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On & Off Campus Work

Can I Work in Canada?

Good to know!

  1. In order to work in Canada, you will need to get a Social Insurance Number (SIN) (in addition to the appropriate immigration documents outlined below).
  2. Students who have worked in Canada should file an annual income tax and benefit return.

If you are an international student with full-time registration status and a valid study permit, you may be eligible to work on campus using your study permit.

On-campus work includes any job that is located within the boundaries of the campus where you’re enrolled. 

Students enrolled at UTSG can consider both UTSG and UTSC to be on-campus for these purposes. UTM, however, is considered an off-campus workplace for students enrolled at UTSG and UTSC. For students working at UTM but enrolled at one of the other two campuses, the off-campus work limits apply.  

There are special circumstances where affiliated research facilities may also be considered to be ‘on-campus’ if the work is directly related to your academic research. Questions about what is on-campus or off-campus can be directed to our advising team

An on-campus employer can be the university (e.g. library, bookstore, department, registrar’s office, athletic centre, residence) or a private business located on campus that substantially serve the university community (e.g. coffee shops, restaurants or contractors providing services to the University).  

According to current immigration regulations, international students (including exchange, visiting and ESL students) are eligible to work on campus without a work permit if they:

  • have a valid study permit;
  • are enrolled as a full-time student, unless:
    • they are on a scheduled break (you are not required to be full-time, or to study at all), or 
    • they are in the final term of program (when part-time enrollment is acceptable);

and;

You must stop working on the day you no longer meet the above eligibility requirements, (i.e. if you are no longer a full-time student).

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 above. You must stop working on campus on the day you no longer meet the on-campus eligibility criteria. Examples include:

  • dropping to part-time status outside of scheduled breaks or the final term of study, as well as;
  • completing the requirements of your degree.

Eligibility Requirements

You are eligible to work off campus without a work permit if you meet all the following:

  • you hold a valid study permit; 
  • you have off-campus work authorization noted on your study permit;
  • you are enrolled as a full-time student, unless:
    1. you are on a scheduled break (you are not required to be full-time, or to study at all), or  
    2. you are in the final term of your program (part-time enrollment is acceptable); 
  • your program leads to a degree, diploma or certificate, and is at least six months long (this includes exchange students whose program at their home institution meets this criteria); and, 
  • you have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).

You must stop working on the day you no longer meet the above eligibility requirements (i.e. if you are no longer a full-time student).

You are not eligible to work off campus if:

  • you are a visiting student
  • 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

Temporary Policy Change regarding Off-Campus Work Hours (Extension)

From January 1, 2024 until April 30, 2024, international students may not be restricted by the standard 20-hour-per-week off-campus work limit noted at the bottom of this section and may be allowed to work full-time off-campus during academic terms with their study permit. Students will be able to benefit from this temporary change if they meet ALL the eligibility criteria below:

  • have off-campus work authorization noted on their study permit;
  • meet all the general work eligibility criteria outlined in the section above under the “Off-Campus Work” tab;
  • already have or had applied for a study permit (including extensions) as of December 7, 2023 (source).

Temporary Policy Change regarding Off-Campus Work Hours

From November 15, 2022 until December 31, 2023, international students may not be restricted by the standard 20-hour-per-week off-campus work limit noted at the bottom of this section and may be allowed to work full-time off-campus during academic terms with their study permit. Students will be able to benefit from this temporary change if they meet ALL the eligibility criteria below:

  • have off-campus work authorization noted on their study permit;
  • meet all the general work eligibility criteria outlined in the section above under the “Off-Campus Work” tab;
  • already have or had applied for a study permit (including extensions) no later than October 7, 2022 (source).

Important: Even if you meet the eligibility criteria for the temporary policy, how long you can benefit from the change depends on the expiry date of your study permit. Please use the logic tool below to help clarify if you can work off-campus for more than 20hrs/week and, if so, for how long.

If you are at all unsure about whether you qualify for the temporary public policy, please book an appointment with an immigration advisor at the CIE before starting working more than 20 hours a week off-campus.


Standard Policy regarding off-campus work hours


(before November 15, 2022 and after April 30, 2024 as well as for those who do not qualify for the temporary policy change)

  1. If you meet all the general work eligibility criteria outlined in the section above under the “Off-Campus Work” tab, you may work:
    • up to 20 hours per week during the regular academic year; and,
    • full-time during scheduled breaks between full-time terms (e.g. winter/summer holidays, spring break).
  2. If you are enrolled in an intensive program which does not have scheduled breaks, such as a graduate program, you may only work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the entire program of study.

On-campus work is not counted towards the 20 hour per week off-campus work limit.

You may work full-time off campus during scheduled breaks regardless of whether you are enrolled in courses during that period, 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; and,
  • you are returning to study full time after the break (or part-time studies, if it is your final term).

Not all academic programs offer scheduled breaks. 

Confirming enrollment status and whether your program has scheduled breaks

If the information is not clear on ACORN, you can contact your Registrar’s Office to confirm what course load is required to maintain full-time enrollment and to determine if your program has scheduled breaks. Full-time enrollment is one of the main eligibility criteria for work authorization as an international student.

Register for a live Question and Answer session (Requires logging-in with JOINid/UTORid)

Frequently Asked Questions

Study permits must have specific remarks on them to allow you to get your SIN issued.

If the remarks are not included, and you were an academic student when you applied for your study permit (ie. not an English Language student) you can request an amendment to your permit.

The amendment process requires you to mail the application to an office in Ottawa. You must also send:

  • your actual current study permit (not a copy);
  • a copy of the acceptance letter or confirmation of enrollment used when you applied for your current study permit, and;
  • a current confirmation of enrollment.

It will likely take more than one month for a new study permit with the same expiry date but the correct conditions to be sent to your Canadian mailing address.

If you want your study permit extended, you must apply for a new study permit.

Note: It is a good idea to keep a copy of your current study permit when you send the actual permit.

 

If you want to work in a health-care setting, primary/secondary school setting, or other jobs where the protection of public health is important, you must undergo an Immigration Medical Exam (IME). The remark on your study permit is likely due to you not having an IME previously. To get the remark removed, you will need to apply to change the conditions of your study permit and complete an IME with a panel physician (either before you apply, known as an upfront medical exam, or before a decision is made on your new application). We recommend completing the upfront medical exam in the hopes that it will speed up the process. You should not begin work that is not authorized by your existing permit until you receive your new study permit that has the restrictions removed.

If you meet the eligibility criteria to work on campus that is noted on this page, you can work for any on-campus employer (including the university) with no limit to the number of hours. The same rule applies if your work takes place at an affiliated research facility (like the University Health Network), as long as the research is related to your academic area of focus. Questions about what is on-campus or off-campus can be directed to our advising team.

If you have finished your coursework, exams or defended your thesis, and you were eligible to work according to the rules noted on the page above, you can continue working 20hrs a week (or full-time if you qualify for the temporary policy change) off-campus, or full-time on-campus until the final marks are released in your final term or degree completion confirmation is available, whichever comes first. Please refer to the Hours of Work section under the Off-Campus Work tab for more details of the temporary policy change regarding off-campus work hours.

After Applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

You can begin working full-time after applying for a PGWP if you:

  • had a valid study permit when you submitted your application
  • completed your study program
  • were eligible to work off campus without a work permit while studying and you didn’t work more hours than you were allowed to

If your study permit expires after you apply, but before a decision is made about your PGWP, you can continue working until a decision is made on your application.

If you’re starting a new study program

You can work full-time if you meet the following requirements:

  • You were already able to work off-campus during your previous studies
  • You have a valid study permit or you applied to extend your study permit before it expired
  • You received written confirmation from the University that you completed your program
  • You received a letter of acceptance to a new full-time study program at a DLI

If the new study program starts more than 150 days after the completion of your previous program, you can only work for the first 150 days of the break between the two programs. You can begin working under the standard on and off-campus work rules (noted above) once you return to full-time studies.

 

Check out our Resources page for more support.