Working in Canada

If you’re able to work during your studies, it will say so in the conditions on your study permit 

You can only start working in Canada when your study program has started. You can’t work before you start your studies. 

If you’re a part-time student, you can work off campus only if: 

  • you meet all of the requirements above and 
  • you’re only studying part-time, instead of full-time, because: 
  • you’re in the last semester of your study program and you don’t need a full course load to complete your program and 
  • you were a full-time student in your program in Canada, up until your last semester. 


You can work off campus without a work permit if you meet all of these requirements: 

  • you’re a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI) 
  • you’re enrolled in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program. 
  • your study program is at least 6 months long and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate. 
  • you’ve started studying. 
  • you have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) 

You can’t work off campus without a work permit if any of these situations apply to you: 

  • your study permit says you aren’t authorized to work off campus while you study. 
  • you’re only enrolled in an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program. 
  • you’re only taking general interest courses. 
  • you’re only taking courses required to be accepted into a full-time program. 
  • your situation changes and you no longer meet all of the requirements to work off campus. 


If any of these situations apply to you, and you want to work while studying in Canada, you need to apply for a work permit. 


You can work as an international student in Canada if your study permit lists a condition that says you’re allowed to work on- or off-campus. 

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

  • are a full-time post-secondary student 
  • have a valid study permit, and 
  • have a Social Insurance Number (SIN). 

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

“On-campus” means you can work at all the buildings on your school campus. If your school has more than one campus, you may only work at the campus where you’re studying in most cases. 


You must stop working on-campus: 

  • on the day you stop studying full-time 
  • when your study permit expires 
  • if you’re on an authorized leave from your studies 
  • if you’re switching schools and aren’t currently studying 

You can return to work only once you’re back to studying and you meet all the requirements to work on-campus. 

Work Off-Campus and PGWP 

In order to work off-campus, up to 20 hours per week, international students must have full-time status. Once a student changes to part-time status in their program, they must stop working.  

For students who are interested in applying for their Post-Graduation Work Permit after their studies, they must be continuously enrolled in full-time status (with the exception of the final semester).  

In situations where it is not possible for the student to continue as a full-time student (ie. Academic probation, courses not available, financial ability) it is recommended the students write an explanation letter to IRCC at the time of their PGWP application. Students should provide an explanation why it was beyond their control to remain in full-time status.   

Please always review the IRCC website for more information.   

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a dependent is a spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of a permanent resident or principal applicant.