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.

  1. On-Campus Work
  2. Off-Campus Work
  3. Co-op Work Permit
  4. Post-Graduation Work Permit
  5. Work Permit for a Spouse or Common-Law Partner
  6. Income Tax
  7. Social Insurance Number

For support, contact an advisor.  

Contents

On-campus work Elgibility Criteria
Off-campus work Eligibility and maximum hours
Work permit (co-op) Getting a work permit for your co-op program/internship requirement
Post-Grad work permit Getting a work permit valid for up to 3 years
Work permit (spouse) For your spouse or common-law partner
SIN A Social Insurance Number is required to work in Canada
Income Tax Tax benefits for international students

On-campus work

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.

Eligibility Criteria:

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 requirementse.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.

Working During Regularly Scheduled Breaks:

You may work on campus during scheduled breaks like summer regardless of the number of courses that you enroll in during your scheduled break if you meet the following conditions: 

  • The break is officially recognized by your school, department or faculty as a scheduled break. 
  • You are enrolled in a degree program. 
  • You have been studying full time prior to the scheduled beak. 
  • You are returning to study full time after the break (the final term is the only exception to this requirement). 

Off-campus work

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 have a valid SIN (social insurance number)

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 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.

Working During Regularly Scheduled Breaks:

You may work off campus full time during scheduled breaks like summer regardless of the number of courses that you enroll in during your scheduled break if you meet the following conditions:

  • The break is officially recognized by your school, department or faculty as a scheduled break.
  • You are enrolled in a degree program.
  • You have been studying full time prior to the scheduled break. 
  • You are returning to study full time after the break (the final term is the only exception to this requirement).

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:

  1. Have a valid Study Permit, and
  2. 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.


Medical examination

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:

  • Have completed the requirements of a degree which was at least eight months long.
  • Have maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your program of study. Exceptions: if you were not a full-time student during the last semester of your studies, or if you took an authorized leave of less than 150 days.
  • Apply within 180 days from the date your registrar’s office issues your final marks.
  • 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.

For detailed information about the eligibility criteria for the post-graduation work permit, visit the Government of Canada website.

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.

You are not eligible to apply for a PGWP if you:

  • Completed a program that is less than 8 months long.
  • Have previously been issued a post-graduation work permit.
  • Received funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
  • Took part in the Government of Canada Awards Program funded by GAC.
  • Obtained the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada–Chile.
  • Took part in the Canada–China Scholars’ Exchange Program.
  • Took part in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program.
  • Completed the majority of your courses by distance learning.

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:

  1. Are eligible to work in Canada.
  2. Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9 digit number that you need in order to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. You will need a SIN if you want to file an income tax return in Canada. Starting in 2019, the University of Toronto will request your Social Insurance Number on ACORN to include it on the tax forms they issue. 

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 section 186(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:

  1. Passport
  2. 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:

  1. Passport
  2. Co-op/Post-Graduation Work Permit

How to get your SIN

Apply for a SIN with your original documents 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.

Or, you can apply for a Social Insurance Number on campus in the Fall 2019 term. The Centre for International Experience will be hosting SIN clinics on the dates below.

Log in to CLNx first, then click on one the following dates to register and select an appointment time:

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.

Note: Once you have your Social Insurance Number, you must update your profile on ACORN.

Income Tax

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. 

For more information, please consult the Canada Revenue Agency website and the CIE’s webpage about income taxes in Canada