Working in Canada

Co-op and Internship Students

For some Canadian academic programs, work experience is part of the curriculum. Foreign students enrolled in a school in Canada who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program need both a study permit and a work permit.

The process below only applies if the work term is a requirement of a Canadian school. If you wish to do a work term, internship or on-the-job training in Canada, without being enrolled in a Canadian educational institution, you will need to apply for a work permit (and not a study permit). The requirements and instructions are listed in our Working in Canada section.

If you are enrolled in an educational institution outside Canada that has a formal exchange agreement with a Canadian educational institution to provide Canadian citizens with reciprocal opportunities to work abroad, then you may be exempt from the requirement to obtain a labour market opinion. Include a copy of the agreement in your work permit application.


Who Can Apply

To be eligible for a work permit under a co-op or internship program, the following conditions must be met:

  • You must be eligible for a study permit,

  • Your intended employment must be an essential part of your program of study in Canada,

  • Your employment must be certified as part of the academic program by a responsible academic official of the institution,

  • Your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50 percent of the total program of study, and

  • You are not a medical intern or extern, nor a resident physician (except in veterinary medicine).


How to Apply

If you meet the conditions stated above, do not make a separate application for a work permit and do not pay an additional fee for a work permit. Follow the standard procedure to apply for a study permit, with one extra step: In your study permit application include a letter from the Canadian educational institution stating that employment is an essential part of your program of study. Underline or highlight this information in the letter.