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Eligible students can work without a work permit in Canada

Updated: Mar 26, 2021


Section 186(v) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations allow certain eligible students to work off-campus without a work permit. They can work part time (up to 20 hours a week) during a regular academic session and full time during regularly scheduled breaks between academic sessions.

Who can work while studying?

You can work off campus without a work permit if you meet all of these requirements:

  • you’re a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI)

  • you’re enrolled in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program or a secondary-level vocational training program (Quebec only).

  • your study program is at least 6 months long and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate.

  • you’ve started studying

  • you have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Note: The eligibility requirements for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) differ from off-campus work eligibility requirements. Please see the PGWPP page for more information.

Ineligible programs of study Students are not eligible for the off-campus work permit program if either of the following applies:

  • they are registered in a general interest program of study that does not meet the definition of an academic, professional or vocational training program as defined above (for instance, ESL/FSL courses for self-improvement)

  • they are undertaking a course or program of study that is a prerequisite to their enrolment at a DLI

Note: Students who are enrolled in a program of study that meets the definition of an academic, professional or vocational training program and who are undertaking the ESL/FSL component simultaneously may be eligible to work off campus pursuant to paragraph R186(v) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).

Who CAN'T work off campus?

You can’t work off campus without a work permit if any of these situations apply to you:

  • 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

If any of these situations apply to you, and you want to work while studying in Canada, you need to apply for a work permit.

There are designated learning institutions in Whistler and all over Canada that offer courses that will allow you to work while you study. Feel free to contact us to assess your eligibility under this pathway.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Information provided was correct as of time of publication however changes may have occurred since it was published. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. Please contact us directly to book a consultation if you have any questions.


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