Working during your studies
International students who have a valid study permit and are registered full-time have the right to work on and off campus in accordance with certain rules established by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
To get paid, you first have to have a social insurance number (SIN). For instructions on how to get one, see the section on Getting a social insurance number (SIN)
You must be registered as a full-time student for the fall and winter semesters to have the right to work under your study permit.
The only exception to this rule is for students who have maintained full-time status during their study program and who must take a part-time course load during their final semester to be able to finish their program. In that case, they can be registered part-time while retaining the same right to work as if they were registered full-time.
If, after withdrawing from one or more courses with or without a refund, you become a part-time student, you immediately lose the right to work during the current semester and in the breaks that follow. Your right to work will resume the first day of the semester for which you are registered full-time.
New students registered at Université Laval may start working on the first day of their first semester. This means that, if you arrive a few weeks before classes start, you won’t be able to start working until your study program officially begins.
If you have maintained status as a student (previously called implied status), you retain the same right to work as those who have valid study permits.
There are no legal restrictions preventing students from combining off-campus work with on-campus work. However, as a study-permit holder, your studies have to be your main activity.
You and your employer must check whether you are authorized to work. Working without the proper authorization can lead to the loss of your student status and study permit and may even result in you having to leave Canada. It may also negatively affect any future immigration applications you make. For example, any future study or work permit applications you make may be refused.
All international students who have a valid study permit and are registered full-time during the fall and winter semesters can work on campus. With the right to work on campus, there is no limit to the number of hours you are allowed to work. However, as a study-permit holder, your studies have to be your main activity.
Most international students who have a valid study permit and are registered full-time during the fall and winter semesters can work off campus. You can’t work more than 20 hours per week off campus during regular academic semesters. There is no limit to the number of hours you can work during scheduled breaks (reading week, holiday period, and the summer semester, unless the summer semester is a mandatory part of your study program).
Students not authorized to work off campus
You are not authorized to work off campus, if you are registered:
- in non-degree studies
- in pre-university training
- in a French language learning program (FLE, FLS)
- in a Professional Order Integration Program
If registration during the summer semester isn’t mandatory in your study program, you have to meet two conditions to have the right to work on and off campus with no limit to the number of hours:
- You were registered full-time in the previous winter semester.
- You intend to register full-time in the fall semester (or part-time if the fall semester is your final academic semester and you have always been registered full-time during your studies before).
Registering part-time or full-time or not registering at all during the summer semester won’t affect your right to work.
If registration during the summer semester is mandatory in your study program (that is, the summer semester isn’t an academic break period for you), you have to meet one condition to have the right to work on or off campus with a limit of 20 hours per week:
- You are registered full-time for the summer semester.
If the summer semester is your last semester of study and you will graduate at the end of that semester, you have the right to work off campus only up to 20 hours per week, if either of these situations applies:
- You are registered full-time.
- You are registered part-time and maintained your full-time status during your study program up to this point.
For exchange students, if you don’t intend to re-register in the fall semester at a Canadian educational institution, you can’t work during the summer on your study permit.
Right to work after completing your studies
See the section on Right to work after completing your studies and before getting a post-graduation work permit.
If you plan to work in certain jobs (for example, with children or the elderly, in the health services, or in agriculture), you will need a medical exam. If you didn’t have an IRCC-recognized medical exam, you will likely have a remark on your study permit prohibiting you from doing these types of jobs.
If you don’t want to have these restrictions, you have to have a medical exam before applying for a study permit or apply to change your study permit ($150) once you have completed the exam.
Last updated on: 2020-09-02