Work Study in Canada - SIN, On Campus & Off Campus Jobs, Co-Op and Internships

International Education Department of Global Affairs reports that more than 642,480 international students chose to study in Canada in 2019. This is no wonder, owing to its affordable cost of living, multicultural society, quality of education, and easy PR policies. Students at Canadian Universities have a great way to combine work and university education. Provided with the opportunity to work on campus, off campus, or avail co-op, they may select any, according to their will and availability.

  • In recent years, the cost of living in Canada has increased to an extent where “Work while you Study Program” has become a necessity.
  • Depending on where a student opts to pursue their degree tuition fee can range from 7,148 CAD to 37,693 CAD. Other expenses like housing, transport, food costs, and study needs give figures of about 13,800 to 46,000 CAD/year. 
  • Work Study program is available for both domestic and international students. But, international students must have a study permit. Also, for co-op or intern, the students need to have a work permit too.
  • The Canadian government has the best possible infrastructure as well as employment opportunities compared to other countries. International students studying at a public university, a community college, or a technical school are allowed to confer their degrees and work on the campus of the institution they are attending, or a private business located on the campus. 
  • The Canadian government has also eased off campus work permit programs and international students willing to study in Canada can work part-time during regular academic sessions for 20 hours a week and full time during scheduled breaks.

Research suggests that the work study program has a positive impact on the students socially and education-wise. The average hourly wage jobs in Canada range from CAD 19 to CAD 30. This program may or may not enable the students to gain knowledge in their field, especially, through off campus jobs as it is not necessary that the job is linked to the student’s learning.

Table of Contents

Canada Work Study Program Highlights

Types of Program On Campus, Off Campus and Co-op
Type of job Part-Time
Number of hours allowed to work 20 hours per week
Average Job remuneration CAD 12 – CAD 15 per hour
Prerequisites Study Permit Work Permit (for co-op) SIN

Work study program in Canada inculcates mentorship opportunities, an expanded network, responsibility towards work, and self-awareness in students. It enables them to apply their knowledge in practical scenarios. Thus, contributing well for themselves and learning institutions. 

Benefits of Work Study Program

Canada is considered by the UN as one of the 10 best countries to live, because of its excellent living conditions it is considered the 5th happiest country in the world. 

  • You get a Paid job – Variable earnings on per hour basis
  • If burdened down by loan, working while studying can help pay out study loans. 
  • Expansion of social and professional network along with harnessing of time management and prioritization skills. 
  • Enhanced learning through work experience which showcases the ability to balance work with life. 
  • Students with a humble background can get financial assistance and add work experience to the professional resume. 

Requirements of Work Study Program in Canada

  • Students must belong to any one of the given programs – Undergraduate and Graduate
  • They can be hired for only one work study position
  • Non (Degree, Diploma or Certificate)  students are not eligible for the program
  • Students will require a Social Insurance Number (SIN) before starting with the program

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

It is important to obtain Canada Student Visa and then apply for SIN. Students can get their SIN from Service Canada.

Conditions to apply for SIN for working on campus:-

  • Must have accepted employment from the campus where the student is registered for full-time program.
  • Must accept employment in case the conditions required and provided under Immigration and Refugee protection regulations are met.

Students can attain SIN at the nearest Service Canada Office. They need to carry their original documents along with them.

For students, living beyond 100 km from the office or are at a place that is not accessible easily can apply through mail. Original documents along with the SIN application form are required to be submitted.

Documents must be sent at:-

Service Canada
Social Insurance Registration Office
PO Box 7000
Bathurst, New Brunswick E2A 4T1

Why SIN?

This 9 digit number assigned by the Government of Canada, gets you to work in Canada or get benefits and services.

To apply for SIN the applicant must have any one of the conditions printed on the study permit:-

  • The applicant may work 20 hours per week off campus or full time during regular breaks.
  • The applicants may accept employment on or off campus if they meet the eligibility criteria.


  • If the applicant is eligible to work off campus and doesn’t have these conditions listed on the study permit then the applicant must request a correction to study permit before applying or a SIN from Service Canada.
  • The number of hours per week or per semester may vary from university to university.

Work On Campus in Canada

Work on campus provides an opportunity for the students to work while they study in Canada. They can find part-time jobs within the premises and need not search beyond the campus.

The students can apply for the job on their own campus and not any other campus.

Eligibility for On Campus Work Study Program

Students may not require a work permit for on campus job if they are:-

  • Enrolled for full-time studies at
    1. University, College or CEGEP in Quebec
    2. A private college in Quebec which works as public schools and receives 50% funds from the government grants OR
    3. A private college that has the legal right to provide degrees under provincial law.
  • If any university or college has more than one campus in different cities but under the same municipality, students can work at different locations

Where can you apply for Work Study Program?

  • School – Library, Athletics, Dining Services, Bookstore
  • Student Organization
  • Faculty Member
  • Business
  • Private Contractor for on campus services to the school
  • Self Employed

Apart from the categories, few on campus jobs available at different universities

Student Financial Service Coordinator Teaching Assistant Design History & Theory Receptionist
Career Boost Programs (Ryerson) Web Promo Design Housing and Job Resources Centre Assistant
Mail Centre Clerk Lab Monitor Campaigns Assistant
Graduate Assistant for Assessment Lab Assistant Design Studio Lab Assistant

The jobs mentioned are provided in different universities. Students may visit the official website of the universities to find on campus jobs suitable to them.

Who cannot apply for work On Campus?

One has to stop working on campus on the following scenarios:

  • On the day a student stop studying full-time
  • when study permit expires
  • if a student is on authorized leave from studies
  • If a student is switching schools and is not currently studying

Work Off Campus in Canada

The students here, have a plethora of opportunities outside the campus. Students and the employer both have to ensure that you can study off campus without a work permit. A study permit must particularly mention conditions and eligibility to work during studies. They can find the job of their choice with flexible timings.

Eligibility for Off Campus WorkStudy Program

If the international students satisfy the given conditions, they are eligible to be the part of Work Study program without the need for Work Permit. For that:-

  • Students must have a valid study permit.
  • Full-time students at Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and is enrolled under
    1. Secondary level vocational training program (offered in Quebec only)
    2. Post-Secondary vocational, academic or professional programs
  • Studies should have started.
  • Study permit stamped with the condition, whether students are allowed to work on or off campus.
  • Enrolled for a degree, certificate, or diploma programs which must be at least 6 months long.
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Students who are no longer in full-time program, they can still work off campus, if they have been:-

  • Full-time student since the starting of the program in Canada.
  • Doing part-time studies because the current semester is the last semester and there is less load of courses for program completion.

Who cannot apply for work Off Campus?

The students cannot work off campus without a work permit if:

  • Study permit states they are not authorized to work on or off campus while studying.
  • No need to meet all the requirements to work off campus.
  • Enrolled in only English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program.
  • Taking only general interest courses.
  • Taking courses that are to be accepted into a full-time program.

Note: If any of these situations apply to the student, then the student needs a valid work permit to work in Canada.

Off Campus Working Hours

The students’ employer will be generally from a private non-profit organization or a public agency, and they work in the public interest.

  • Working Hours during school terms/semesters: Up to 20 hours per week
  • Working Hours during scheduled breaks: Students can work full time during scheduled breaks as in winter, summer, fall or reading week, overtime, and 2 part-time jobs that add up to a higher than a usual number of hours.
  • Working hours if scheduled break no provided in the program: Up 20 hours per week (which has to be approved as working 20 hours is a violation of study permit rules)

Co-Op student or Intern in Canada

Few programs demand work experience as a part of the curriculum. Students can apply for co-op or intern work permit in case of:-

  • A valid study permit.
  • The curriculum must have a total program study to be more than 50%.
  • A letter from school demanding work placements for degree completion.

The acceptance letter must mention, you are eligible for co-op or internship placement. After this, students need to apply for a study permit, the institution will handle the rest.

Explore High Paying Jobs in Canada

Who cannot apply for Co-Op Work Permit?

A student cannot apply for work study permit if opting for any one of the following:

  • English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL)
  • General Interest Courses
  • Courses to prepare for another study program

Apply Online

Students can apply online by submitting the electronic copies of documents along with the fee which is to be paid via credit card. The online application is helpful in the following ways:

  • No courier fees or mail delivery time, the application is received instantly
  • The application can be processed more quickly
  • In case more documents are required, they can be submitted quickly
  • Application status updates are reflected directly on the online account 

Apply on Paper

  • Download the application package from the official website of the government of Canada.
  • Complete the application form and attach the required documents.
  • Submit the application fee at the given mailing address along with the application form package.

Few Co-op Jobs in Canada

Analyst IT-Service Desk Consulting Services
Finance Business Co-op Student Analytics and Reporting

Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Once a student completes the study program there are 2 possible ways to work full time:

  • Applying for a work permit before the study program expires
    • If a student is able to work off campus during the course of study
    • Applied for a work permit or post-graduation work permit before study permit expired
    • Waiting for the decision on the work permit application
  • In the case of starting a new study program
    • Having a valid study permit and applied for a work permit before th program expired
    • Received written confirmation from the associated institute that the program is completed
    • Received a letter of acceptance to a new full-time study program
    • Start a new program within 150 calendar days of receiving the confirmation that you completed the previous [rogram.

Work Study program helps provide job experience and also offset college expenses. It strengthens students’ skills. They learn better time management skills, get out of the comfort zone, enhance their communication skills, and work under pressure. Practical job experience is very attractive to future employers.

Top Institutes To Study
The University of British Columbia
The University of British ColumbiaVancouver,British Columbia
McGill University
McGill UniversityMontreal,Quebec
University of Montreal
University of MontrealMontreal,Quebec
Simon Fraser University
Simon Fraser UniversityBurnaby,British Columbia
University of Alberta
University of AlbertaEdmonton,Alberta


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