. No job offer or Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) are required for this work permit when the principal applicant (the international student) has a valid study permit and is enrolled in a program of study. Visit IRCC’s website for more information about this type of work.
Social Insurance Number (SIN)
In order to work in Canada, you must make sure that you:
- Are eligible to work in Canada
- Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
You should apply for your SIN in person at a Service Canada Office.
These Service Canada Offices near campus process SIN applications:
- 25 St. Clair Ave. East, Toronto, Ontario
- 559 College Street, Suite 100, Toronto, Ontario
- 100 Queen Street West, Floor 1, Toronto, Ontario
Additional offices and locations can be found on the Service Canada website.
There is no fee for getting your SIN and in most cases the SIN will be given to you when you apply for it.
Your SIN will expire at the same time as your Study Permit or Work Permit. If you would like to renew your SIN, you will need the same documents as you did for the initial application.
How to get your SIN
Study Permit holders:
To get a SIN using your study permit, it must include one of the following statements:
May accept employment on the campus of the institution at which registered in full-time studies.
May work 20 hrs per week off campus or full time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in section186(v) of IRPR
- 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 any of the above-mentioned statements, you need to apply for an amendment to your study permit before you can apply for a SIN.
If your study permit has the above-mentioned statements, you will need to take the following to Service Canada to apply for your SIN:
- Study Permit
Work permit holders:
If you hold a co-op or post-graduation work permit you can take the following documents to Service Canada to get your new SIN or update your current SIN:
- Co-Op / Post-Graduation Work Permit
Income tax and international students
International students have to pay annual income tax for any money they earn while working in Canada. The deadline for filing a tax return is April 30 of each year. For detailed information about your income tax obligations, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website.
The Canada Revenue Agency website features a series of videos for international students which provide an overview of the Canadian tax system and how to file.
CIE general income tax information sessions for international students
Looking for more information about income taxes in Canada? During the Winter Term, the CIE offers information sessions on income taxes in Canada for international students. These sessions are led by a Tax Expert and CIE staff.