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Working in Canada as an International Student

Some students work while studying at U of G. You can earn while you learn!  There are many jobs available on campus for students. Many of these jobs are posted on a website called  Experience Guelph. As a new student, you get access to Experience Guelph at the beginning of September. For international students, there are a few additional considerations to consider to make sure that you are eligible to work while studying.

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

A SIN allows an employer to process payroll while informing the Canadian Revenue Agency of the amount of money a person earns. You apply for a SIN in-person at Service Canada. To get a SIN, you will need a valid study permit that includes statements such as “may accept employment” and your passport.

Do not reveal your SIN. Your SIN can be used to steal your identity. Learn to protect your SIN at Protecting your Social Insurance Number - Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

How to Find a Job

Job hunting takes effort, especially for international students. Employers may be hesitant to hire international students, so it is your responsibility to start the process early and market yourself. Take advantage of the resources available at the Experiential Learning Hub and Career Advisors and get help on your resume, cover letter critique, and more.

On-Campus Work

Full-time international students on a valid study permit are able to work on-campus throughout the year in various academic and administrative departments on campus.

There are various employment opportunities advertised on Experience Guelph. You may find on-campus job opportunities with the Work Study Program, Hospitality Services, Physical Resources, Teaching Assistant (if you are an upper-year student) and more. To see the current on-campus employment database, visit

Depending on your funding package received upon admission, you may be eligible to apply for Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), Graduate Research Assistant (GRA), or Graduate Service Assistant (GSA) positions. You are encouraged to connect with the Graduate Program Assistant or Graduate Program Coordinator in the department regarding the application process and requirements if you have any questions about the employment opportunities

The Work Study Program provides undergraduate and graduate students with demonstrated financial need the opportunity to meet their educational costs while developing transferable employability skills through part-time paid work experiences on campus.

Once you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for jobs through Experience Guelph. Jobs are posted year-round, with the highest number available in August/ September for the Fall. Jobs range from 5-15 hours per week and typically offer a flexible work schedule. Students are not permitted to hold more than one Work Study position at a time. Check your eligibility and find more details on the registrar's Work-Study Information Page.

Off-Campus Work

International students with a valid study permit can work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during a regular academic term and full-time during regularly scheduled breaks. You must continue to meet the conditions of your study permit in order to remain eligible for off-campus work. Please pay attention to the working boundaries stated on your study permit and adhere to them.

Visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for more specific information about working off campus, Work off campus as an international student - or or talk to one of the International Student Advisors.

Co-op Work

Cooperative education is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with practical work experience. Typically, students alternate a semester of academic coursework with an equal amount of time in paid employment, repeating this cycle several times until graduation.

Students who did not gain admission to co-op directly from high school have another opportunity to apply to co-op through the University of Guelph’s in-course admission process during first year. This admission will be based on academic achievement, space in the program and agreement to the schedule of studies for your proposed co-op program as outlined in the Undergraduate Calendar or as approved by your Program Counsellor and the Experiential Learning Hub.

Application deadlines are the last class day in the Fall and Winter semester of first year, depending on the program. For more information about the in-course admission process, visit:

International students admitted into a co-op program will receive a verification letter via e-mail from to include in their co-op work permit application. International co-op students can apply for their co-op work permit along with their initial study permit application or study permit extension application. International co-op students need to secure a co-op work permit prior to beginning their first co-op work term. Working conditions listed on your study permit do not apply to co-op work terms.

For more information, book an appointment with one of the International Student Advisors or visit the page about work as a co-op students or intern.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As you begin to plan for starting your studies at the University of Guelph, please remember that co-op students are required to study full-time, as our national accreditation is based on this. Exceptions are made for Student Accessibility Services (SAS) registered students requiring accommodation.

Working in Canada After You Graduate

After graduation, international students may work for a period of up to three years in Canada under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP) of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. International students can receive an open work permit (no restrictions on the type of employment and no job offer requirement). For eligibility information, visit: Work in Canada after you graduate: About the post-graduation work permit - []

In order to maintain PGWP eligibility, international students are not authorized to take unscheduled breaks. This means not taking additional semesters off outside of what the University deems your break (Summer, reading week, Christmas break). It is not advised as an international student to drop to part-time status at any time unless you are registered for your last semester. Some exceptions exist, but before taking a semester off or dropping down to part-time status, please consult with your International Student Advisor.

This document was developed in compliance with the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). The information provided is not intended to constitute legal advice. Immigration laws and procedures change frequently, and so the information may have changed since this presentation was prepared. Please always refer to the IRCC website or contact University of Guelph International Student Advisor/Global Pre-Arrival Support Advisor for the most up-to-date information.

Gryph Tip

While working in Canada, you will have tax deducted from your earnings. In March, you can file your income tax and may receive a tax refund. Keep an eye on the International Students newsletter for information on Tax sessions that are held every March.

You do not need a social insurance number (SIN) to apply for Work Study jobs; however, you will need a valid SIN once you have gained employment.