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Working in Canada

You can only start working in Canada when you start your study program. You can not work before your studies begin.

You can work on/off-campus, without a work permit, if you:

  • Are a full-time student during the academic session before and after their regularly scheduled break.
  • Have a valid study permit and
    • Study permit must state a condition that says you’re allowed to work on/off-campus. 
  • Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number you need to work and file taxes in Canada. To be eligible for a SIN, your study permit must state one of the following conditions:

  • Eligible to work in Canada.
  • May accept employment in Canada.
  • May work in Canada.

As a temporary resident, you will be issued a temporary SIN that starts with the number 9. The temporary status of your SIN is based on the expiration date of your status document - your SIN will expire with your study permit. Employers can still hire you if your SIN is expired; you can direct your employer to Employer information - Social Insurance Number (SIN) or The Social Insurance Number Code of Practice Section 3 - Employers' responsibilities for guidance.

Service Canada is a government agency that issues SINs. You can apply for a SIN for free by either visiting a Service Canada location or at an on-campus SIN Clinic. You will receive an email regarding any upcoming SIN Clinics. You can find required documents to apply for a SIN on the Service Canada websiteIf you extend your status document or get a new one (study permit or post-graduation work permit), you will want to also extend your SIN. To do so, take your new status document and other required documents to Service Canada. 

You are responsible for protecting your SIN. Store any document containing your SIN and personal information in a safe place — do not keep your SIN with you.

Working on campus

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) does not limit the number of hours you can work on campus. Some on-campus employment opportunities have limits on the number of hours you can work. For example, graduate students must follow the 10-hour rule.

Find graduate opportunities on campus

Find undergraduate opportunities on campus

Working off-campus

Undergraduate international students can work up to 20 hours a week during regular academic sessions and work full-time during regularly scheduled breaks (such as winter holidays, spring/summer break, and reading break as stated in the Academic Calendar). Graduate international students can work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions.

Learn more about off-campus work

Co-op and internships

A co-op work permit is a mandatory document for international students during your co-op/internship/placement/practicum period. The co-op work permit is only for work that is a required part of your academic program to complete your degree.

Learn more about co-op work permits

Post-graduation work permit (PGWP)

To work in Canada after you graduate, you must apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This is an open work permit that allows you to work for any employer and does not require you to first have an offer of employment.

Learn more about the PGWP