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Co-op Work Permit

Work experience is a required component of some programs of study. If you are registered in such a program, you may need a work permit to fulfill this requirement. The co-op work permit can be used to complete a required work placement either on or off campus.

On campus teaching or research assistant (TA or RA) work that is a part of many graduate programs does not require a co-op work permit.

To be eligible for this work permit you must:

  • have (or be applying for) a valid study permit, and
  • get a letter from your Faculty or program indicating that employment is a required part of your academic program.

Tips/important note on applying for a Co-op Work Permit

  • There is no processing fee for the co-op work permit.
  • The University of Toronto will be listed as the employer (though you are not limited to working for the University) and the expiry date of your work permit will usually match the expiry date of your study permit.
  • The co-op work permit can only be used to complete your required internship/work placement.
When to apply

If you are admitted into the work integrated learning/co-op stream when admitted into your program, you should request the co-op work permit as part of your study permit application. 

If you are admitted into the work integrated learning/co-op stream after you start your program, you should apply as soon as you have the proof from your Faculty or program that employment is a required part of your academic program. This should happen at least 3 to 4 months before the start of the work placement to allow enough time for the work permit to be issued.

Standard required documents

Important: Your answers on the online eligibility questionnaire determine which documents you must submit. These are standard requirements, but be prepared to provide other documents if requested by IRCC.

  • Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM5710)
    • Look for the title at the top of the application, or the code at the bottom-left corner of each page. 
  • Co-op letter
    • Co-op letters are issued by representatives of the program that requires you to complete a work placement.
  • Copies from your passport or travel document
    • Including the biographical data page and all pages with visas, stamps or markings (your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond the expected date of your arrival to Canada).  
    • If you’ve got a brand new passport, you can provide copies from both your new and old passports, but put the new passport first, and mark it as ‘New Passport’ if possible. 
  • Passport-style photograph
  • Copy of your study permit

You may need other documents, including, but not limited to: immigration medical exam results.

  • Biometrics (digital fingerprints and photographs) 
  • Immigration medical exam results (see section below).

How to apply

If you are applying for the work permit along with your study permit, please follow our information about applying for a study permit.

If you are applying for the work permit on its own, you should apply online. Start by reviewing IRCC’s instruction guide for student work permit applications made in Canada.

Medical examination

If you are planning to work with children, patients in the health services field, or other areas where protection of public health is required, you must have an immigration medical exam. You will also require one if you have been in a ‘designated’ country for at least 6 of the past 12 months. 

IRCC provides details about who requires immigration medical exams, who can offer them, and more.

If you require one, you can book the appointment before submitting your application, or you can do so once requested by IRCC. It is usually a good idea to do so in advance.

If you had an immigration medical exam within the 12 months prior to applying for your work permit, attach proof (i.e. a copy of your medical receipt). Failure to do so may result in processing delays or the rejection of your application.

After submitting your application

If you are not an American citizen and have not provided biometrics as part of a Canadian immigration application in the past 10 years, you will be required to do so.

Due to the pandemic, there is an exemption to this requirement for those that apply from within Canada. If you applied from within Canada and paid the biometric fee as part of your application process, it will be refunded to you after your application is finalized.

Immigration officers may ask you for additional documentation to make a decision about your application.If you need to notify IRCC about a change, or ask about the status of your application, you can use their web form.

If your co-op work permit is approved

IRCC will notify you through your IRCC account that the application was approved. The co-op work permit will be mailed to the Canadian mailing address you provided in the application. This process could take as long as 6 weeks.

Tips/important note on applying for a Co-op Work Permit inside Canada

Co-op work permit applications (that are not part of a study permit application) are not commonly submitted outside Canada. 

If you already have your study permit, and your circumstances allow,  we strongly encourage students to return to Canada in time to apply for the work permit from within Canada.

When to apply

If you are admitted into the work integrated learning/co-op stream when admitted into your program, you should request the co-op work permit as part of your study permit application.

If you are admitted into the work integrated learning/co-op stream after you start your program, you should apply as soon as you have the proof from your faculty that work is a required part of your academic program.

Standard required documents

Important: Your answers on the online eligibility questionnaire determine which documents you must submit. These are standard requirements, but you should be prepared to provide other documents if requested by IRCC.

  • Application for a Work Permit Made Outside of Canada (IMM1295)
    • Look for the title at the top of the application, or the code at the bottom-left corner of each page.
  • Co-op letter
    • Co-op letters are issued by representatives of the program that requires you to complete a work placement.
  • Copies from your passport or travel document
    • Including the biographical data page and all pages with visas, stamps or markings (your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond the expected date of your arrival to Canada).
    • If you’ve got a brand new passport, you can provide copies from both your new and old passports, but put the new passport first, and mark it as ‘New Passport’ if possible.
  • Passport-style photograph
  • Proof of fee exemption letter
    • Letter explaining that you are applying for a Co-op work permit which is fee-exempt
  • Letter of explanation
    • Explaining why you are applying for the co-op work permit outside Canada and not waiting until you return.

You may need other documents, including, but not limited to: immigration medical exam results.

  • Biometrics (digital fingerprints and photographs) 
  • Immigration medical exam results (see section below).
How to apply

If you are applying outside Canada for the work permit along with your study permit, please follow our instructions about applying for a study permit.

If you already have your study permit and are applying for the co-op work permit on its own, you should do so online. 

Because co-op work permit applications (that are not part of a study permit application) are not commonly submitted outside Canada, you must adjust your answers on the online eligibility questionnaire. Specifically, we have recommended answers for some of the questions on the online eligibility questionnaire for the co-op work permit application made outside of Canada.

Online eligibility questionnaire tips for co-op work permit applications made outside Canada

Select, “No” when answering the question: “I have a job offer and my employer gave me an offer of employment number or LMIA number (or proof of that your employer applied for an LMIA).”

Select, “Yes” when answering the question: “Are you a spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of a person who has or is applying for:

  • a Work Permit for a job in National Occupational Classification 0, A, B;
  • a study permit and is a full-time student at a university, community college CÉGEP or authorized educational institution?”

This should give you access to an “open work permit”. From there, we have some additional recommended answers:

  • Select, “A work permit for a spouse, common-law partner or child of a skilled worker or international student” when answering the question: “What type of work permit do you want to apply for?”
  • Select, “No, I am exempt from paying fees for this application.” when answering the question: “There are fees associated with this application. Will you be paying your fees or are you fee exempt?”

These answers (along with your own information) should give you the work permit application with a checklist that includes a required “proof of fee exemption”.

 

Medical Examination

If you are planning to work with children, or patients in the health services field, you must have an immigration medical exam. You will also require one if you have been in a ‘designated’ country for at least 6 of the past 12 months.

IRCC provides details about who requires immigration medical exams, who can offer them, and more.

If you require one, you can book the appointment before submitting your application, or you can do so once requested by IRCC. It is usually a good idea to do so in advance.

If you had an immigration medical exam within the 12 months prior to applying for your work permit, attach proof (i.e. a copy of your medical receipt). Failure to do so may result in processing delays or the rejection of your application.

After submitting your application

If you are required to provide biometrics, you’ll get a Biometric Instruction Letter after submitting your application and paying the $85 CAD biometric collection fee. The letter can be used to book a biometric appointment at any Visa Application Centre (VAC) or Application Support Centre (ASC).

Immigration officers may ask you for additional documentation to make a decision about your application.

If you need to notify IRCC about a change, or ask about the status of your application, you can use their web form.

If your co-op work permit is approved

If your application is approved, the visa office serving the country where you submitted your application will issue you an approval letter, known as a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction, and a visa or an eTA (if applicable). Do not book travel to Canada until you’ve received your Letter of Introduction. Present the letter to the border officer when you enter Canada to get the hard copy of your co-op work permit.

If you require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV, also known as an entry or visitor visa) to travel to Canada, you will be asked to submit your passport so that the visa officer can affix the visa. You do not need to make a separate application.

If you require an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), you don’t have to submit your passport. An eTA will be issued electronically and associated with your passport number. Your eTA number and expiry date will be included in the Letter of Introduction.

Find more information about entering Canada.

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FAQ

Estimated processing times give an idea of how long an application could take to be processed. If something outside of your control makes urgent processing important, you can contact IRCC through their web form to ask if it is possible. It may take up to two weeks to get a response. Note: Use the ‘Update or ask about your application’ option and then the ‘Other’ section, as the ‘Ask for urgent processing for your permanent resident card’ section doesn’t include study/work permits. 

If you already have status in Canada, and have applied from within Canada for a new permit, you can remain in Canada under ‘maintained status (formerly known as ‘implied status’) while you wait for an answer.  

If you applied for your co-op/internship work permit outside Canada, you should wait until the work permit has been approved and the Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is issued (if required). If you already have a study permit and TRV or eTA (if required), you can connect with an International Student Immigration Advisor to discuss your options.

If the work placement that requires you to get the co-op/internship work permit begins/takes place during a scheduled break in your program (e.g. summer for most undergraduate students), you can begin the placement under your study permit before the work permit is issued, as long as you are enrolled full-time before the break and will continue your work placement or studies after the break. Connect with an International Student Immigration Advisor to confirm whether you are eligible to begin working under your study permit and for other questions about your immigration status. Check with your Registrar’s Office for questions about whether your program has scheduled breaks. 

If this option is not available to you, and it will not be possible for you to get your co-op work permit in time to begin your work placement, it may be possible for you to apply for the co-op work permit when entering Canada from the United States.  

  • Students who can enter the United States can do so (from Canada) and complete the process on their return to Canada (either at a land border or at the airport where they arrive in Canada).  
  • Students who cannot enter the US can still complete this process at a land border crossing. This process is known by some as ‘flag-poling’. 
  • Flag-poling at some border crossings (including the Peace Bridge, Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, and Rainbow Bridge in the Niagara region) is limited to specific days and hours.
  • Even if you go during the identified days and times, Border Services Officers may choose not to process an application at the border. 
  • If flag-poling, it is a good idea to try visiting the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) office on the Canadian side before you leave Canada to ask if they can confirm that you have everything necessary for the process. 

Even if you have an in-Canada application in process, flag-poling requires you to submit a new application upon entry. That means you must have your supporting documentation (noted above). If the work permit is issued, you can cancel the in-Canada application. 

IMPORTANT: If your work placement will bring you into close contact with people (ie. health care settings, child care or educational settings, or elder care) or will involve agricultural work, an Immigration Medical Exam must have been completed before applying at the border (preferably at least one month prior). Without the medical exam, your work permit may exclude work in these and similar areas. IRCC provides details about the medical exam requirements.

However you complete the process, you should be prepared to meet Canada’s entry requirements.

In most cases, it is necessary to wait until the co-op work permit is issued. If your work placement begins during a scheduled break in your program, it may be possible to start your work under the authorization provided by your study permit.

Find details about on and off-campus work eligibility. 

Check out our Resources page for more support.